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Kenyan youth in UK supporting education for needy students

Wednesday April 16 2014

Laviniah Karanja, (2nd L) together with Ms Baines Wambui, a sponsor from Project1917, a UK based organisation, and the Principal of Nyeri High School Mr S K Nderitu. Ms Karanja had visited Jeffrey Kahoro (2nd R), a Form One student whom she sponsors through her charity of choice as a contestant in the 2014 Face of Kenya UK contest. PHOTO/STELLAR MURUMBA.

Laviniah Karanja, (2nd L) together with Ms Baines Wambui, a sponsor from Project1917, a UK based organisation, and the Principal of Nyeri High School Mr S K Nderitu. Ms Karanja had visited Jeffrey Kahoro (2nd R), a Form One student whom she sponsors through her charity of choice as a contestant in the 2014 Face of Kenya UK contest. PHOTO/STELLAR MURUMBA. NATION

STELLAR MURUMBA
By STELLAR MURUMBA
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EVALYNE GITHINJI
By EVALYNE GITHINJI
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Kenyan youth living in diaspora have been urged to engage in thoughtful projects and invest back home in a bid to further strengthen the country’s cultural and economic integration.

Laviniah Karanja, a 28 year-old Kenyan living in the United Kingdom (UK) threw the challenge over the weekend when she visited the needy students that her charity sponsors in Nyeri.

Ms Karanja who has a Media Studies Degree from De Montfort University (DMU) in UK is representing the Kenyan diaspora in a UK contest and social platform: “Face of Kenya UK 2014 contest”.

In the contest, the 28 year-old is backing-up Project1917 as her charity of choice by supporting orphaned children pursue their secondary education.

Despite having left her motherland almost two decades ago, the passion that drives her to make a difference for the less privileged Kenyan youths still burns within her.

Laviniah Karanja (2nd L)  and Ms Baines Wambui, a director at Project1917 at Ruthagati Secondary School in Karatina, Nyeri County when they paid a courtesy call on Charles Mwangi, a Form One student whose education is sponsored by Project1917. On the right is the school's principal Mr Maina Wachira. PHOTO/STELLAR MURUMBA.

Laviniah Karanja (2nd L) and Ms Baines Wambui, a director at Project1917 at Ruthagati Secondary School in Karatina, Nyeri County when they paid a courtesy call on Charles Mwangi, a Form One student whose education is sponsored by Project1917. On the right is the school's principal Mr Maina Wachira. PHOTO/STELLAR MURUMBA.

She is surely a girl of two worlds having been born and partly raised in Kenya and growing up in the UK.

“In order to strengthen the country’s cultural and economic integration, we need to bring our resources back home.

“My family moved to the UK when I was only 12 and for 16 years now I have never felt less Kenyan.

I hope to encourage other Kenyan youth in diaspora to invest in Kenya.

I choose to support the orphaned and help make their dreams come true because no matter the situation one is in, their dreams are valid,” asserts Ms Karanja.

By participating in the pageant where young Kenyan in the UK are given a platform to showcase their projects and initiatives to support and fundraise for philanthropic initiatives, Ms Karanja says, her dreams are coming true.

Laviniah Karanja at Ruthagati Secondary School in Karatina, Nyeri County together with Charles Mwangi, a beneficiary of  Project1917. PHOTO/STELLAR MURUMBA

Laviniah Karanja at Ruthagati Secondary School in Karatina, Nyeri County together with Charles Mwangi, a beneficiary of Project1917. PHOTO/STELLAR MURUMBA

FACE OF KENYA

“The Face of Kenya UK 2014 is an annual competition where the winning model is supported to become a Kenyan ambassador to fully represent Kenya in the UK.

Whether I win or not, I will still foster ahead. I will strive to get UK youths to support my Kenyan counterparts in need,” she says.

Through Project1917, a charitable organization that seek to support Kenyan orphans pursue secondary school education using donor funding, Ms Karanja notes, she is ready to conquer it all.

Started in 2009, the UK based organisation has seen 114 students from various parts of Kenya through their secondary school education.

“My objective is to highlight the predicament of the Kenyan orphans by ensuring their education needs are met, a fundamental requirement of boosting their future potential,” she says.

She believes she is the most suitable among the 20 contestants this year owing to her passion for her homeland Kenya and the desire of ensuring the youths are capable of reaching their greatest aspirations.

COURTESY CALL

Laviniah Karanja (L) together with Ms Baines Wambui (3rd L), a director at Project1917 at Ruthagati Secondary School in Karatina, Nyeri County. Next to her is Charles Mwangi, a beneficiary of  the Project. On the right is the school's principal Mr Maina Wachira. PHOTO/STELLAR MURUMBA.

Laviniah Karanja (L) together with Ms Baines Wambui (3rd L), a director at Project1917 at Ruthagati Secondary School in Karatina, Nyeri County. Next to her is Charles Mwangi, a beneficiary of the Project. On the right is the school's principal Mr Maina Wachira. PHOTO/STELLAR MURUMBA.

The big-hearted 28 year old paid a courtesy call to Charles Mwangi and Jeffrey Kahoro, two of the students in Nyeri County currently being sponsored by Project1917.

In an emotional embrace, the form one students expressed their gratitude to Ms Karanja for supporting their aspirations.

“I was orphaned at the tender age of five and were it not for Project1917 I am not I would have managed to pursue my academic dreams,” says Kahoro, 16.

Mwangi and Kahoro’s plights were highlighted by the Nation.co.ke early 2014 and the UK based organisation stepped up to sponsor them through high school.

Mwangi secured admission to Ruthagati Secondary School in Karatina having scored 303 marks out of 500 while Kahoro was admitted to Nyeri High School after attaining 343 marks.

FASHION

Ms Karanja is also a fashion blogger who utilises her varying tastes to set unique African trends in the UK fashion industry.

Creating a positive impact globally is her driving force, she states.

“Africa is full of creative diverse designs which I advocate for in the fashion industry by enlightening other people from different nationalities to embrace them,” she remarks.

She believes communication is an important aspect of bringing out the best from the society through positive depiction people’s values and beliefs.

The Face of Kenya UK 2014 competition was launched on April 11 and the grand finale will be held on June 21, 2014 where the winner will be crowned.

“I am requesting those who believe in the future of this nation by sponsoring the needy bright orphans to vote for me on The Face of Kenya UK website for a positive change,” she says.