23 Nov Life gave her lemons she made lemonade

Christine was flourishing in the Tourism & Hospitality Management program at college. She was doing well in her classes, her French was improving, and she was growing as a leader in her cohort. She had a dream to become a Tourism Manager and eventually, own her own Safari camp in the Maasai Mara.

All of it came to a screeching halt on March 15 when the Kenyan government shut everything down and sent students home from school.

Christine was devastated, but she went home and got to work. It was the very leadership skills she learned through the Unstoppable Leadership Academy (ULA) that helped her devise a plan to help her community.

She began going door to door and having conversations with her neighbors about COVID-19 and how to take precautions to prevent contracting the disease. She knew if she could help these families understand the importance, then they could flatten the curve and she could get back to school!

The leadership skills she developed in her ULA studies and training paid off. Active listening, exuding compassion and empathy all led her neighbors to trust her. They began following protocols.

But one thing Christine discovered was that most of her neighbors couldn’t afford to purchase masks. So, Christine got right to work! She talked with the local tailor and together, they devised a plan to create cheaper, reusable facemasks for her community.

Until school resumes, Christine spends most of her time making and distributing facemasks for her community. And her work has paid off! Kenya has seen the COVID-19 caseload drop so much that some schools have resumed classes.

Christine misses her studies and her friends, but until she is able to return to college, she is fulfilled and happy that she has an opportunity to make a difference in her own community.

We’re thankful for Miss Smarthead’s Kathrin Weishäupl who provided the opportunity for Christine and others like her to receive an education and learn the leadership skills that have been so valuable during these trying times.