|Musician Susan Owiyo, Nameless, Emmie Erondanga and TV personality Janet Mbugua in Korogocho slums. [Photo: Joseph Kiptarus/Standard]|
She is in her element. Posing for the camera in different trendy outfits at The Standard Studios. Emmie Erondanga looks like the consummate urbanite; polished, elegant and ready for a party in a moment’s notice.
In reality, Emmie is quite the opposite. She spends her days in Korogocho slums where she has dedicated her life to support vulnerable youth, mostly girls.
As the director of Miss Koch Kenya, an organisation that has been transforming the Korogocho Slum since 2001, Emmie has her plate so full that she seems to have neglected her personal life.
“I need to be ‘called’ an uncle,” chides Emmie’s younger brother Joshua Musindi with whom she lives with. “I need a nephew or a niece.”
Emmie laughs out loud and says: “Men are not ‘searching’ me or do you think they are afraid that I work so hard?”
But Musindi says this in a light touch. His youthful face gains a serious stance as he says: “I support Emmie in what she does. She is an inspiration.”
Indeed a few days earlier, several secondary school students in the middle of the slum praised Emmie’s efforts. Most of them are in school courtesy of Miss Koch’s Education Programme. The principal of Our Lady of Fatima Secondary, tells shocking tales of broken dreams and ills that dog the students.
“Not long ago, some of my students were lynched by a mob for stealing,” says Janet Mabango, adding that girls drop out of school due to pregnancy, while others are married off.
Emmie believes that only education can elevate the people of Korogocho, which they fondly call Koch. However, school fees is hard to come by with Mabango saying most students are in school with mounting fee arrears because they cannot afford a fee of Sh14,000 annually.
“We send them away for the fee arrears once in a while, but we often end up calling them back because keeping them at home is dangerous.”
And Emmie is determined that the ten students they support at Our Lady of Fatima Secondary are not sent away for school fees. On this day, she is accompanied by Suzanna Owiyo, Nameless and news anchor Janet Mbugua. Emmie believes Kenya cannot always rely on foreigners and international donors to solve her problems. This is why Miss Koch has enlisted the help of Kenyan personalities to spearhead the intiative.
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