A reflection by Akili Dada Intern, Millicent Nangor

The first time I attended an Akili Dada Annual Conference, there were about 50 people present.  Four years later, I'm surrounded 250 of my sisters. This particular conference was very important in that I saw the many ways in which Akili Dada has grown since I first became a part of this program; not only in numbers of scholars, but in the number and variety of speakers present.

This year, I learned so much from the different speakers and attendees of the conference; the fact that each of the speakers shared their challenges and sacrifices provided so much motivation in thinking that all is possible. The speaker that inspired me most was Winnie Kathurima-Imanyara; she shared how she struggled to achieve her goals in life. I left her talk thinking that no setback can keep me from my goals. She was very energetic, which encouraged me to always enjoy life no matter what I am going through because you only live once.

The presentation from the scholars was also inspiring as they brought out their creativity and leadership in the way they sang and performed skits. One of the scholars said, ‘if you think that you are too small to make a difference in life, try sleeping with a mosquito.’ This analogy struck me as it teaches a person to believe in themselves and see themselves as capable changemakers in their communities.

It was also a good opportunity to meet the mentors and friends of Akili Dada. There is so much to be gained from small interactions.  I was happy to see that we have a support system and I look up to them as my big sisters.  I also got an opportunity to interact with a young lady named Miel Vasudevan. Miel is only 14 years old and she is working with her friends to support Akili Dada in our work on girls’ education. Seeing her, so young and already discovering her passion in life and working towards it was so inspiring. She really challenged me to do something in my own life and discover my purpose.

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