Wednesday, 12 December 2018

STORYTELLERS ENCHANTED ALL IN 2016 AT KWANI TRUST



Maimouna Jallow at Kwani? at first Re-imagining African folktales Festival

BY Margaretta wa Gacheru (written 2016 but posted 12 December 2018)

In theory they were five female storytellers scheduled to perform last Saturday night in the production ‘And then, she said…” at Kwani Trust where there had already been a day filled with charming storytelling sessions for children by some on Kenya’s finest performing artists.
But in practice, the five were magicians each weaving her enchanting spell to draw you into her story which in turns, made you laugh, cry, empathize and often hold your breath in anticipation of what emotion she’d arouse in you next.
The only one of the five that visibly disclosed the stories all came from written texts was the first one, Mumbi Kaigwa. She performed a sort of service in that she situated us in ‘the book’, bringing out the element of realism by revealing that all five storytellers would actually be drawing their stories from the original tellers who like themselves are amazingly strong African women.
In Mumbi’s case, her reading started from the beginning of the late Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye’s compelling novel, ‘Coming to Birth’. But rather than try to synthesize the whole novel at a go, Mumbi opened up the original setting of the story, thus requiring us to go find out for ourselves what happens to the newly-weds Martin and Paulina.
In contrast, the other four jumped into their stories head first: Raya Wambui, who was appropriately dressed in a hijab, shared the deeply moving story of the period just prior to the Somali civil war. Drawing from the historical novel, ‘The orchard of lost souls’ by the young awards-winning Somali-British writer Nadia Mohamed, Raya bore witness to the painful experience of three Somali women. Her performance was so powerful that one could practically feel the women’s apprehension as each anticipated the coming war.
Equally powerfully but emotionally antithetical was Patricia Kihoro’s hilarious performance of Zukiswa Wanner’s painfully funny and profoundly perceptive “Maid in SA: 30 ways to leave your madam.’ Zuki’s a keen observer of the nuances of race relations but it was Patricia who captured the essence of Zuki’s tongue-in-cheek mockery of the white ‘memsab’ or Madam. It was Patricia who made us laugh so hard that we eventually wept from the tummy ache that her interpretation of Zuki’s astute class analysis of white women’s characters brought on.
The final two stories were staged to a slightly smaller crowd since some took advantage of the extended intermission to disappear. But it was well worth sticking around since performances by both Sitawa Namwalie and Maimouna Jallow could have stood alone rather be one of five incredible women’s renditions. For not only were the women writers’ stories deeply revealing—although one was steeped in sorrow while the other was exactly the opposite—a kind of celebration of women’s ingenuity and canny ability to outsmart the cleverest man. At the same time, these two deeply dramatic and detailed life stories would never have roused the enthusiastic response that they did if not for the actors, the genius storytellers Sitawa and Maimouna.
Sitawa’s interpretation of Mariama Ba’s ‘So Long a Letter’ was intimate, soulful and strikingly candid and personal. As if she were disclosing a woman’s secrets and stunning disappointments to a best friend, Sitawa’s story is one shared by a multitude of women not just in Africa but worldwide, wherever a spouse or lover betrays their woman’s trusting love by picking up a new wife without even consulting the first one. Sitawa conveyed the woman’s heartfelt pain so deeply, one couldn’t help but empathize with the experience many women face.  
Ultimately, it was Maimouna’s finale performance of ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’ that made one most grateful that we didn’t leave at intermission. Each wife’s story is dramatically quite different but Baba Segi’s discovery in the case of wife number five turned the whole tide of this marvelous tale that Maimouna told with gusto and guileless flair.
 And somehow she managed to synthesize the whole story without losing the pace, humor, personality or power of Lola Shoneyin’s tall tale.
It was Maimouna who produced the whole day and night of ‘Reimagined’ African Folktales and we hope she’ll put on a similar production again soon.
That day could come sooner if she succeeds in receiving an excellent range of modern ‘re-imagined’ African folktales of the sort she’s invited people to send by May 20th to www.reimaginedstories.com.
Meanwhile, tonight at The Elephant in Lavington, ‘Tinga Tinga Tales: the Musical’ has its official premier performance. Based on the TV series written by Claudina Lloyd, with music by Eric Wainaina, who also co-stars with John Sibi-Okuma and others, it’s a show not to be missed.













