#IAMMALALA SOILA MAASAI GIRLS RESCUE CENTRE

Together For Soila girls

On 17th Oct 2015, I made 4 new friends. Virginia Muya, Carol,Leah (met her a week before at Sitara cancer brunch with Njeri Olang’)  Led by Tuta Mionki, we embarked on a journey to Soila Maasai girls rescue centre in Suswa. We were so anxious about the visit we had an “are we there yet” conversation every 10 minutes!

On arrival we got a wonderful welcome from their deputy head teacher, who gave us a tour of the school and home. The centre has 50+ girls at the moment, with 11 of them sitting for the KCPE exam 2015.

The Soila Maasai Girls Rescue Centre at Suswa in the Rift Valley, Kenya, was launched by Kenya Children’s Home in 2005 as a refuge centre for young orphaned or destitute Maasai girls.

With the co-operation of the local Chief, the centre was established to save the girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early arranged marriage – still a common practice and tradition in the Maasai community of Kenya.

Through the Suswa centre, the girls are offered a home and an education as an alternative path in life to FGM and early marriage, and in turn they receive the chance to empower and change their lives and those of generations to come. In all cases, the girls’ guardians have given their permission for their daughter to embark on this new way of life.

The project has grown significantly over the years and there are now more than 60 girls aged between 7 and 15 at the centre, for whom KCH provides full care.

The refuge centre is run as a partnership between KCH, the Balcraig Foundation and the local community of Suswa. KCH contributes staff, medical and educational supplies, and Balcraig Foundation provides the set-up and running costs, and manages the Suswa Project.

   The welcome was wonderful with a rap, poem and a traditional dance that landed them in the National music festivals 2015! the girls can shake their mabegas! The song is titled mabega (shoulders) from the luhya community.A rap poem about them  standing and demanding their right. A right to education, to life, to being children.; saying no to FGM and early marriage.

These girls are no ordinary girls. They have braved the shame and discrimination that comes with saying no to FGM and early marriage. You never really get the picture of how real this is, until you come face to face with them.

malala-yousafzai-1-w724      We shared the story of Malala Yousafzai, #IAmMalala. We felt this was an ideal story to share with them. Malala, a girl’s decision to seek education at all cost.  Something we felt they all associated well with.

We had general talks about their growth, joining high school, changes in their body, the birds and the bees. I remember my first lesson on the birds and the bees was at Kijabe Mission Hospital, they chose to focus on STDs ; images and videos included. I’m sure you get the picture.  From 12-15yrs girls start growing fast, accompanied by a lot of questions that they shy away from asking.

Having finished that session, we broke into groups. From the previous visit, Tuta noticed they opened up more in smaller groups. We handled questions about how to prepare for their main exam, handling subjects they felt were a challenge. Truth be told, they are a bright pack of girls. I wondered if i was ever as well prepared. They are taking exams from different counties every  two weeks. And of course, how to deal with the stigma that comes with being “uncut” and not married.It was a tough session I must admit, no one is ever prepared for certain questions from kids, because they are just that, kids. They were honest enough to share their previous experiences. How they are looked down upon, people from religious bodies from their home areas may allow them to come and worship together but they can feel the rejection. Their age mates refuse to interact with them, and those who do its in a very hush manner.

SPEAKERS

The centre also caters for those who are called to secondary schools i.e they cover their school fees and anything else they might need. However, they have to go back home or be placed with relatives who support their education. About 10+ girls are in secondary schools across the country. This for them is a great achievement and motivation.

CARD AWARDING

Carol and Leah presenting cards to the 11 candidates. The head teacher(in the 2nd and 3rd pic was an amazing host)

We may not have exhausted all the questions they had, but we did our best. As we left, they shared some of their worries.

1.How do they deal with segregation and victimization from their married age-mates, relatives?

2.What happens as they wait to join high school?

3.Who will be there to walk with them once they exit the centre?

