If you are lucky enough to have shoes on your feet in the slums of Nairobi, they are most likely ridden with holes. They are hardly adequate to navigate the winding dirt roads rife with open sewer lines and lined by miles of rusting shacks made from sharp corrugated sheet metal. Yet, compared to the lack of opportunity that chains people to a cycle of generational poverty, this picture represents only a mild danger.

 What would you do to rise out of these conditions for the chance of better life?

 Meet Rosslyne, one of many students in Kenya who have had to make such a choice. She is a 12th grader at the New Dawn Educational Centre, a school that provides the opportunity of secondary education to the under-privileged and orphaned in the slum communities surrounding Nairobi. Rosslyne recently submitted an entry into a nationwide essay writing competition. The reward was a scholarship to attend a four-day conference for young leaders hosted by one of the most prestigious schools in Kenya. Rosslyne’s essay was exceptional, and she was awarded the chance to participate in the conference. She was truly overwhelmed by her win and came back from the conference full of new ideas and eager to share with her community:

 “Attending the conference motivated me to realize that I can do things I otherwise thought impossible. It also developed in me a keen sense of community responsibility and engaging in various ways to make a difference. I felt empowered. I need to be idealistic and have a passion for what I hope to achieve in life,” said Rosslyne after returning to New Dawn.

 Investing in Africa’s youth makes it possible for students like Rosslyne to not only have access to education, but to excel and reinvest in hard places such as Kenyan slums.