Monday, August 20, 2007

Letter Sent to Oprah BY Jennifer Vollmann

Ikonya, Philo Njeri
Publicity Information

She is an extraordinary women leader who is working to be a transformative voice in Kenya. Her name is Philo Njeri Ikonya. She is a successful writer, community mobilizer—organizing women, the youth and the poor in her community of Kimbaa just outside of Nairobi. She strongly believes in the potential and possibilities of organized communities to improve and change lives. Philo gives motivational talks to the community secondary schools describing how through education, she grew from poverty to be a successful writer and community leader. She works closely with the youth to help them build entrepreneurship programs. Philo has raised textbooks for a school whose books were stolen at the start of school year and she has helped to send countless children back to school after they were expelled for unpaid school fees. The most impressive aspect of Philo’s work is she is able to mobilize her community through her networking, personality, and compassion, not through her bank account. In Kenya, the money, land, and political power belong to a select group of wealthy men. The common mentality is that nothing can be down without these strong, wealthy, men. Philo is changing this dialogue. She uses her compassion, her intelligence, and understanding of community needs to help change peoples lives.
Philo is a strong, courageous, and passionate woman and since 2002, she has dedicated her life to transforming Kenya government by implementing the many programs she as begun in her community to benefit Kenya as nation. Philo ran for parliament as a representative of her Kimbaa community in 2002, and is currently running in the December 2007 elections. The current incumbent is a very wealthy and powerful man, who won the 2002 election through bribery and corruption. She has a tough struggle a head of her, but she is truly changing peoples’ view of politics, power, and community. In her they see the voice of the people, they see the possibility of democracy, where the elected are the servants of the people. They are seeing that power can come from compassion, and not corruption. In her work, Philo is faced with financial hardships, possible violence for being a woman candidate, and ridicule and criticism those in her community who laugh at the idea that the government can ever change.
Philo is a true leader, she has inspired me to start my life’s dream and she is sacrificing financial stability, her safety, and her reputation, to inspire her community and her country. If the Kenyan government and African governments are going to change into effective, transparent, and compassionate governments, they must be lead by people like Philo, who give their life to the nation because of their love for their people.

No comments:

Post a Comment