STORYTELLING FESTIVAL TO FEATURE INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS


                                    Maimouna Jallow at 1st edition of Re-Imagined Storytelling Festival

BY Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted 12 December 2018)

Saturday’s Second edition of The Re-Imagined Storytelling Festival is going to be an important all-day event at Alliance Francaise that nobody keen on theatre, storytelling, orature or literature of any kind should miss.
Maimouna Jallow, founder of Positively Africa has brought together storytellers from all over the world to join with her in a delightful program of storytelling, interactive workshops, panels, art auction and even a music jam towards the end of the day.
Three major highpoints of the Festival will be first, a book launch of ‘Story, Story, Story Come’ which is hot off the press and edited by Maimouna herself. The 12-story anthology is the fruition of her two-year effort to enlist members of her Pan-African network to re-imagine traditional African folktales as a means of reviving interest in African orature (or oral literature) and nurturing a contemporary reading culture.
The book contains enchanting stories by creative writers and storytellers from Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Zambia. It’s beautifully illustrated by Olusayo Ajentunmobi.
The second highlight of the day will be the premiere performance of ‘The Door of (No) Return’ which is an adaptation of some of the stories in book presented in partnership with ZamaleoAct.
And the other glorious feature of the Festival is Maimouna’s managing to bring storytellers from Morocco, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Australia and Kenya together for not just a day-full but a week-full of their sharing their art, both on Saturday and throughout this week. They performed everywhere from Mathare and Eastleigh to Buruburu for school children. This Friday, they will be giving master classes at Alliance Francaise, but one needed to sign up for them in advance.
If anyone doubts that storytelling is an inspiring theatrical form which has an age-old history based right here in Africa, then come to the festival to get a taste of what storytelling is all about.
Meanwhile, at Louis Leakey auditorium at Nairobi National Museum, Kenyatta University students will be staging an original play by Tony Sesat entitled ‘Reverberations’. Directed by Fanuel Mulwa who performed in Sarafina as Crocodile and Jesus Christ Superstar as the Apostle Peter, ‘Reverberations’ is all about a corrupt churchman whose infidelity leads to tragic consequences as the man’s two sons are deeply affected and infected by their father’s poor parenting.
Sadly the story resonates in the Kenya of today. The show runs from tonight through Sunday.

HEARTSTRING & HEARTS OF ART PLAYS PRESENT FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE



THEATRE REFLECTS WOMEN’S PERSPECTIVE

By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted 12 December)

Looking at Kenyan theatre last weekend, one might have gotten the idea that some of our leading thespians have become infected with feminist notions.
For instance, at Heartstrings’ last Friday night I saw a woman outwit her man, a master flatterer and philander.
Throughout the play, ‘Do it Yourself’ you see the spouse (Nick Kwach) apparently having the upper hand. He’s cheating his wife (Anne Kamau) with super-sweet words, all the while making ‘whoopee’ with the house help (Adelyn Wairimu), scheming to swindle her with his pal (Victor Nyaata) and swiping funds from her ATM.
Meanwhile, the wife is wise to her man. She’s apparently known all along that, although he may love her (he puts on a great act), he’s definitely got mixed motives. After all, she’s moneyed. We don’t know how she got it. But we see she’s a working woman and probably a saver whose spouse is eating into her savings fast.
But like any thief, he’s bound to trip up eventually. He stretches his luck too far when asking his wife for a million in cash. That’s the red flag that gives her notice that she’s got to put her foot down. After all, she’s known about his games all along.
But it’s only after Victor and Nick stage a hilarious ‘kidnapping’ complete with a scrappy video that she reveals she isn’t going to keep quiet any more. She’s always known that he’s an unfaithful crook.
The deepest thing about this modern-day dark fairy tale comes when she gets philosophical. Looking at her man and men generally, she admits she’s known he’s a cheater, but she loves him all the same. In any case, what man is better, she asks? If she dumped this guy, what fellow could she find who would be any better!
Her perspective may seem cynical. But the crux of her (and Heartstrings’) insight is that we’ve been bringing up brighter girls every day but letting our boys slip through the cracks. We’ve left them without the moral or ethical education they need to become great and good men who can stand side by side our new women.
It’s a powerful insight that needs to be taken seriously.
Hearts of Art tackles an even more delicate issue than greed, infidelity and blackmail.
It’s rape. Or is it?
That’s the contentious topic that Walter Sitati’s new script, ‘Scars and Stilettos’ tackles, using tropes we’re familiar with.
Like the attractive intern (Tracy Amadi) working in the office of a popular politician (Allan Sifuna), which echoes the notorious scandal of Monica and Bill Clinton. In both scenarios, the intern’s intentions are open to question. Was she a temptress out to seduce a married man? Or a vulnerable victim as her best friend (Patience Akinyi) believes her to be.
It’s the best friend who insists she go see a lawyer (Sitati). Once he gets to court, he doesn’t just present her case. He’s enflamed with a feminist fervor as he challenges the politician’s canny lawyer (Pauline Kyalo).
Capturing all the dramatic electricity that a courtroom can contain, Sitati’s powerfully reasoned soliloquy is matched by the defense lawyer who’s managed to collect alluring photos and emails from the intern to her boss.
Fortunately for the girl, the Judge (Brian Muchina) rules the photos inadmissible in court.  If he had ruled the other way, they could have been grounds for the pol contending the intern seduced him.
But then, we don’t find out how the case concludes since Sitati leaves us on a hanging cliff. The ‘curtain’ comes down just as the Judge is about to rule. So we’ll never know where the writer really stands.
What we do know is that Hearts of Art has empathy for women and understands how deeply the experience of rape affects the woman. We haven’t seen plays in Kenya address this delicate issue in the past, so we are grateful to HOA for defying the taboo on the topic and opening it up to public debate..
Tracy Amadi did an excellent job portraying the young woman whose naivety got her into big trouble and pain she hadn’t foreseen. We also loved the militant spirit of her friend (Akinyi) who insisted her friend take a stand, defy victimization and fight for her dignity and for justice.
Incidentally, PAWA254 must fix the light system for their stage. Otherwise, I feel thespians using that stage suffer from inferior lighting.



