KI CLIMB 2019

The 2019 climb celebrated KI's 13th annual climb and continued to underline how young women and men play a vital role in the positive development of our communities. As for each of its annual climbs, KI selected Eight young women and men from Kenya and the USA to take part in a 10-day youth leadership camp at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro and will walk with them to the summit of Africa. The young persons were selected through partner organizations in their respective countries and they all share a common thread: They have had to fight to do good in their communities, either by being positive role models and working with their peers; or by overcoming social challenges that had lead them into various hardships. The climb has 3 main purposes: To organize an incredible experience that will not only inspire the youth taking part in the adventure, but also their friends and fellow organization member back home; to create a platform where youth can exchange ideas on social development and from where thy can reach their aspirations (many past youth climbers have gone on to get scholarships or gained employment) ; and to raise awareness and funds for KI youth-based and youth-owned community projects.

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MEET OUR YOUTH CLIMBERS

Jacktone
Jacktone Odondi

26 years old, Kenya

My name is Jacktone Odondi Omollo; I’ve spent almost my entire life in Kibera slum, Nairobi Kenya where I got bred alongside five sisters and one brother under both parents. Hardship and severe discipline were the school in which infinite wisdom prepared me for the important mission of my life. I completed my primary school and high school in 2006 and 2010 respectively. I joined Egerton University to pursue a course in Natural Resources. In 2011 I re-sat for The KCSE and this time managed to score a mean grade of A- of 76 points where I got an opportunity to join University of Eldoret, the then Chepkoilel University College, a constituent college of Moi University, to pursue Civil and Structural Engineering course. I was admitted in 2012 as a first year student where I studied smoothly but couldn’t continue with my higher education studies in the second year due to hefty financial burden, I deferred my studies in 2013 due to family financial constraints with my father the sole bread winner. I’ve been out from school to date but I’m willing and ready to go back. I truly believe that success is psychological and in me lives the immortal hope.
Laikyn Fishburne
Laikyn Fishburne

24 years old,USA

My name is Laikyn Fishburne from Brooklyn USA, I am 24 years old; I come from a family of four siblings. My community was hit extremely hard by Hurricane Sandy, when it hit it knocked out many of our street lights. Hurricane Sandy occurred in 2012. It is now 2019 and we still have these mobile street lights that barely light up the street. It is not safe at all. Another problem that my community has faced include but not limited to led paint, broken incinerators, mobile generators (that still power apartments that lost power during Hurricane Sandy and police brutality. I want to change these things because it is inhumane. To me leadership involves someone who has good communication skills, organization skills and relationship building skills. I believe to be considered a positive leader you must have a number of characteristics but not limited to honesty, positivity, strong communication skills, passion for whatever it is that you’re doing, collaboration, building trust as well as being consistent and innovative. I honestly believe that I need to develop my communication skills more, because I can be very timid around new people. Whenever I am put into a new environment with new people I tend to communicate as little as possible even when I have great things that could potentially help the group. So as of right now I would not be considered a good leader because I isolate myself quickly. Another trait that I need to develop would be innovation, I wouldn't say I am awful at it but since I don't get into much situations where I have to use that tool I am not sure of my full potential. So I would love to develop that more to see my abilities. My definition of innovation is basically making a change to something that already exists but the change you create helps it become more productive/ efficient.
Maureen
Maureen Wangari

18years old, Kenya

My name is Maureen Wangari Ndung’u; I am have just completed my O level in November 2018. I am the first born in a family of two, living with my single mother who works hard to provide for us. It is my ambition to join college and do a course in social work and community development. I am a member of Umeme sports club Ziwani, Nairobi Kenya. I like dancing, singing and listening to music. I like giving hope to people especially my age mates who are depressed. Despite my age I believe I can change young people’s perspective on how they see life and live a positive life. I can help change the mind of my fellow youth by letting them know they are worthy living and they are a great generation that can make a great future: Help young people speak out and not to underestimate their potential, worth and use the power of their voices to better their lives. I like to inspire others, network and learn from young people from different areas; speak about issues that matter to them. If given a chance to go for the youth leadership training I will appreciate and promise to make the best out of it. The knowledge I will gain will help me engage my group members and other young people in my neighborhood.
Khadija Uhber
Ubher Khadija

21 years old, Kenya

Khadija who prefers to be called Uhber lives with her mother in Huruma slums in Nairobi. She has a brother and sister, her father died while she was young and life has been difficult for the family since then. Her mother who is unemployed started drinking a lot and coming home very late after her father died as a way of coping with hardship. Uhber’s older sister was thus forced to take up the role of parenting uhber and her little brother. Life has been very hard for the family and at times they go to bed on empty stomachs. On occasions, they have been kicked out of their rented home and ended up moving in with their uncle who is also struggling. Uhber’s schooling was affected a lot due to lack of school fees and appropriate school uniforms on numerous occasions. While at home she decided to join Kenya Homeless Street Soccer Association (KHSSA) program with the aim to improve her football talents. She loves it and has devoted herself to working hard at it, since she wants to be a professional footballer in order to help her family. She met Dr.Auma the Director and founder of Sauti Kuu Foundation (SKF) through Chokoza project in 2009. It is through the Chokoza project that Uhber joined Sauti Kuu as a beneficiary of the Education Program. SKF enrolled her at Huruma (Sunflower Academy) it is here that she sat for her K.C.P.E and scored 241 marks out of 500. She later joined secondary school where she sat for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2018. Waiting to join college if funds permit. .
Stephen Juma Ojiambo
Stephen Juma Ojiambo

