December 13, 2010 § 3 Comments
Greeting to the Strong at Heart!
Here in Kenya, the two most charming things outside of our children are sundays and the public bus. On Sunday, the Earth tones of the week are ribboned in Miami pinks and greens, floral head wraps, and false gold earrings like a cloud of tropical birds. The bus is the one place where you can melt into the normalcy of it all, where the attention that comes with being a mzungu fades into the texture. Children climb their parents chest to watch the Rift Valley whir by, the smell of maize and sweat and soil and bananas waft through, preachers thump their books, salesman sing their songs, and it all unfolds to my own soundtrack. Combine the two, Sunday on the bus, and you once again are joining me in my most meditative place, a place I could never have dreamt would be. From here, I again have extraordinary people and work to introduce.
Meet Garang Akau and Darius Golkar. Garang Akau is one of the original “Lost Boys of Sudan,” who graduated from Stanford with a Masters degree and has been featured in a number of documentaries. Darius Golkar, a graduate of the same Masters program, founded three companies, sold one, and is through and through a real zinger. Together these two have birthed a group called New Scholars.
The New Scholars search for ambitious entrepreneurs between the age of fifteen and thirty, and through meticulous economic coaching they help young people map the track from business idea to business reality. The direct result of new business in a community like ours is both obvious and desperately needed: new jobs, role models, social services, hope and energy. The social results from a boosted economy are less quantitative but equally far reaching in the combat against a whole host of social ills: alcoholism, homelessness, hopelessness, family planning, childcare, education, general health, everything! So what on Earth are these guys doing in Njabini? They have been drawn by the Magnet Effect!
Our Magnet Effect Program, run by Jane Mbugua with event coordinator Kendra Schwindt, is hosting the New Scholars 2010 Entrepreneurial Boot Camp. As you read this, twenty promising Sudanese, twenty promising Kenyans, twelve alone from Njabini, are all sitting in classrooms with a cast of twelve “role models,” who are all successful entrepreneurs from Kenya, Sudan, and the States, leading lessons in chalk, in word, in groups, and one-on-one; some among elephant bones. Together they are furiously cooking the future of individual concepts and in result needed, sustainable change. This is the end of the first week of training and screening, which means the New Scholars board has selected the businesses and individuals worth ‘incubating,’ and the beginning of a whole new kind of coaching is underway. Everyone leaves enlightened, challenged, and if nothing else with a finger pointing which direction to charge. It is truly inspiring and the future of these entrepreneurs are in our brightest hopes. If you want to learn more, explore: www.newscholars.net.
For those curious in how we impact our community beyond the lives of these extraordinary children, this is the Magnet Effect. For our rural community, it means a partner who otherwise may never have considered Kinangop or even Kenya in the first place is attracted to our particular community; it introduces new, sustainable growth strategies to an entire region, which in turn echo to a greater Kenya, and in the case of New Scholars a greater Sudan. For partner organizations, it means a host who opens a portfolio of community organizers and activists to help hone in on the target demographic and amplify the impact. AND lastly, the most poetic part, we are immersing our children among people in pursuit of their dreams; people changing in the world around them. How better to raise future leaders than to surround them with diverse role models? The global, life lessons unfolding all around them are tangibly LIFTING their aspirations and dreams to heights even they have yet to realize.
Thank you New Scholars for allowing our youth to prove their limitless capabilities and for lending our organization the equal chance.
While the Magnet Effect program is hunting and drawing large partnerships like these, it simultaneously advocates for families struggling to survive, like Rahab and Mary (for those of you who have read earlier posts). Led by Jane, our children now spend every Saturday in small groups volunteering for family’s scouted by this arm of our advocacy. The kids help grocery shop and clean for the elderly, cut firewood for the less fortunate, tutor other children, teach illiterate adults to read and write, help widow’s cook, even fill potholes. Their gratitude is ever growing, and their roundedness is boldly apparent.
Now come back to the bus with me. In writing this, the little girl sitting next to me in her blue, bow-tie dress has had to give up her seat and is now sitting in my lap; the computer on her lap. She has set her hands on top of mine and we are typing this together. She is spontaneously pressing down with a finger to mess up my typing, then giggling. Her name is Lillet and she is beautiful in every way: her thin fingers, her little cheeks that round with her smile, her glinting eyes. I want her to receive a quality education like our children, to be healthy and cared for, to be surrounded by passion and energy, to have access to books and the internet, and to grow up with wild joy and an entire community pulling for her to succeed. This is why we are all here. Lillet deserves the world! All the Lillets of the world deserve the world, right?! I undoubtedly believe so, and Flying Kites has created the Magnet Effect for this very purpose. In your holiday giving consider this as an option for impact.
Touch each foot to the ground in gratitude. You are loved!
The Blessings are Pouring Over,
“Love is not found outside of ourselves; love is found through loving.”
~ Lama Surya Das ~