Celebrating girls making an impact in society

Monday, October 12th, 2020 00:00 |
Twin action.

Having marked the International Day of the Girl yesterday, here are female teens in the community making a mark in their fields.

Twin action

Njeri Maina @njerimainar

Amani and Imani are twins who have a shared love of singing and performing. They have performed in several events and recorded several songs in both Kiswahili and English under their stage name Amani Imani BF. BF stands for Blessed and Favoured.

“Amani used to cry too much as a baby despite hospital tests showing she was okay. One doctor advised me to try soothing her with music.

I tried and that was the end of her crying and the beginning of her love for the same.

She was singing along and dancing to songs by the time she was two. The funny thing is that Imani did not think of singing until she was six years old despite having a great voice.

They both started to sing in church and reciting memory verses,” the twins’ mother Naomi explains the genesis of the kids’ love for music.

Amani and Imani are jovial and open. They explain about their love for music and school, and how they hope to spread hope and joy through their music.

“We love singing. We started recording music to reach out to more people and giving them hope,” Amani says.

“Niunjui, Atawale, Matingitarika, Never Give Up, King’uki gia Corona are some songs we have recorded.

There is always hope and we hope to give that to anyone who listens to our music,” Imani adds.

The twins say the music industry is as brutal to kids as it is to grownups. It is hard to get public functions and airplay on both radio and TV. So, what keeps them going?

“Our firm belief and mum. She is so strong and always has encouraging words whenever we feel down.

That we genuinely love singing and composing songs also makes it easy to keep at it,” the 12-year-olds say.

Open water champion

Njeri Maina @njerimainar

Nurayn Bagha is the only open water champion in Kenya. At just 16, she has represented Kenya in several international competitions.

In November 2018, she was second in her first international competition in the 3km category in Sudan, then fifth in the 5km race in the African Beach Games in Cape Verde in June 2019 and first in the 5km open water race in the July 2019 FINA Open Water Competition in Seychelles. 

“I have always loved swimming,” Nurayn enthuses. “I started swimming at age five, but had to stop at seven due to lack of facilities.

I took it up again at 10. My coach noticed I was better at long distance swimming compared to sprinting and encouraged me to get into open water swimming.

I enjoyed it so much that I stuck with it. I have been doing it competitively for two years now.”

Nurayn explains she practises nine-10 hours every week and still studies. She hopes to represent Kenya in the Olympics and join the medical field.

Her stellar grades that saw her place second overall in her A-level exams at Braeburn are a testament to just how much hard work and discipline can achieve.

“I am proud of her. She likes pushing her limits and is not okay with mediocrity whether swimming or studying.

We encourage her to stretch herself, so that she keeps growing and discovering more about herself,” her mother adds. 

“Hard work and determination will get you where you want. Nothing is impossible,” Nurayn advises.

Multi-talented artiste 

Jasmine Atieno @sparklemine

At 11, Kenyan painter, model, designer, poet, singer and budding actress Sheilah Sheldon Charles, put Kenya on the charts once again this year when she won the Global Child Prodigy Award 2020, in New Delhi, India. She was among three other girls from Africa who took part in the competition. 

Sheila’s journey as an artist began when she was only five, when her teacher discovered her talent in painting.  

Multi-talented artiste.

“My teacher  told my mother about it. And from there, my mother has given me full support. My skills are self taught and I have not had or needed training at what I do,” she says.

Sheilah is also the current holder of Little Miss Earth Kenya 2020 and the brand ambassador of Skyward Express airlines. 

In 2018, Sheilah was invited by Tess Foundation in Davis California for a fundraising drive where she donated one of her art works, which was auctioned to raise funds for girls in Zimbabwe to go to school.

She also received an award from the foundation as the “Youngest Lioness 2018”. 

The Year Seven junior pupil at Light International School Mombasa, Kenya. wishes to become an architect.

“Right now, I have a fundaiser to collect money to build my own gallery here in Mombasa,” she shares. 

explains“Whatever opportunity comes first, I will grab it. So yes, if I am posted by the Teachers Service Commission first, I will teach.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t spare time to continue with ‘Pair a Feet’ initiative, she says. 

