Empowering Kenyan youth
332. Valerie Wilson
Valerie Wilson, 56, visited Kenya on a school exchange in 1999 and was inspired to empower the youth there, and particularly the girls, by focusing on education, the environment and gender equality. In 2008, Valerie left her job in teaching to set up ‘Team Kenya’. Through her work she has helped 125 vulnerable girls complete primary school, 240 complete secondary school and 13 complete college and university.
As well as sponsoring students through school, Valerie’s charity provides everything from their food to their school uniform and pens. The charity also provides start up funds for the young people to set up enterprise projects – bringing much needed wealth to the region. Projects range from poultry keeping to a managing a tree nurseries, jewellery making and small scale farming.
Valerie is also committed to spreading the word about the region and the work of the charity, regularly speaking to schools about the work she does and encouraging exchange letters between British and Kenyan pupils.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Valerie has dedicated her time to changing the lives of the local community in Ndhiwa. Through Team Kenya, she has given hundreds of girls an education and provided young people with loans to set up their own enterprises – from poultry keeping to jewellery making. Valerie has changed the lives of many people in the community and I am delighted to be able to recognise her service by making her the UK’s 332nd Points of Light.”
“I’m very happy to receive the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award. I’m proud to have worked with Team Kenya’s dedicated and passionate group of volunteers, which includes several of my friends and family members, to have transformed the lives of girls and young women in rural Kenya. We’re always looking for new, enthusiastic volunteers, so do get in touch with us if you’d like to join our team!”