Kenya never ceases to amaze me with the immense potential that it possesses, be it in the farms, in schools, in the work place and even in family institutions. There’s always a gift somewhere. Have you seen students perform in music and drama festivals? Have you seen our athletes run? Have you seen the passion our teachers possess? It’s kind of cliché but we even have an American President with Kenyan roots. That diversity and talent is what makes me a proud Kenyan.
As an alumnus of the Alliance Girls High School, I am immensely proud to see the kind of women we become. The values that have been instilled in us never go. We were taught to love God, to work hard, to stay strong, to serve and to be clean. We had a common phrase from one of the Principals Mrs Dorothy Kamwilu; ‘Remember to be a nice girl.’ I remember one of the deputies Mrs Monica Kimei taught us to always give back where we could and where we couldn’t, we always had the chance of asking someone else to come and help.
The story of Patra Wanjiru is just but a representation of the kind of ability that young Kenyans have. At 17 years old, Patra, a student at the Alliance Girls High School is the C.E.O. of the Valuraha Investment Club at the school. This club enables young people to learn about the importance of investing and getting into entrepreneurship at an early age. They give students the opportunities of participating in competitions and reward them hence making children more and more knowledgeable about matters related to finance and the economy.
‘My hobbies are reading novels, anything related to mathematics, listening to music and recently, I discovered that I can write!’ says Patra. ‘I want to study actuarial science at Strathmore University and get my masters abroad,’ she adds.
Valuraha basically asks each school to come up with a business idea and execute it. In 2016, the school decided to break into teams of five each and come up with different business ideas but unfortunately the concept did not work. In 2017, when she took over the club, she opted for one business which is doing well so far. They print T-shirts for various clubs and societies in the school and this is only the beginning as they look forward to doing more. Once they receive the desired designs, they outsource for printing equipment but they hope to buy their own machine very soon. Students are very creative and they receive cool designs as she puts it.
The club was started in the school in 2015 and the patron is Mr Peter Onanga. They also have a board composed of Precious Mutai who is the Chief Financial Officer and Ritah Nanyama who is the Chief Relations Officer. The other members of the club help out with sales and marketing. Initially they did an analysis of various companies in Kenya e.g. KENGEN and Equity Bank. They went through all aspects including finance and human relations.
She had the chance of looking into Equity Bank and it was really interesting to visit some of their branches. However, it was hard because they had to go through so many financial reports and she was still in Form 1. She appreciates the experience and hopes to do more. According to the Valuraha Group, the club makes a net return of 150, 000 every school term and that is very commendable.
Besides Valuraha, she is also a member of many clubs such as St.John Ambulance. She is also part of the Social Welfare Society. ‘It’s a real hustle because I also need to study but I have my priorities straight: books first!’ she laughs.
Patra hopes to leave Valuraha as an established club that will bring income and teach the members entrepreneurial skills. It is no doubt that nothing is impossible if we believe. We need to see more young people coming out with such stories because I believe they are many.
‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’- Eleanor Roosevelt