9’oclock and we are weaving our way through Dandora, East of Nairobi. We are here to visit Sharon, an Akili Dada scholar who is a form 3 student at Precious Blood High School, Riruta. We jump over a pool of stagnant water and several ditches before getting to our destination, Josana Day School and Centre, Sharon’s former school where she carries out her community enablement project. We are ushered into the headteacher’s office, Mr. Jaika where students are streaming in for help in doing revision. The story begins.
Throughout her schooling in primary school, Sharon was constantly sent home for school fees as her single mother struggled to fend for her and her 2 siblings. Nevertheless, she persisted and performed well in her KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) and got admission to one of the best national schools in the country.
All Akili Dada scholars are required to give back to society by initiating community enablement projects and so Sharon decided to raise funds to assist a needy girl in her final year in her former school as well as pass down information and knowledge from Akili Dada’s mentoring sessions and leadership academies to the rest of the school. After consultations with the school administration and her mother, she settled on Wilma, a class 8 pupil. Wilma is a 14-year-old girl, the last born in a family of 7 and a top performer at the school. “I look up to Sharon as she excelled in her studies despite her challenges, she also speaks to me about being disciplined, hardworking and respectful,” Wilma says.
Sharon learnt to make soap at the Akili Dada club in her school and uses these skills to raise funds for Wilma’s school fees. She has committed to raising half of the yearly fees which amounts to Kshs 11000. During the April holidays, she used her savings to buy raw material to make the soap. She marketed the soap in her community and sold it to her neighbours raising a tidy sum of Kshs 6000. She made a payment of Kshs 4400 towards Wilma’s school fees and with the remainder, advanced a struggling single mother capital to start a fish business with an agreement that she would repay 30%.
Mr Jaika, the headteacher, commends the efforts of Sharon in the school as he has seen improved behaviour change and grades as a result of the motivational talks that she gives the pupils whenever she’s home on a break. He has also seen a great change in his former student as she is now more confident, courageous and carries herself in a mature manner. “She looks like she works for a big NGO,” he laughs off as we conclude the interview. He is also pleased that Sharon has roped in her former classmates in the mentoring sessions and hopes to see all alumnus involved in future engagements.
Sharon would like to support more girls in her community and has, therefore, approached the Rotary Club in Dandora to assist her in reaching more girls as she aims to spread her wings to the informal settlements of Kibera and Mathare. She will also be championing the founding of the Interact Club at her current school.