Nairobi — Sh63 million was raised during a major fundraising for Zawadi Africa Education Fund held in Nairobi on Friday night.
The fundraising was meant to raise money that will be used in educating needy girls who excel in school to enable them further their education abroad.
Susan Mboya Kidero the founder and president of Zawadi Africa said that the fund has scaled greater heights, having started as a small initiative with limited funds. "Our main goal is to create the best leaders in the continent," she said.
"Having started with 3 students and a sponsorship kitty of Sh40m in 2002, the fund has in the last 10 years facilitated full schorlaships called at over Sh3.2 billion to over 230 girls," Mrs Kidero told a press briefing held ahead of the fundraising event.
The girl child education programme started in 2002 selects girls based academic excellence and leadership traits.
"We select girls based on their merit and we mainly focus on girls who show traits of leadership other than just academic excellence because we strive at creating women who can uphold the African Continent and develop it to its full potential." She said.
Capital Group Chairman Dr. Chris Kirubi who graced the event urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the sponsorship to discover their potential "because they are future leaders".
"It requires you young ladies to work harder and smarter than the Americans so that you can earn more scholarships so that you can come back to Africa as qualified and able leaders," he said.
The contributions in Friday's fundraising were the largest ever raised in a single event, with the fundraising targeting to raise Sh85m this year.
Other supporters and donors urged the girls to always consider returning back home to serve their motherland after their studies abroad.
The event also served as a farewell party for girls leaving for various institutions of higher learning abroad.
According to Mrs Kidero, Zawadi Africa has given rise to numerous auxiliary programs, initiated and run by its beneficiaries that benefit girls and boys from primary school to college.
"Key amongst these programs are initiatives like Beyond the Classroom, Masomo Mashinani and PACE all run by Zawadi Africa scholars as a way of giving back to the community, according to a statement from the foundation.
Mrs Mboya said the fund has set forth an ambitious target of having 1000 students from 40 African countries and 400 partner schools by the year 2020.
"We believe this is possible and hence we are calling on members of the public and corporations to partner with us as we seek to raise money to educate these very needy girls and more importantly expand the powerful force of change that is Zawadi Africa," she added.
The program that provides university scholarships and leadership development skills to academically gifted but financially disadvantaged African girls is inspired by the Kennedy-Mboya airlift that saw over 1000 academically talented Africans from 5 countries educated in the US. They all became the first crop of African academicians.
Jemimah Wangui is a Daystar University graduate with a passion for features stories. She has been in writing for four years and believes that media is a great channel to communicate. She considers that she is the change that she wants to see and thus puts her best foot forward as she works at Capital FM to ensure that she leaves a legacy to be emulated.