IWD 2021 | Choose To Challenge | Achievement!

Today, March 8, 2021, is International Women's Day. This day is an important day around the world, and also to us! This year's theme is #ChooseToChallenge where the focus is on achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality.

All week we will be sharing blog posts about achievement, awareness, and action for equality and to start the celebration of this important day on March 8th, Michelle shares her achievement!

In case you have not yet had the chance to meet Michelle, Michelle is the Girls Empowerment Teacher and Coordinator for The Angaza Project in Kibera, Kenya. Michelle grew up in Kibera and earned a scholarship to High School as a Goodfellow Scholar. After High School, she found herself in a spot where there was uncertainty of what was next. She wanted to attend University, but scholarships are few and it looked.... impossible. She soon found a job at a local community school where she supported the Administration, helped keep the students in place/organized and cooked the lunch. She had completed other community trainings on empowerment and development so she met with some girls on the weekend at the community school and held sessions on menstruation health and hygiene, responsibility, leadership, boundaries, self worth, and more. It was about two years later when she met The Angaza Project!

While there is so much more to the story that she will share some other time, she is now working at The Angaza Project where she continues to be a leader! Michelle chose to challenge! She finished High School despite the old thinking of education was first for boys. She got involved in her community to empower others, and she paved the way and lit the path for more girls to follow her! Under the Shining Brighter Scholarship program at The Angaza Project, Michelle was accepted at St. Paul's University for studying Community Development, but we will never forget the day the packet was due to Admissions!

Michelle chose to challenge again! As she prepared the application package to the University and we received a "drop off date by ___" from the Admissions office, she had it all planned down to the minute. She had several items to complete like a physical exam, copies of a birth certificate, passport sized photos for the ID and more and she completed all of those items and the next day the plan was to take it all down to the Admissions office as directed. The morning of..... standing out at the matatu (small bus) stop to catch a matatu to town....none came. She waited, none came. It was soon realized the public transport system decided to go on strike! No public transport was operating, no Uber! Nothing! That day was the due date, the deadline! Michelle took matters into her own feet. She WALKED from Kibera all the way to downtown Nairobi to the University with her packet in hand. She was going to become a University student no matter what. She made it, tired for sure. She dropped off her packet and it went into processing with Admissions. Hoping the matatu or even Uber was back online by this time..... it wasn't. So, the only thing left to do was.... walk home. About a half hour into her walk home, it started pouring down rain, no umbrella (who knew it was going to rain?).... she kept walking until she reached home soaked and tired. It turns out, she walked 10 miles and about half of it was in the pouring rain- she was determined to become a University student! She challenged and she won!

The challenge was not over.... the world experienced a pandemic. Something nobody saw coming! From back and forth travel to the campus every day to being told learning will move to online, it was a moment of "now what" for the world! Connectivity is not the same everywhere and it was a concern..... daily data for the internet was a question mark! But, the University provided data for their students and she already received a laptop as part of her Scholarship under Shining Brighter. So..... there was NO break in study. There were days that were hard with bad weather impacting the connection sometimes, but she got through it! She did not give up.

Throughout the pandemic, Michelle continued her studies while overseeing the food and supply distributions, the mask making with Maridadi Skill Teachers George and Benard, and she devised creative solutions to stay connected to our girls empowerment while keeping the Ministry of Health guidelines a priority. In the middle of all of this.... she GRADUATED with her Certificate in Community Development at St. Paul's University! This was the first step in her education journey where credits roll forward to the Diploma.

So to celebrate International Women's Day 2021 #ChooseToChallenge, we highlight Michelle's achievements. What's the message on the board? Swahili language for I have graduated! CONGRATULATIONS MICHELLE! You are a leader, lighting the path for the girls behind you! This is not all either! Later this week, we will come back around to highlight another major achievement of Michelle's where she shares her acceptance to YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) as the Girls Empowerment Coordinator at The Angaza Project.


Interested in making education possible for a young lady like Michelle? You can! Become part of our Shining Brighter Scholars program today! You can be part of helping a young lady to reach her dream of college and can learn more here

The Angaza Project is a 501c3 nonprofit with a volunteer team that empowers women and girls around the world to shine through economic and education opportunities. We accomplish our mission through our Shining Scholars (High School Scholarships), Shining Brighter (College, University or other Certification Training Scholarships), Girls Empowerment, Women's Empowerment, and our Maridadi Skills program. Let's get pamoja (united- connected)! Connect with us! Like and follow us on Facebook or Twitter! Email us at info@theangazaproject.org Visit us at www.theangazaproject.org