4. Is there hope for them outside their community?

5. How do they help those who’ve gone through the cut, have families but want to do more for themselves?

 

As we left, they shared a song that they love singing :IMG-20151018-WA0019

I am fearfully and wonderfully made ,

I am fearfully and wonderfully made, 

when I think of creation that was made,

when I think of creation that was made,

I going to stand up( oohhh), i raise my hands up,

I’m going to sing a song and then I do like this!  * here you touch a part of your body*

(the part that is fearfully and wonderfully made  🙂

 

The team that made the visit possible included :

Tuta Mionki

Virginia Munya

Leah Muithui

Caroline Mwaura

Caroline Gatimu

Linet Ayuko

Njeri Olang’

Brenda Wabule

Cynthia Mwangi

among others

 

p.s

Its taken me a while to write this post (Njeri I can hear you asking for it)  because their worries have become my worries. I didn’t know how to explain that after completing class 8 they have to go home and wait for results; The homes that they were rescued from.  I really hope we can work towards expanding the rescue centre so the girls can continue with their stay even after clearing their exams, and move on to high school. Nothing will ever beat a place you feel safe enough to be yourself, be a child with no inhibitions and just grow.

 

Enjoy your day and say a prayer for my precious girls. We might be joining them again on 3rd Nov 2015 for the candidates prayer day.

Regards,

Cynthia Ythera Mwangi

 

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DAN SCHAWBEL ON PERSONAL BRANDING

dan-schawbel

When I started reading about personal branding 3yrs ago, My dad sent me a link to personal branding by Dan schawbel. I loved that he understood what it is I was slowly becoming, and made it his business to make sure i grow. I thank God for my folks!

Today, I share something Dan wrote as he talked about his book ME 2.0

How do you define personal branding and why is it important? 

Dan Schawbel: Personal branding is how we market ourselves to others. Each and every one of us has a brand because we are constantly being judged based on first impressions. Also, we are forced to sell our ideas and unique abilities to all stakeholders inside a company or as an entrepreneur.  Personal branding is critical in a world filled with clutter, competition and ambiguity.  To be a brand means to use similar branding strategies that corporations and products use to create an experience – a friendship – with an audience.  People trust people, and will therefore be more inclined to purchase your product or hire you based on their relationship with you or what they hear about you.

me2.0

What are the benefits for building a brand?

Dan Schawbel: Just like corporate brands, people can demand a premium price (a higher salary).  Also, you will become more visibility and recognized by your peers, hiring managers and other successful business people and entrepreneurs.   With visibility comes speaking engagements, jobs, clients, celebrity and much more!  Aside from self-promotion, you will establish a professional and social network, which will protect you from an uncertain work environment.  You will also learn how to own your Google results and protect and secure your online identity.

How did you get involved with personal branding? 

Dan Schawbel: In high school I recognized that I needed to stand out from everyone else to have a successful future, so I stopped going to summer camp and took my first internship at an internet company.  When I was applying for colleges, I got deferred from my first choice, which made me work twice as hard senior year, take an interview at the campus and write a letter to help me get in, which I eventually did.  Sophomore year I realized that it was going to be very competitive to get a job in marketing when I graduated, so I build a development plan that linked me to a series of internships in all marketing disciplines to set myself up for graduation.

The first few I got through connections, but then I had the audacity to go for big names, such as Reebok, Lycos and LoJack on my own.  To each interview I brought my Personal Branding Toolkit, which contained a custom resume, cover letter, CD portfolio, website and business card.  I stood out and graduated with 8 internships, 7 leadership positions and straight A’s.  I thought I was the perfect candidate, but lacked a strong network, which I had ignored previously, so it took me eight months of hard work to get the job I wanted, as a product marketer at a Fortune 500 company.

After a year in this company, I started experimenting with social media, launching my Personal Branding Blog on March 14th, 2007.  I realized that I was passionate about marketing, mentoring young individuals and all things social media, so when I read Tom Peter’s “Brand Called You” article, I knew it was written for me.  From the blog, came the Personal Brand Awards, then a TV podcast series called Personal Branding TV, some freelance writing for magazines, and my own Personal Branding Magazine.

The result, after 6 months, was a press article in Fast Company. This article was found by my company’s PR group and sent to a Vice President. Instead of being interviewed, I was able to co-create the position, which aligned with my passion outside of work. Once this happened, I knew I had a story. My motto was “the goal of personal branding is to be recruited based on your brand, not applying for jobs.”  That is exactly what will happen to you if you read this book!

dan-schawbel-office-hours-fast-track-2

 

What is your four-step process for building a powerful brand?