Tuesday, 11 December 2018

ANUJA'S VISION OF TRAINING YOUNG WOMEN IN FASHION AND FINANCE



By Margaretta wa Gacheru (11 December 2018)

Last Sunday afternoon at Spinners Web, a ‘Celebration’ Fashion Show featuring the collections of top Kenyan designers were modelled by 30 ‘dream girl’ models who’d been trained by Anuja Prashar.
Anuja doesn’t normally train young women in modelling, but this was a special occasion. As director of the AMURT’S department of development and CSR, she is normally busy setting up a vocational training program for young women from disadvantaged backgrounds. So far, she’s already got 2000 girls from the ages of 19 to 26 lined up to learn practical and ‘employable’ skills in everything from handicrafts, specifically sewing and beading, to hairdressing and health care to business administration.
“We aim to train young women to become economically self-sufficient,” says Anuja whose organization has been in Kenya since 1993. “But in the past, AMURT focused primarily on health care services to disadvantaged people.”
But she says once they realized that most of the illnesses they were treating were either directly or indirectly related to poverty, they decided they needed to focus on entrepreneurship training and helping (in this case) young women to become financially self-sufficient.
For that reason, Anuja organized her fashion show to raise funds for the job training program, part of which will teach young women skills in fashion-related skills. Entitled ‘Dreams Entrepreneur and Enterprise Program’ or DEEP, the build-up to her fashion show was what she called the AMURT African Beads and Print 30 Day Challenge.
During those 30 days, she and everyone supporting DEEP was to wear African prints and beads every day for one month. So the fashion show was effectively ‘celebrating’ the end to the Challenge.
“The Challenge helped us raise Sh250,000 towards establishing the program,” says Anuja, who had launched the challenge with a panel addressing the topic “How African Beads and Print Industry are linked to Kenya’s Socio-Economic Community Development.” On that panel were two of Kenya’s leading designers, Deepa Dosaja whose expertise is fashion and Rhodia Mann whose genius is in jewelry and beads.
The fashion show itself also featured Deepa who was one of several leading Kenyan fashion and jewelry designers whose collections were worn by 30 young women who’ve been through AMURT’s first ‘dream’ training program. The other top designers included Niku Singh, Kiran Ahluwalia and Weaver Bird as well as Spinners Web designers like Tracy Kamau, Jackie Resley and others.
Anuja says the show itself was to illustrate how top designers need the skills she aims to train her young women in. The first dream program trained them in skills related to domestic services so they would be more employable as house maids.
But as Anuja believes that young women have the capacity to learn far more than being good domestics, she is keen to train them in entrepreneurship.
“I looked into other vocational training courses, including those run by the government. The cheapest courses ran anywhere from Sh15,000 which is way out of the range of the young women we are targeting. Our program is free,” she adds, noting her ambition is also to set up all over the country. Currently, the dream girls who took AMURT’S first course come from informal settlements (aka slums) around Nairobi such as Kibera, Korogocho, Mukuru and Kangemi where AMURT already runs a hospital.
Those are the same estates where the models featured at the Sunday fashion show came from. Wearing everything from beach wear by Kenya Kanga and Tausi Trends to an off-shoulder cocktail dress by Amazing Collection to Maasai Beaded dresses, Straight, Umbrella and Maxi Slit dresses down an impromptu cement catwalk, the novice models put on an elegant show.
The fashion show and raffle which featured, among other exceptional gifts, several hand-woven, hand-dyed Kenyan woolen jackets from Spinners Web, earned DEEP another Sh150,000. Anuja says DEEP is set to take off early next year.
The show itself was a tremendous source of inspiration to the models and their friends. But following the fashion show, what inspired them as much or even more was the arrival of Kenya’s leading Gospel singer, Gloria Muliro, who sang several of her hit songs including ‘Narudisha’. She also told her story of having been a house girl herself for three years, from 2000 to 2003.
“You would never believe it, looking at my life today. But what lifted me up was that I never lost hope and I never let go of my dreams. So don’t you let go of yours either,” Gloria said, speaking directly to Anuja’s dream girls.