She adds: “For anyone who may be struggling to find their niche or discover something to do, involve yourself in something you find pleasure in doing.

It will for sure change your way of viewing things and even expose you to greater opportunities.”

Chess champion 

Harriet James 

When she was just Six, Elaine Mosiara Moturi nicknamed Gina, watched in amazement at how her classmates at Makini School played chess, and developed a passion for it.

She was lucky to find Coach Moses Maina who believed in her and inspired her to do more.  

Success in chess does not just require skill, but other qualities such as a positive mental attitude and determination.

It’s a game for the strong-willed, industrious, and one has to passionately fall in love with it.

This is the character that has made the 11-year-old win many awards: at least 10 medals and over 17 trophies in game highly associated with people aged over 30. 

“I see my medals and they get me excited and motivated to do more in this game,” she says 

She practises in school, but due to the pandemic she plays at home with her father and sister.

Her parents are her greatest support and have encouraged and nurtured her gift, paying the money required for the tournaments.  

She says continuous practice, never giving up and participating in tournaments  makes her perfect.

Her motto is the verse in the Bible in Matthew 25: 14-30, that commands her to use our talents well to bring God Glory and honour. 

Science is her favourite subject. 

“I love the experiments and learning why things behave or happen as they do. I would like to be a doctor and balance it with chess in future,” she explains. 

Menstrual health champion

Thomas Bwire @thomasbwire

Hope Wambui Ochieng, full of zeal and energy, is such a blessing to the Kibra community.

At just nine, she wears many hats, thanks to her mum Regina Wainaina, who has been a supporting pillar in what does.

The Grade Four pupil at Peace Junior Academy from Kibra Lang’ata is a menstrual health champion.

“I have been supporting girls by donating free sanitary pads to ensure my fellow sisters don’t get preyed on by men who may want to take advantage of them,” she says.

Menstrual health champion.

This personal initiative was borne out of the pandemic, which resulted in closure of schools, which meant some girls were unable to access pads from learning institutions.

She believes just like a tree grows from the ground and later on gives the community fruits or shade, girls should be preseved so that they can give back to society and remain highly respected.

“I always love to stand for the girl child. They can feel easy and comfortable in their inner self,” adds Hope, whose project targets girls aged 13-17.

The poetry champion appreciates that through her performances at public events, well-wishers have come forward to support her call for action.

She is also a cancer ambassador, having been born on February 4, which , is also World Cancer Day.

Her call for action through sanitary pads donations to contiue supporting school going girls from Kibera slums.

One of Hope’s  poems, is about The big four agenda, to appreciate  the President for unveiling the big four action plan and for minding Kenyan slum dwellers.

Hope is also cancer ambassador, a title that was borne as a result of her birth date. Hope was born on 4th February, also celebrated as an imprtant day globally, World Cancer Day

A global obersvance day that helps raise people;s awareness of cancer and how to preven, detect and treat it.

Lets be the change that you desire are Hope closing remaks

Inspiring conservtionist

Sandra Wekesa @wekesa_sandra

Conservationist, adventurer and environmentalist, Jane Nduti, 18, has no shortage of inspiration fuelling her love for nature. She believes her generation is destined to change all the predicaments that biodiversity will experience.

“As an environmentalist any time I see videos of global warming my heart just breaks,” she says. 

She started the RIARmovement, to make the current generation great ancestors to the next one.

With it, she wants to develop a culture of environmental responsibility. Now with exposure to and information on green issues, she became more aware of the power to create positive change. 

Since then, she has been able to plant over 300 trees around Embakasi. She is also at the forefront of grabarge collection and management, ensuring that people do not pollute the environment.

 “I never hesitate to correct my friends and family whenever they make an environmental mistake.

This has helped me so much in knowing that I can be the voice to the trees and the idea behind sanity within the environment.”

Despite June’s hard work, one major challenges she encounters is lack of support from people, something she attributes it to the negative image related to environmental conservation.  The pandemic had also slowed her down, but she is optimistic it will not hinder her from doing her work.

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