First Lady calls for more transformative youth, child initiatives

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First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Tuesday challenged Kenyans including government agencies and non-state actors to spearhead the implementation of initiatives aimed at improving the wellbeing of the youth and children.

She said social development interventions, which help in nurturing, and developing children’s talents should be amplified to reach out to many children and youth across the country.

The First Lady spoke when she visited Ghetto Classics at St. John’s Catholic Church in Korogocho, Nairobi County.

Ghetto Classics is a community-based initiative of the Art of Music Foundation that was first initiated in Korogocho in the year 2009 but has expanded over the years to several counties benefiting over 1,500 children and youth.

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The initiative provides over 300 children in Korogocho with music and art education as well as life skills as tools to transform the beneficiaries and their community.

“This bold program is one that should be amplified. What remains is for us all to support and remain committed to such programmes so that they can reach many more children across the country,”  the First Lady said.

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She noted with satisfaction that Ghetto Classics has succeeded in empowering the youth and children by nurturing their music and art talents thereby enabling them to cope with life.

“The activities taking place in this centre provide every child with a chance to experience the power and promise of education, and the opportunity to make the most of their talents and reach for the stars,” the First Lady said.

“Music education helps develop passion and creativity in our children and is directly linked to improving the academic performance of our children,” she added.

The First Lady who was accompanied by Sports CS Amb Amina Mohamed lauded the Ghetto Classics children and youth programme saying it goes beyond developing artistic talents to include building self-confidence, discipline and nurturing a spirit of teamwork.

“This program is also about empowering you young adults to become mentors and role models – many of you have become agents of change in your families and the community,” the First Lady told the hundreds of beneficiaries.

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She urged founders of the program and their stakeholders to enroll more children and youth saying it will help dissuade adolescent boys and girls from social ills and continue keeping them on the right track of life as they grow.

“I am aware that there are many distractions that our young adolescent boys are confronted with, including the urge to drop out of school and make money. And many of our young girls continue to face considerable pressure to marry early and become mothers causing our girls to be left behind,” the First Lady advised.

She thanked Kariobangi Catholic Parish and the Korogocho Community for hosting the programme noting that it has become an integral part of the community.

Amb Mohammed commended the children and the youth of Korogocho for opting to change their lives by being part of the Ghetto Classics initiative.

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She thanked the parents of the beneficiaries and all stakeholders for coming together to initiate such a great intervention saying the initiative has given the young people in the area the opportunity to transform their lives.

“Your beginning can never define your future. We are defining our future despite the beginning that we have. We all get opportunity to define our own future,” the Sports Cabinet Secretary said.

Elizabeth Njoroge who is the founder of the initiative said Ghetto Classics was inspired by the need to open up opportunities for children and the youth from underprivileged families to develop their music and artistic talents.

She acknowledged the challenge by the First Lady to expand the initiative further and asked for more financial support from partners and well wishers to take care of the growing number of children and youth interested in joining the initiative.

Other speakers at the function included chairman of the Safaricom Foundation Joseph Ogutu and the Kariobangi Catholic Parish Priest Father Andrew Wanjohi.

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