University: Ashesi University
Major: Management Information Systems
Languages: Swahili, Kikuyu
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Biography: My name is Mary Wamaitha, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at Ashesi University majoring in Management Information Systems. I hail from Kawangware Slums in Nairobi, Kenya, where I was raised by a single mother who makes ends meet by selling vegetables in the local market. I am a first-generation college student, and my educational pursuits have been assisted by initiatives such as the Free Primary Education Program in Kenya and the Equity Bank Foundation Wings to Fly Scholarship Program.
Growing up, I got to experience firsthand the effects of the economic and gender inequalities that exist in education systems, and it became an area I am very passionate about. I am a part of mentorship initiatives such as the Wings to Fly Mentorship Program, and a student-led mentorship program called Mentors Network, Ghana. Both initiatives offer tutoring services to underprivileged students and help them develop their leadership skills. I also teach computer literacy classes to students from the local Berekuso community in Ghana, who have limited access to technology.
In the spirit of feminism, I joined The Malkia Initiative in 2018. The initiative offers mentorship and skill development training for girls from the Maasai Community in Kajiado, Kenya. The girls live in a rescue center after escaping Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages, and Malkia acts as their second family as their quest for education has led to them being considered outcasts by their families. I am also the Communication Director at She’s the First, Ashesi Chapter. She’s the First is an international NGO based in New York that supports more than 7000 girls around the world who are the first in their family to graduate from high school by offering financial and mentoring support. On International Women’s Day 2019, we organized the Ashesi Women’s Leadership Summit which brought together more than 120 female leaders from more than six different Universities and top female names in Ghana to network and celebrate each other and that I got the pleasure to host.
I believe that through education and empowering young people in Africa, we can help rewrite new stories for ourselves and that by equipping ourselves with technical skills and formidable characters we can all live up to our full potential. This is why I hope to serve as a cabinet secretary in Kenya, and ultimately, my life goal is to start a leadership academy back home to nurture great leaders.