At the end of each academic year, the ALA hosts a graduation ceremony, in order to bid farewell to its final-year students, and to celebrate all that they have achieved during their time at the academy. The most recent ceremony saw the committee express their gratitude to two of their long-term supporters, Reni and Tunde Folawiyo. In addition to this, several graduates discussed their social entrepreneurial projects; a young woman named Gift Pola Kiti gave attendees an in-depth report on the progress of the ‘Elimu Project’, which she set up to provide youths from disadvantaged areas of Kenya with an education.
The idea for this project arose from Gift’s own experiences, as she herself had struggled each year to find the money to pay for her school fees. It was only after receiving a full scholarship from an organisation called ‘Aid-education International’ that she managed to complete her secondary school education. After realising just how dramatically this financial support had changed her life, she decided to ‘pay it forward’ by creating Elimu. Whilst it is currently available only to Kenyans, Gift hopes that the project will soon be made available in many other African countries.
She believes that, whilst education may not be the most glamorous type of development, in that it doesn’t offer an immediate solution to a country’s most pressing issues, it does create sustainable, long lasting change in the lives of young people. She believes that projects like Elimu will change the world for the better.
As a result of her tireless efforts to give the youth of Kenya the education they deserve, Gift was selected to be one of the participants in the 2013 Bezos Scholars Programme. Being interested in youth development, Tunde Folawiyo is no doubt aware of this programme0. Developed by the Bezos Family Foundation and the Aspen Institute, it brings together 12 top educators, 12 students from the USA, and 5 students from the African Leadership Academy.
Thousands of people from across the country come to listen to this group engage in discussions, debates, plenary sessions and lectures, all of which are based on critical issues which society is facing today. Participants like Gift are also given leadership training sessions; the knowledge gleaned from these events enables them to come up with sustainable, innovative solutions to the most serious problems.
Youth development is just one of Folawiyo’s many interests. To find out more facts about him, view Dailymotion Tunde Folawiyo page.