Between scare stories about twerking gone out of control, Masaku 7’s debauchery, and the decline of civilisation, Kenya’s youth get a bad rep. But don’t believe everything you hear or read. Our youth are doing incredible things. Meet three badass youth; Adbikadir Hassan, Caren Odanga and Samuel Karuita, 3 of the 60 winners of the annual Queen’s Young Leader Award.
The Queen’s Young Leader Award aims to recognise exceptional (badass) youth aged 18-29, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.
Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen of England. With this support, Award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.
Meet the Terrific 3:
Abdikadir Aden Hassan
Abdikadir works with young people to educate and engage them on the issue of climate change. His green initiatives have had a positive effect on his community, creating job opportunities in areas such as environmental protection and conservation. He is currently leading an effort to plant one million trees.
Caren Nelima Odanga
Caren founded the Sisari Women Initiative to support and educate women in rural Kenya. Having grown up in a community where domestic violence, forced marriage, FGM and teenage pregnancy were the norm and having suffered a traumatic childhood herself, she was supported by the Yaya Education Trust to return to school after becoming a mother. These experiences inspired her to set up the Sisari Women Initiative.
After 2007’s post-election violence in Kenya, Samuel established Peace Clubs in higher learning institutes to reach out to the ‘lost generation’ of young people, who could be vulnerable to a culture of violence. His Peace Ambassadors Kenya project now has 3000 members, all dedicated to community outreach, conflict management and providing educational opportunities for marginalised young people.
Indeed, Kenya’s youth are poised to make a major impact across the globe. As we sign off, we’d like to quote young Karuita’s words, “Give me a lever called Youth, a standing ground called Peace and I will lift this World.”