WORDS FROM THE DIRECTOR OF SUSO MWANZA
Director - Karen K. Karaze
Looking back on 2016 and seeing how the world has overcome and still face some of its biggest challenges has been an eye opener and has got me to realize just how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. From the Islamist militants attack in Burkina Faso on the 15th of January to Britain leaving the European Union and the most recent election of Donald Trump has really forced me to pay attention to the world affairs and how it impacts our communities.
I started asking myself questions such as ‘which direction is the world heading?’ and ‘what are we as the youth doing?’
SUSO has taught me the skills needed to keep an open mind to events occurring around me not only those within the country and the continent as a whole but even to those outside the continent. SUSO has lifted my spirits knowing there are people out there that care and are sympathetic enough to dedicate their time and effort into making a change no matter how big or small the impact their change would make.
With all that being said, acknowledging problems within my continent is my first step into making a difference. Addressing problems such as Child labour and all the different terrorist groups such as Al Shabaab and Boko Haram and hopefully eradicating them are amongst the many things that SUSO aims to achieve as part of a bigger plan; ‘making Africa great’.
Living in Mwanza has opened up my mind to the many problems 3rd world countries face, especially problems right at home in Tanzania. This has also raised several concerns about the people’s lack of awareness and knowledge concerning matters within their country. Being raised in such a small yet developing city has broadened my perspective and also uncovered how people are still so fixated on their traditional views which is hindering the development of the city and the country as a whole. Although Tanzania is indeed a rapidly developing country, less than 10% of primary school students that have access to Secondary education.
I have been on a path full of adventures this year; from forming and running Umoja254 – a social platform – that not only connects Kenyans to other Kenyans and the rest of the world, but also connects Africans giving them a chance and a place where they can express their opinions on things happening around the world to starting a community service club within the school and now directing SUSO Mwanza. All this has set a clear path in improving and developing East Africa, starting in our own small communities.
Last year, I got the chance to visit an Albino Community in the Ukerewe Island which is aiming to help the people with albinism build a sustainable life and to give them an opportunity to live comfortably without fear. It was such an transformative experience because I didn't only get to interact with them but I also got to hear first-hand accounts of the murders that occur within the albino community. All these occurrences have inspired me to pay closer attention to my surroundings, the problems faced within my country and to hopefully be part of making a change.
Working alongside SUSO has inspired me in many ways. Being a SUSOnian has taught me how to love, care and support not only myself but other people’s creative ideas in making a change. It has taught me that all dreams are valid and change starts with the younger generation. I’ve not only learnt to be open minded but also to appreciate the learning process and most importantly not to give up.
SUSO Mwanza gives a chance for Mwanza to develop and for people to come together to share their visions into making Africa great. I have no doubt that the Mwanza division will stand for all that SUSO represents and more.
SUSO has challenged me to think creatively and conquer coexisting problems. With SUSO, I’m more than confident that my dream of bringing change for the better will be successful. My ambition of making Africa a better place is one of my biggest endeavors yet and I strongly aim to fulfill it.
‘The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Director - Karen