I met Kakenya two years ago, at the National Geographic Explorers Conference, and she is truly amazing. She not only is the most gracious woman I have ever met, but she has done inspiring things for the girls in Kenya, including founding an all girls boarding school serving the most vulnerable or underprivileged.
Kakenya was engaged at age 5 and expected to marry at about 12 years old after she underwent the process of genital mutilation. All she wanted to do was go to school. She promised her father that she would undergo the procedure as long as she could return to school. She became the first girl in her village to go to college and has returned to her home to help make the dreams of other young girls come true.
I was recently in Tanzania working in a center for children much like Kakenya’s. The difference schools like this makes in a child’s life is more than we will ever truly comprehend. I have never experienced children that want to learn as much as the kids in Africa.
Recently, Kakenya, was named a CNN Hero of the Year Top 10 Finalist. The choice is made by you! You should vote for her using their web portal! Online voting ends November 17 and the winner is named December 1 in New York. The award could total $300,000, and Kakenya has said she would invest it in scaling empowerment and education opportunities for girls across Kenya. People can vote once a day, each day, until the 17th of November.
Please get the word out about voting for Kakenya for 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. She really, truly deserves it!