Youth-driven “We Are One (WAO)” club inspires leadership and giving back

Youth-driven “We Are One (WAO)” club inspires leadership and giving back

Written by Mercy Achieng’, 4th year University Commerce student

As the eldest beneficiaries of HHFL, Mike, Ngina and I decided to form a contribution club called “We Are One” (WAO). This undertaking sprung from a need and desire to become contributors to our own cause and inspire giving back.

WAO charges a small one-time membership fee and expects a monthly 5% donation from the salaries of HHFL youth who are currently employed, either full-time or part-time. The donations go into a special education fund, managed by Mike, that will eventually turn into a yearly academic scholarship for one of our own younger brothers or sisters!

Over the past months, we have been expanding the WAO vision to include all HHFL members by inspiring an project-wide attitude of giving back; not only in monetary form but by sacrificing their time, energy and skills for the benefit of the younger kids.

We have created sub-committees, each with leaders, that have taken up the task of ensuring that the project stays clean and the young children are properly supervised, including homework.

The WAO initiative turned another exciting corner when Mike, Ngina and I were sworn in as HHFL board members in March! This to us was more than just a ceremony, it was surreal! Being part of a ‘serious’ board is something all of us did not expect to happen any time soon. I use the term serious because all the boards that we’ve been involved in are, for example, being an organizing secretary of a wildlife club in school or being just a member of a drama club.

This type of Board is real, and involves making decisions that are actually going to impact other people’s lives! Thus being chosen to represent our brothers and sisters in this Board is an honour, one that comes with responsibility and commitment. Being part of the Board means that we have to step up our game; be available and learn to make wise decisions and be strong role models for others who will take over after us. It also means that the young kids at HHFL are looking at us for direction and inspiration; hence as leaders we ought to know the way, show the way and go the way!

To WAO, this occasion represents a true transition to self-reliance and taking responsibility in all things we do. Being the first ever beneficiaries to be on the HHFL Board provides a great opportunity to create a path for others to join in and steer HHFL in the right direction, and what better way to do that than to let the beneficiaries steer the wheel!

We don’t know much about how a serious board operates but we sure do have the open heart to learn all ways around it from the existing board members. We have HHFL’s best interests at heart and we embrace this opportunity with pleasure!

This new chapter of leadership and giving back provides us with an opportunity to put into practice what we learn in class, and in that regard, we thank our benefactors; the Canadian HHF board, Mama Hanne and Baba Ted for this great gift.

You can encourage more of our children to come full-circle like Mercy, Ngina and Mike, by making a donation here.

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