Nasimiyu is unusually happy today. The happiest she has been in her life. The smile and the glitter in her eyes tell it all. It is as if a new lease of life has been promised to her and indeed it has. See, when the sun rises for most of us it means a new day. A fresh opportunity and rejuvenated energies to go out and about running our lives often with something to look forward to. Yet it is not so for everyone. The way this teenage girl here at Soysambu ward in Bungoma sees it is a lot different. For her it is yet another twenty four hours to contend with the poverty and the state of near-helplessness that lack has put her in. She is the first born of six children and they barely get by. Truly, the cloud that looms over her life is that of insufficiency and impossibility.
To think that Nasimiyu will one day become a learned lady of substance living large on her own income and supporting her family looks like a dream that will remain just that. So dim a thought it is, dimmer than the paraffin lantern she uses to study. It simply cannot happen. Not because she doesnt work hard, or that she lacks ambition. Absolutely not. There is nothing she wants more than to conquer the world. Yet how? How can she win prizes in a competition that she knows little about? Or break records she has never seen any of her peers come close to achieving? How can she understand that there can be light when all her life she has been shrouded in pitch darkness? She wants to succeed but even if she did, the burden of uplifting her kin from abject poverty would do nothing but drown all her efforts and wipe out her hard earned fortune. This was the predicament she had resigned herself to. Until now.
A good friend once told me a phrase that I loved to hear. We were seated one sunny Sunday afternoon, animatedly chatting about random things. She is one of these friends who every so often chat you up with complex topics like the Brexit or UN economic sanctions against Iraq, see that kind of thing? So I nod approvingly and occasionally put in a comment or two albeit half the time I am completely clueless of what she is talking about. On this day though, she asked;
“So Cliff, ebu tell me what you think about poverty in Africa?”
“What about it?” I prod.
“You know, education and ICT penetrance especially as it concerns the girl child.”
Thats a huge topic”, I remark, wondering what she is driving at.
“Like sasa, what do you think can be done about it?” she probes, wrinkles forming on her broad, smooth forehead. My two cents, she is frustrated so I quit my theatrics and think for a minute then I offer:
“Something can be done about it but its got to be enormous and essentially, someone would need to sit down, brain storm and plan this before anything can be achieved.”
“Youre right!” she exclaims, exceedingly thrilled at the thought. Simple things like these excite her. She is good vibes, this one.
“You know what, She says, leaning over, “Everything begins with an idea.”
Everything indeed begins with an idea and it is thoughts such as these that occasioned four great minds; Beatrice Vigehi, Diana Adegu, Emily Wakasa and Richard Adeli to put their heads (and hands) together in a painstaking process that yielded what is today, The Be Best You Foundation.
If you haven’t heard about it, you’re in luck because I’m going to tell you. It is a non-profit organization with the sole purpose of empowerment and simply put, making our world better. I looked them up and I was amazed at the work they do. Similarly, the plans that they have are impressive. Now because you love reading stories and I, telling them, I am going to break it down for you. The devil is in the details. Here is where it gets fascinating and so lets crack on.
The first is empowering youth who lack in income to become self-sufficient by offering trainings and linking them up with career opportunities to see to it that they actually get to make that extra coin. Kuomoka is the word. Not just that, they then follow this up with constant engagements to ensure that these youth become self-sustainable. Imagine that!
Secondly, they have put together a team of seasoned mentors who twice weekly engage children from various villages spread across Bungoma County in educative topics such as Sex Education, Study Methods & Opportunities within and after school, Art & Craft, Woodwork and just how they can employ their diverse talents to make money. I was therefore not surprised to see that there are more and more parents enrolling their children because of how much positivity this programme has brought to the villages down here. It is a new dawn for them, really.
What particularly warmed my heart is their objective of bringing the world to these children. Kids who previously, because of financial constraints could not afford a further education are now the very focus of such empowering subjects as Programming, Innovation, Waste Management and Renewable Energy. They are being taught literally how to turn junk into cash. Proceeds from these would then be used to facilitate the already ongoing supply of sanitary pads among other necessities. Simply put, they are stopping at nothing to ensure that these youngsters prosper.
What’s more, there are numerous plans well laid out and yet to be executed. The ones that stood out for me are Digitally Young still aimed at school-going children where they intend to set up a robust IT programme that will ensure computer literacy and on top of that, put up an e-hub complete with an online eco-friendly library. Yes, exactly that.
Also, there are plans for another one termed Revive that targets women living below the poverty line. In this, they seek to endow them by making the most out of their skills and resources such as knitting, book-keeping, farming and many more just to guarantee that they can make a livelihood out of it.
How much more good can one do for others? Beatrice and team with their catchy catchphrase ‘Be Your Best are out here changing the world. For all of these they have dug deep into their very own pockets. Setting all this up and keeping it on its feet, building capacity and even supporting stipends for the mentors hasnt been easy. It wasnt cheap either. But the willpower in their hearts and sheer desire for good has sailed them through so far. Today, indeed as you read this, a girl, nay, more than sixty girls in a remote village youve probably never heard of, can afford smiles only because a flicker of hope has been lit in their hearts. A future secured.
Now to think that you, yes you, reading this can help boost these noble efforts. That you could actually bless a life with your coin or by merely checking out The Be Best You Foundation on the internet, or adding a Like to their Facebook page or simply sharing this story. You may not get that child an education or bring the reality of their dreams in view, but you can certainly tap the Share button and tell the world about this. That there is better. Be your best!
Contact person – Diana Adegu
(0714 106 421)
Financial contributions can be sent to;
0714 106 421( Diana Adegu)