Words cannot express the joy I have while writing this blog. It just seems like yesterday, when the idea of Spring Break was conceived. The horn of Africa famine was at its peak and media was flooded with many heart wrenching pictures. These pictures prompted me to think how we could engage our young African University students beginning with Kenya in crafting more sustainable solutions towards ending hunger. Thank fully, social media has all the channels to communicate thoughts with friends. This idea started from a face book chart on our Young Thinkers Kenya page as evidenced in this original email send to Simeon Ogonda.
Thank you for your contribution in Young Thinkers Forum. We really appreciate. As a result of your comment this morning, an idea quickly flashed into my mind of organizing a week long “Spring Break” kinda of thing where Kenyan University students and other college attending students can volunteer in a week in those areas affected by hunger and kind of carry a project eg digging a dam for the areas affected and helping plant the gardens of those really affected in an effort to contribute to meaningful and sustainable solutions..and showing that young people are interested in offering kind of more permanent solutions rather than donations..
We are in the brain storming phase and we would like to all think together and come up with something.”
The rest is history.
Our first ever Spring Break event for Kenyan University students is happening in the Lakeside County of Siaya as I write this blog. It was organized by Kenyan University students and funded by the young Kenyan intellectuals committed to community service.
Spring Break Kenya attracted the participation of three University academic clubs: Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) from Maseno and Moi University, Rotaract Club of Jomo Kenyatta Institute of Agriculture and Technology, and the Biomedical Students Association of Egerton University. Participating students are being hosted by PARADEP (Participatory Research and Development Program, a community based organization in Siaya County. We got material support from (i) Transparency International, (ii) UNICEF, and (iii) Maseno University. We are also grateful to North Carolina State University Center for Student Leadership Ethics and Public Service for providing us with many materials we used to write our Spring Break proposal.
Participating students have been engaging in several activities including; Brain Pens, Seed against Hunger, and Kids Club. The students are also attending forums conducted by Spring Break volunteers from the corporate sector and Universities. The feedback from the participating students has been amazing, and we can’t wait for 2013 Spring Break camp.
Our journey has just begun. Our overall goal is to eventually build a Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service that will work with Universities (both Private and Public) to coordinate and promote public service to all University students beginning with Kenya and the rest of Africa.
I personally feel humbled to have pioneered the first ever Spring break for Kenyan University students. All this could not have happened without a very dedicated team that comprised of the Spring Break Camp Director, Simeon Ogonda, Faculty Advisor, Prof. Masibo Lumala, Spring Break Co-Chair Ms. Evelyne Muchocho, Charity Murigi, SIFE Maseno President, and our volunteers (Ms. Marion Mayende).
Yes, we finally turned an idea to action. I encourage everyone with ideas to work towards the actualization of those ideas. May this blog post remind and encourage you to always remember that it is possible!