Dan Schawbel:

  • Discover: In order to really understand who you are and carve out a career path moving forward, investing in self-discovery is critical. In fact, if you don’t spend time learning about yourself, your values, personal mission, and unique attributes, you will be at a disadvantage when marketing your brand to others. Start by removing yourself from distractions and ask yourself, “Who am I?” and, “If I could do anything, what would it be?”
  • Create: Your personal branding toolkit may consist of a blog, Web site, business card, résumé, reference document, cover letter, portfolio, or even a LinkedIn profile. Each piece has to be consistent with the next and reflect the brand you discovered in Step 1.
  • Communicate: Now it’s time to use everything you’ve created to let people know you exist. By attending professional networking events, writing articles for Web sites, and putting on your “personal PR hat,” pitch bloggers and traditional journalists to start gaining attention and recognition for the brand you created in Step 2.
  • Maintain: As you grow, mature, and accelerate in your career, everything you’ve created has to be updated and accurately represent the current “brand you.” Also, you need to monitor your brand online to ensure all conversations about you are positive and factual. You can do this by using a combination of tools, including a Google Alert for your name.

 

Was this article helpful? Leave a comment below let me know how, hit me up on my twitter @ythera_mwangi   or on facebook  Cynthia ythera Mwangi, let’s talk more about it.

 

Regards,

Ythera Mwangi

THE TOP 10 PEOPLE THAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR NETWORK

A lot of the time, we wonder how people move form one industry to another without even blinking. They get job offers that are not advertised. besides creating the job themselves. Its from having good networks, resourceful networks.  This will require effort on your part, getting out of your comfort zone.  What events are happening? Which ones align with your interests and career growth? Go there.  It’s better to think in terms of a career jungle gym than a career ladder, this way you’ll grow more.

Here are the top 10 people that you should have in your network :

1. The Mentor

This is the person who has reached the level of success you aspire to have. You can learn from their success as well as their mistakes. Heed their wisdom and experience. This relationship offers a unique perspective because they have known you through several peaks and valleys in your life and watched you evolve.

2. The Coach

The coach is someone who comes in at different times in your life. They help with critical decisions and transitions and offer an objective perspective with no strings attached.

3. The Industry Insider

This is someone in your chosen field who has expert level information or access to it. This person will keep you informed of what’s happening now and what the next big thing is. Invite them to be a sounding board for your next innovative idea.

4. The Trendsetter

This is someone outside of your chosen industry that always has the latest buzz. It can be on any topic you find interesting. The goal in having this person in your network is to look for those connections that spark innovation via the unconventional. It will also help you keep your conversations interesting.

5. The Connector

This is a person who has access to people, resources, and information. As soon as they come across something related to you, they are sending you an e-mail or picking up the phone. Connectors are great at uncovering unique ways to make connections, finding resources and opportunities most people would over look.

6. The Idealist

This is the person in your network you can dream with. No matter how “out there” your latest idea is, this is the person that will help you brainstorm ways to make it happen. Without judgment, they are focused on helping you flush out your dreams in high definition, even if you don’t have a solid plan yet on how to make it happen.

7. The Realist

On the flip side you still need the person who will help you keep it real. This is the person who will give you the raised eyebrow when your expectations exceed your effort. These are not people who knock down your dreams, rather they challenge you to actively make your dream happen.

8. The Visionary

Visionary people inspire you by their journey. They are similar to the Idealist, but the visionary can help you envision an actual plan to reach your goal. One personal encounter with this type of person can powerfully change the direction of your thinking and life.

9. The Partner

You need to have someone who is in a similar place and on a similar path to share with. In fact, partners do a lot of sharing. This is a person you can share the wins and woes with. Partners will also share resources, opportunities, and information.

10. The Wanna-Be

This is someone you can serve as mentor to. Someone you can help shape and guide based on your experiences. One of the best ways to tell you understand something is to be able to explain it to someone else. And sometimes, one of the best motivators for pushing through obstacles and hardship is knowing someone is watching.

Do a quick analysis of the people in your current network. Do you have the above? Obviously you will need to have more than 10 people in your network. Strive to have a diverse network by adding people from different industries, backgrounds, age groups, ethnic groups and so on that fit into the roles listed above. You will not get to where you want to go by only including people from your current profession or business, its  limiting your potential opportunities.

 

Was this article helpful? Leave a comment below let me know how, hit me up on my twitter @ythera_mwangi   or on facebook  Cynthia ythera Mwangi, let’s talk more about it.

Regards,

Ythera Mwangi

 

Regards,

Cynthia Mwangi.

 

source :careerealism.com