Meet Lily, our newest Moja Tu staff member! Lily lives in Nairobi and will be heading the Kenyan marketing team moving forward. She’d love to say hello!
“Back in 2015, I received a call from Moja Tu’s program manager Margaret. Margie, as we fondly know her, wanted a favor. Would I be interested in lending my time to mentor a group of Moja Tu students on journalism matters?
I knew Margie from when we were in university and we had kept in touch after graduation. I had heard of the work she was doing with Moja Tu and I was more than delighted to oblige. Besides knowing Margie, my decision to help was also informed by my passion to empower youth through my own experience, for I am a product of mentorship. Additionally, having been a teacher myself, I have a connection with students and I never let any opportunity to interact with them pass me by. ‘Once a teacher, always a teacher,’ as they say!
I could feel the student’s excitement matching my own as the group of mentors, including me, made our way into the room. Their eyes were filled with expectation and admiration and this reminded me of myself when I was their age. Whenever we had mentors come talk to us, we would admire everything from the clothes they wore to the cars they drove to the way they spoke. They instilled hope in us and made our aspirations tangible. It is these elements that would fire us up to work hard in school and to believe in the beauty of our dreams.
When Lupita uttered the now famous words, ‘your dreams are valid,’ she was speaking for the millions of us who dared to dream in spite of the challenges we were going through. Many teenagers aspire to be journalists and in that room that day, a majority of the students wanted to pursue this career path. And so when I stood to speak, they were all attentive following every word I said as if their lives depended on them. And it did, to some extent because like me when I was growing up, they had nothing to hold on to but the potential for a better future. A future so near they could almost touch it yet so far due to the hurdles they had to overcome. But thanks to Moja Tu, the burden on their young shoulders is lighter and they can navigate their way in pursuit of their goals.
This was the beginning of my relationship with Moja Tu. I later got the chance to write their stories. Stories of hope amidst a myriad of challenges. These were brilliant students who had nothing on their backs except brilliant minds that badly needed to be nurtured to allow them reach their potential. Thanks to Kathy Kempff, the board of directors at Moja Tu and the team that keeps the wheel at the organization turning, these children can dare dream again. And how beautiful it is to see their dreams coming to life with each passing school term.
As schools closed each term, I was tasked with writing reports for the students and I couldn’t help but feel the gratitude and hope behind each interview. For some students, I have followed their journey as they transitioned from primary school to high school and eventually to university. Some of the students I spoke to during that first mentorship program have already cleared school and are now responsible citizens contributing positively to society. I was touched by these transformations and I wanted to nothing more than to offer more of my skills and time to the organization. When the opportunity arose to join the team, I grabbed it with both hands and ran with it.
I am excited to have been given a front row seat to witness the impact the organization has on the lives of hundreds of these young Kenyans. Keep it here as we take you through the Moja Tu experience!”