Go-getter. These are some of the words that can be usedto describe Claris. She is 19 years old and part of Paza, Akili Dada’s gap year programme in Kenya. Claris joined Akili Dada in her first year of high school, at Precious Blood-Riruta. Coming from MukuruKwa Reuben, a resource-strapped community
in Nairobi, she knew her chances of making it through high school were slim. She, therefore, sought
scholarships for higher learning from multiple organisations through the principal’s office. In addition to receiving a scholarship, she has been a project participant of the leadership academies supported by the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF). The academies are spaces for reflection where Akili Dada scholars are equipped with life skills. This includes helping the girls understand themselves and their capacities comprehensively so that they identify how to best negotiate life in society. This in turn enables the project participants to excel in whatever they aspire to be and do, and to be the change leaders our world needs. At the leadership academies, young women also brainstorm new ways to
exercise leadership to transform their communities. In that regard, Akili Dada introduced Claris to the service learning concept. In turn, she decided to start a library in her community.
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