For us in the West, it's hard to imagine life without education. But what if you couldn't read the words on a basic contract, write your name on a job application, or count the money you earn at work? Imagine no one in your community knew how to prevent your crops from failing, basic accounting to run a family business, or how to treat a common illness.
Mbugua Mwangi was a University of Ottawa graduate from Kenya. Two weeks removed from what would have been their wedding day, he and his fiancee became victims of the Westgate mall terrorist attack and lost their lives while shopping for a wedding ring. He decided to shield her with his own body and took a total of eight bullets and they both died instantly.
Over the past several years, hundreds of Kenyan girls have gone to the police in the town of Meru to report that they had been raped. The officers responded with disbelief and refused to take action. In May 2013, the girls won a striking victory. In a landmark decision, the court ordered the police to enforce the rape laws and take action against the perpetrators.
Since 2006, when the residing Kenyan government signed an economic cooperative agreement with China and partnering Asia-Pacific countries, there has been a concurrent influx of 'yellow faces'. The relatively new entrants are professionals and labourers contracted to bolster the two nations' budding alignment on various aspects of development. Most visible is the construction of infrastructure, such as buildings, energy sources and roads
Before we left Kampala, Uganda's capital, it was a daily occurrence for me as a young child to see dead bodies in the street and to fall asleep to the sounds of machine guns and screams. And when my father failed to come home, I always thought that his voice was one of those screams I heard in the night.
As the harsh reality of the post-holiday season sets in, we're still daydreaming about our Christmas in Kenya. We rang in the New Year with 170 of our closest friends and family -- our Free The Children staff. We all left our hearts in the Mara, so we thought we'd give you a little taste of our volunteer adventure right here.
My business partner and I created the concept of Fund a film; Aid an Island. We decided to make our first feature film, Nightrunners, by combining the popularity of horror/thriller genre films with a beautiful location and a team of Kenyan locals who are thrilled at the prospect of telling a story featuring their own culture while being paid to tell it.
It is a test of manhood from another time and place, with a modern twist: For 15-year-old Jackson Ntirkana to earn a chance to go to high school, he had to become a warrior first -- by killing a lion. Although born into a traditional nomadic Maasai family that tended livestock on the savannah, Ntirkana dreamed of going to school and becoming a politician, building bridges between his people and the rest of Kenya. Now Ntirkana and his friend are touring Canada promoting their joint autobiography, The Last Maasai Warriors.
Robin Wiszowaty left the gleaming strip malls, street grids and coiffed lawns of suburban Illinois for the wilds of rural Kenya in 2002. And she's never looked back. What was meant to be a brief exchange from the University of Illinois to the small Nkoyet-naiborr community in Kenya's Maasai Mara has morphed into her life's adventure. Here, Robin Wiszowaty tells us how she fell in sync with the heartbeat of Africa, and how she found her home.
The 13 members of the Slum Drummers -- nine men and four women -- pulled themselves from lives on the streets of Kenya's most desperate slums to perform with instruments made from trash on stages around the world -- including for the Queen. Now they're using their music as an instrument of hope, reaching out to street kids in the communities they came from.
When he's not touring the world or recording albums that continue to influence generations of younger musicians, Rush singer and bassist Geddy Lee supports a grape cause. A wine-loving philanthropist, Lee, 59, sits on the board of directors of the Grapes For Humanity Global Foundation, a charity organization founded in Canada, and expanded in 2007 with a U.S. arm that has collectively raised over $4 million through numerous wine-related fundraisers.
Fatumo's childhood was contained in the world's largest refugee camp; a place we worry carries a stigma for harbouring victims who await handouts. She fought against a bleak fate that seems sealed by outside media: images of desperate people who refuse to help themselves. Instead she chased a dream to study abroad.