TOP DESIGNERS' HOT COLLECTIONS MODELED BY 'DREAM GIRLS' FROM EASTLANDS



By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted 11 December 2018)

Last Sunday afternoon at Spinners Web in Kitisuru, a ‘Celebration’ Fashion Show featuring the collections of leading Kenyan designers were modelled by 30 ‘dream girl’ models. The thirty are from a pool of 2000 young Kenyan women from informal settlements who have been trained by the community development agency, AMURT.
The top Kenyan designers whose latest collections of fashion, jewelry and other accessories included Deepa Dosaja, Niku Singh, and Kiran Ahluwalia as well as designers represented by Spinners Web such as Tracy Kamau, Tina Masese, Irene Mkasa, Jackie Resley and others.
It was the first fashion show that Spinners Web has hosted since they moved from Spring Valley to Kitisuru more than a year ago. But the open-air catwalk turned out to be a perfect venue for the crowd who came to support Anuja Prashar, AMURT’s new director of development and CRS who had organized the show to promote a vocational training program aimed at assisting young women, including the thirty models who graced the catwalk that day.

Niku Singh’s jewelry pieces were the first of 40 designs that went down the catwalk that day. All his jewelry is one-of-a-kind and the sort of accessory that is both dramatic and unforgettable. The models who got to wear his designs looked like they wore works of art, not just ornamental jewelry.

Next came Deepa’s bright sunny dresses looking both cheerful and chic. Her beautifully fitted orange cocktail dress made the dream model swish all the way down the catwalk. Deepa’s elegant white and green patterned print blended in beautifully with the Kitisuru setting of tall trees and leafy shrubs.
The beach wear provided by Kenya Kanga and Tausi Trends made us want to head for the Coast right now and not wait till the Christmas holiday.
Shoes that featured in the show were mainly sandals provided by Ikwetta as well as by Nina and Azus Leather.
And as the afternoon featured mainly casual day wear, there were a wide variety of bright free-flowing dresses that came down the catwalk. Ikarashi provided the beautiful Maasai Beaded dress while Tracy Wairimu Kamau had a whole line of Umbrella dresses in the show that were clearly the easiest to wear for comfort, style and any time of day.

Tracy, whose labels are Anointed Hands and Suhil, also created the trendy Blue hoodie that most of the models wanted to wear. The Hoodie could have gone well with the Cotton Fleece pants by Rowamy but instead, the pants were matched with a top by Models Own and a Denim bag also by Rowamy.
Deepa’s dresses were among the most elegant ones modelled in the show. But Tina Masese’s Thin Strap dress was also elegant. So was the Maxi Slit dress by Mbabazi, the Ugandan women group that works closely with another Ugandan women group that makes Clutch bags covered in hand-made paper beads. The bag worked well with the Maasai Beaded dress.
Among the other fashionable accessories worn last Sunday were hats. A big floppy Safari hat came from Rowamy while the red hat that matched the red umbrella dress came from Tausi Trends and several beach hats came all the way from Madagascar and Madagascar Arts.
The height of ‘beach wear’ was actually provided by Karin Ahluwalia who brands her bright multicolored silk scarves with her first name. They formed the perfect beach cover since they are slightly transparent but also rich in sunshine hues that make you think of sunbeams not swimwear.

