This week, we speak to Neema Aroni, a Forensic Scientist who mentors in our Young Changemakers program on her mentorship experience with Akili Dada.
AD:  How long have you been an Akili Dada mentor?
Neema: I’ve been an Akili Dada mentor since April 2017.
AD: What do you do for a living?
Neema: I work in customer relations, social media management and I also write a bit of copy for the company ( Pesapal). My background, however, is in Forensic Science.
AD: Why do you mentor?
Neema: I mentor because I felt like I wanted to give back after completing my masters. Since I’m not able to use my skills in a professional capacity, I decided to use the transferable skills I gained as a Commonwealth Scholarship Alumni to inspire other girls to not only get into STEM careers but to believe in themselves enough to change the nation. I also mentor because I want to learn from the process through networks and from the girls as well – the girls have taught me more than I ever thought they could. They surprise me every day. Lastly, I mentor because I don’t know where I would be if women like my mother, Sophie Mkwana and Dr. Amrit Khalsi did not mentor me. These girls are indeed our future and I look forward to building a strong network of successful African women that includes them.
AD: What has your mentorship experience at Akili Dada been?
Neema: Amazing! The girls are eloquent, intelligent and well rounded.  I’ve had plenty of meaningful exchanges with the mentees. I am especially keen on the girls in high school as I have previously facilitated a learning visit to Pesapal where my colleagues were able to interact with them.
AD: What needs to be done to improve the state of girls and young women in Kenya?
Neema: I think we need to learn how to nurture our own. It is imperative that Kenyan women take matters into their own hands and create a future generation of women leaders through education, sensitization, mentoring and financial support where possible.
AD: Anything you’d like to add. 
Neema: I would like to express my gratitude to the amazing team at Akili Dada. I can’t wait to continue the learning process!