30 years old,Kenya

I was born in Kibera slums, Nairobi Kenya. I come from a humble background and a 3rd born in a family of four. Due to the nature of my family I studied both my primary and secondary education in the local schools at the slum but did fairly well in my final year exams in 2007. After secondary school I engaged myself in some criminal activities and this was due to peer pressure and the difficult life in the slums and that led even to some of my friends being jailed and others being killed. We later decided to start a group to help young people in crime transform. We named the group Kibera Reformation and Transformation Centre (K.T.R.C) this group made me link with well wishers who sponsored in paying my college tuition fee where I graduated with a Diploma in travel and tourism management in 2015 Since then I have been engaging myself in community activities with our group K.T.R.C in mentorship programmes and other activities which may help other upcoming youth to shun crime. I appreciate this opportunity in joining your team during this year’s climb because it’s a life time opportunity as I will get a chance to learn more and also network and socialize with new people. I think my future is bright as long as I keep the faith strong and remember what is truly important in life. I do not give up easily and I find the positive works around the obstacle to achieve my dreams. .
Vennessa Wairimu
Vennessa Wairimu

21 years old, Kenya

My name is Vanessa Wairimu, I come from Kibera and a 1st born in a family of 5 children, I Completed my form four in the year 2016. Being born and raised in the slums, life is not that easy to a teenager like me with all that slums life challenges day in day out but am still proud of myself that I have been able to overcome a lot of which I have seen my friends and age mates get into temptations and end up regretting. I have seen my parents struggle to raise me and my siblings with the little they earn and through this I have learned a lot and I am not ready to a shame them with bad behaviors in our community. I have also seen my age mates, neighbors and friends engaging themselves in sexual behaviors with people who are older than them just to meet their needs of which just in a blink of an eye they find themselves pregnant and infected with STI’s. They then end up desperate and loosing themselves to depression. I am also a member of a Psychosocial Support group where we encourage other youth overcome depression, life challenges and trauma, they also change their behavior after having sessions with us. I appreciate so much for being given this opportunity of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro; it will be the best experience ever. I believe whatever I will learn will change me and also my entire community since I will come back and share whatever I will learn. I will also come back and change the perception of teenage girls who fall victims to negative peer pressure and other ills within the community.
Natalia Rios
Natalia Rios

22 years old, USA

My name is Natalia Rios form Maspeth,USA. I was born in 1997 being the last born. I am lucky enough to have problems that are considered first world problems none which deal with my health or living circumstances but with my growth as a person, societal pressures and norms. There is inflation in educational system which requires more years in school, leaving students with massive debts just to guarantee a career which would have been easier to obtain in previous years with fewer years in school. The pressure from immigrant parents to get a degree that will assure a decent living, stops one from taking risks or perusing uncommon career paths that may fulfill ones dreams. Coming from a working-class family, I don’t have the luxury to explore subjects which may call my attention because classes cost money. I see the Kilimanjaro Initiative as a stepping stone for my personal development where I will test not only my physical strength but mental stamina. As a humanitarian I have always felt it is important to step outside your comfort zone, where you can be exposed to distinct circumstances. I believe that through firsthand experiences people, places and issues become personal providing a greater incentive to learn and serve. I consider myself a leader who embodies strength, compassion and drive; still there are aspects of my life I can work on to reach my absolute potential. I find myself drawn to all types of matters however I don’t feel I am passionate towards a central one. Therefore, my drive can sometimes lack force, not as I aspire to be. The Kilimanjaro Initiative will bring my life a new sense of purpose, where I can tap into new interests, meet new people and get to appreciate a new side of the world and its natural beauties. As a leader I learn from those around me, the places I visit and the experiences I encounter to try shape myself into the best version.
Lawrence Fishburne
Lawrence Fishburne

27 years old, USA

My name is Lawrence Fishburne from Brooklyn USA,; I come from a family of four siblings being the first born. I will be joining the Kilimanjaro Initiative for the learning experience. I also see it as a challenge physically and spiritually. It would be a huge accomplishment in my life if I'm able to complete this challenge. I feel that it would enable me to learn more about myself as a person. I want to put to test not only my physical ability but also to develop other traits such as leadership and teamwork. Being able to not only empower me but also be able to empower the people that are around me. These are things I feel I can benefit from in the long run. It also opens up the opportunity for me to connect with other people from different walks of life. You can learn a lot more about yourself through your interactions with other people. I have been struggling to decide what I would like to do as my career. I think the biggest conflict is between doing what I'm good at and doing something I would love to do. It causes a lot of stress and anxiety because I feel as if time is just flying by and I have limited time to make these decisions before it's too late. There are a lot of problems and issues in my community that I wish I could change. One of those issues has to do with money. I wish I was able to teach the people of my community about money. Teach them how to invest, budget and save their money. A lot of people in my community struggle financially and make a lot of poor financial decisions. The fact that the people of my community struggle financially it can sometimes lead to other issues such as stress, depression and, dependence on drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. These are also issues I would like to change if given the power to do so. Create awareness of these issues in the community and figure out a way that we can help the people who suffer from these issues. I would also like to improve the living conditions. I think a big part of improving the community is making it an enjoyable place to live. I would like to focus on helping the children in the community academically. Education is very important. I want to help prepare the children for the future

Previous climbs
2016 KI climb
2015 KI climb