But the cutest moments of the day came when four little models came down the catwalk just as coy and cute as one might want to take home and adopt. One wore a turquoise blue poncho which was slightly too big for her but nobody cared since she carried it with poise and pleasure.
The real show stealer was the little four year old dressed in a white frock patterned with red roses. She wasn’t quite sure where to walk but she marched on and proved herself to be a promising model, just as promising as all the other young women who are trainees with Anuja Prashar’s Dreams Entrepreneur and Enterprise Program or DEEP.
Nearly all the fashions on display last Sunday are available at Spinners Web.



CELEBRATING KENYAN FASHION WITH DREAM GIRL MODELS


By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted 11 December 2018)

Last Sunday afternoon at Spinners Web, a ‘Celebration’ Fashion Show featuring the collections of top Kenyan designers were modelled by 30 ‘dream girl’ models who’d been trained by Anuja Prashar.
Anuja doesn’t normally train young women in modelling, but this was a special occasion. As director of the AMURT’S department of development and CSR, she is normally busy setting up a vocational training program for young women from disadvantaged backgrounds. So far, she’s already got 2000 girls from the ages of 19 to 26 lined up to learn practical and ‘employable’ skills in everything from handicrafts, specifically sewing and beading, to hairdressing and health care to business administration.

“We aim to train young women to become economically self-sufficient,” says Anuja whose organization has been in Kenya since 1993. “But in the past, AMURT focused primarily on health care services to disadvantaged people.”
But she says once they realized that most of the illnesses they were treating were either directly or indirectly related to poverty, they decided they needed to focus on entrepreneurship training and helping (in this case) young women to become financially self-sufficient.
For that reason, Anuja organized her fashion show to raise funds for the job training program, part of which will teach young women skills in fashion-related skills. Entitled ‘Dreams Entrepreneur and Enterprise Program’ or DEEP, the build-up to her fashion show was what she called the AMURT African Beads and Print 30 Day Challenge.
During those 30 days, she and everyone supporting DEEP was to wear African prints and beads every day for one month. So the fashion show was effectively ‘celebrating’ the end to the Challenge.

“The Challenge helped us raise Sh250,000 towards establishing the program,” says Anuja, who had launched the challenge with a panel addressing the topic “How African Beads and Print Industry are linked to Kenya’s Socio-Economic Community Development.” On that panel were two of Kenya’s leading designers, Deepa Dosaja whose expertise is fashion and Rhodia Mann whose genius is in jewelry and beads.
The fashion show itself also featured Deepa who was one of several leading Kenyan fashion and jewelry designers whose collections were worn by 30 young women who’ve been through AMURT’s first ‘dream’ training program. The other top designers included Niku Singh, Kiran Ahluwalia and Weaver Bird as well as Spinners Web designers like Tracy Kamau, Jackie Resley and others.

Anuja says the show itself was to illustrate how top designers need the skills she aims to train her young women in. The first dream program trained them in skills related to domestic services so they would be more employable as house maids.
But as Anuja believes that young women have the capacity to learn far more than being good domestics, she is keen to train them in entrepreneurship.
“I looked into other vocational training courses, including those run by the government. The cheapest courses ran anywhere from Sh15,000 which is way out of the range of the young women we are targeting. Our program is free,” she adds, noting her ambition is also to set up all over the country. Currently, the dream girls who took AMURT’S first course come from informal settlements (aka slums) around Nairobi such as Kibera, Korogocho, Mukuru and Kangemi where AMURT already runs a hospital.

Those are the same estates where the models featured at the Sunday fashion show came from. Wearing everything from beach wear by Kenya Kanga and Tausi Trends to an off-shoulder cocktail dress by Amazing Collection to Maasai Beaded dresses, Straight, Umbrella and Maxi Slit dresses down an impromptu cement catwalk, the novice models put on an elegant show.
The fashion show and raffle which featured, among other exceptional gifts, several hand-woven, hand-dyed Kenyan woolen jackets from Spinners Web, earned DEEP another Sh150,000. Anuja says DEEP is set to take off early next year.

