As I grew up in the Korogocho slums of Nairobi, I remember how envious I was of those who would venture out in the world and would become successful. Some would return to do something big for the community – like building a communal toilet. How I envied them! They were legendary around the neighborhood. Some became accountants, entrepreneurs, others were less reputable con men, bank robbers, or simply beautiful enough to marry rich men. We called them “mtaani.com” (metAni-dot-com).
I wanted to become the better version of a “mtaani.com” through my passion for art. Back then I was a graffiti artist and I was constantly thinking of ways to use my creativity to create informational video stories. Much like the ones the missionaries in the area used to show at open-air screenings in the 90s.
I believed most of the negative things that were happening in my community were the result of lack of knowledge, limited access to information, and poor education. The transformative power of education has an inspirational effect that tends to empower not just the individual, but also all those around him. Individual knowledge is power that gives hope to the entire community to start believing that change is possible.
When I started to work as a volunteer at Koch FM, the first ghetto radio station in Nairobi, I knew this was my big break. I was 17 and started as news collector for the producer of a youth program called “Badilika,” which means “changing”. At Koch FM I learned how to use computers, the Internet, met a lot of people, and most importantly, I started giving back to the community. I felt that to empower my community I had to give them access to information and education. Access to information about their rights and how they could advocate for good governance in spite of their position at the bottom of the social pyramid.
It was around this time that I met Slum Cinema. They needed someone to work in the Korogocho slums. I quickly jumped at the opportunity and my journey to the community film world began. One of the things that interested me the most in this project was bridging the information gap between the community and the sources of information. We would go to the slums with our cameras and give voice to the community. Mainstream media would only focus on the negative stories. We felt that by giving a platform to the community to get positive stories out would inspire more positive initiatives as they felt their efforts were appreciated. We would screen these stories not only to these communities, but to the public at large.
Despite my efforts to master the art of filmmaking through these projects, I believe that getting additional formal training in Film and TV will further unlock my talents. It will also allow me to use them more effectively as a tool to sparkle and create change.
Recently, I was privileged to be awarded a scholarship from Thompson Reuters to study at the prestigious Mohamed Amin Television Training Centre in Nairobi. The scholarship only covers tuition fees of approximately USD $6000. I am, however, responsible for room and board expenses that run about $750 per semester. Without your help, I am afraid I will not be able to take advantage of this opportunity.
As an Iduka intern volunteer I am confident I will be able to put these professional skills to work in monitoring and documenting its program’s impact throughout Africa. It is my plan to also document on this blog my progress at school. So, please stay tuned!
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
How can I donate: there are several ways you can donate to the Neville Albert scholarship fund. Please use the DONATE NOW button to the right of this page to donate via Change.org. You may also use donation portals like betterplace.org and amazee to donate. If you’d prefer to make your donation in the form of a check or money order, please make it payable to “Iduka Corporation” and note that it is for the “Neville Albert Scholarship Fund.” Then mail your donation to:
1391 NW Saint Lucie West Blvd., Suite 191
Port Saint Lucie, FL 34986
Note: Contributions to Iduka Corporation, a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, are deductible for computing income and estate taxes. Donations will be acknowledged via email notification.
YOU CAN ALSO HELP BY:
1. Leaving a comment below recommending Neville for this scholarship;
2. Signing our online petition requesting African leaders to protect and revitalize higher education in Africa;
3. Sharing this page on your social media sites by clicking on the Facebook and Twitter buttons below. Click on “+ Share” to get to the Email button and then send this page to your friends, family members, and colleagues.
Thank you for your support!