MEET SOIYA GECAGAÂ
Soiya Gecaga is not someone you will easily forget. Â In fact, you will seldom meet someone who lives their truth in such a quiet, graceful way and you will find yourself inspired to be a better person just from having read her story. Â GoodMakers filmed a short documentary this past summer on Soiya and her visionary preschool, We The Change Foundation.
Soiya was born in Nairobi and at the age of eleven moved to the west where she lived for the next 26 years, building a successful career as a lawyer and working for one of europe’s top law firms in London. During the 2007 post election riots in Nairobi, Soiya was watching the violence unfold on television and found herself saying, ‘Someone should do something.’ Â After repeating this over and over to herself she finally had the thought, ‘Â IÂ should do something.’
Soiya rushed home and was devastated to see people from different tribes who had formerly lived peacefully next to one another, now at war. Â Unable to reconcile this devastation with her happy childhood memories of Kenya, she felt a deep sorrow and knew she was at a crossroads in her life. Â Soiya went back to London and tried to return to business as usual, but found herself increasingly distracted by what she had seen. Â In particular, she was haunted by the children, many of whom had been orphaned by the violence or abandoned and left to fend for themselves.
After consulting with her boss Soiya made the only decision she knew was right- She quit her job and returned to Nairobi.
Soiya began by getting reacquainted with her fellow Kenyans and volunteered in children’s homes, visiting IDP camps and assisting with peace and reconciliation talks. Â Soiya eventually found her true calling when she was introduced to Edra Mbatha who had started a preschool in the Mathare slum. Â The mother of four children, Edra has lived in Mathare for 19 years andÂ is highly respected within the community for her service and leadership. Â Â Edra had started a small preschool because like Soiya, Edra had seen many young children wandering in the streets and was concerned for their safety.
Soiya and Edra spent a long time talking about how they might approach early childhood development and realized that they had very similar philosophies and dreams for the children to escape poverty with education as a bridge. Â Soiya remarks, ‘WeÂ spent 18 months researching international best practice standards in the field of early childhood education and care before designing our program of intervention.’Â Â Edra says, ‘We want to provide these children with the very best and see how far they can go.’
WTC FoundationÂ rivals the best preschools in the west, and includes providing the children with a hot lunch program, art and music lessons and the children are thriving! Â As part of their commitment to providing excellence regardless of where a child isi born, WTC has plans to move the school out of the slum where the children currently hop over an open sewage running directly in front of the school, in order to enter the classroom. Â Soiya is humbled by how the children exemplify joy in spite of having so little.
We congratulate Soiya Gecaga and Edra Mbatha for their courage, leadership and commitment to ensuring new futures for the next generation of Kenyans!
Visit We The Change Foundation: Â “We The Change” Foundation – Home Page
Powering Human Potentialwww.goodmakersfilms.org