The show itself was a tremendous source of inspiration to the models and their friends. But following the fashion show, what inspired them as much or even more was the arrival of Kenya’s leading Gospel singer, Gloria Muliro, who sang several of her hit songs including ‘Narudisha’. She also told her story of having been a house girl herself for three years, from 2000 to 2003.
“You would never believe it, looking at my life today. But what lifted me up was that I never lost hope and I never let go of my dreams. So don’t you let go of yours either,” Gloria said, speaking directly to Anuja’s dream girls.




TRAINING FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY



By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted 11 december 2018)

In the last two years, nearly 2000 young women from Kibera, Korogocho, Mukuru and Kangemi have been trained in the ‘Dream Girls program’ run by the community development NGO, AMURT which has aimed to empower girls from disadvantaged background
Yet Anuja Prashar, director of AMURT’s department of development and CSR says that program had flaws. It didn’t teach the young women the kind of vocational skills that would enable them to become financially self-sufficient.
“They were basically trained to become house maids,” says Anuja who has much higher ambitions for the women. She’s started a vocational training program that aims to teach them practical and ‘employable’ skills which her research has shown will meet a market demand. The market she’s been focused on initially is the fashion industry since it relies on skills labor to create their high fashion.
The updated ‘dreams program’ that she has created teaches young women between the ages of 19 and 26 both employable skills ranging from handicrafts, including beading and sewing, to hairdressing and beauty to health care and hygiene.
But as important as these hands-on skills are in her program, Anuja is convinced that it’s the entrepreneurial skills that will help them most to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs.
“I want them to be able to start their own jua kali enterprises. Their businesses may initially be small scale, but I’m convinced there’s a ready market that’s prepared to keep them occupied once they have the right kind of skills training,” Anuja says.
The ‘Dreams Entrepreneur & Enterprise Program’ (DEEP) will provide that kind of training, she adds.
“We already have the program set up and we’ve begun training the young women. But we still need funds to expand our infrastructure since we want to take DEEP countrywide,” she says. “What’s more, in the near future we hope to include young men in the training.”
AMURT itself has been in Kenya since 1993 but in the past its primary focus has been on bringing health care services to disadvantaged people.
“AMURT has already set up three hospitals, the largest one being in Kangemi,” she says. “I was brought in to develop enterprise training programs after AMURT realized that many of the illnesses they treat are either directly or indirectly the result of poverty.”
But as it isn’t everyone who understands the link between skills training of young women and improved health, Anuja recently launched an African Beads and Print Challenge.
“It aimed to get people thinking about the role that [accessories like] Maasai beads and African prints play in developing our local fashion industry,” she says.
For 30 days she challenged herself and friends to dress in African designs and beads. At the outset of the ‘challenge’, she organized a panel discussion highlighting how the African Bead and Print industry is linked to Kenya’s socio-economic development.
Last Sunday, the challenge culminated with a fund-raiser fashion show at Spinners Web in Kitisuru. The show featured collections by top Kenyan designers’, all of which were modelled by 30 ‘dream girls’ and 10 child models, all of whom came from ‘informal settlements’ (or slums).
The top designers whose fashions were feature included Deepa Dosaja, Niku Singh, Kiran Ahluwalia and Spinners Web designers such as Tracy Kamau, Jackie Resley and Weaver Bird.
In the introduction of the show, Anuja invited several ‘dream girls’ to come forward to tell what the Dream program had done for them thus far. Among them was Aisha Wandia Muchiri, 23, from Kibera who has a primary school education. She said the program had already given her the self-confidence to stand up and speak in public which she couldn’t do before.
The highlight of the afternoon was the arrival of the renowned Kenyan Gospel singer, Gloria Muliro, who had once been a ‘dream girl’ herself. She said she too had been employed as a housemaid, something she did from 2000 to 2003.
“You would never believe that I was a house girl if you look at my life today,” says the acclaimed singer. “But what lifted me up was that I never lost hope and I never let go of my dreams,” she added.
Muliro inspired the youth that day, singing and dancing with them. She also invited them to join her as she sang one of her favorite tunes, Narudisha..
Anuja raised KSh250,000 from the Challenge and another SSh150,000 from the fashion show. She now plans to ramp up DEEP in the New Year.