We stand with the young people of Kenya

In recent weeks, peaceful protests and demonstrations lead by the youth of Kenya have been met with senseless violence.

When we founded Shamiri Institute, our vision was clear: to build a future where young people in Kenya and across Sub-Saharan Africa could realize their full potential. We saw the incredible promise in Kenya's youthful population—half of the country was under 19 when we started Shamiri in 2018. We recognized the urgent need to provide African youth with a pathway to independent, fulfilling lives. Without this, we faced what I feared would be a ticking "time bomb".

 

The recent events in Kenya have only highlighted this urgency. Young Kenyans are frustrated and disheartened. They feel blocked from actualizing their dreams by government failures, systemic corruption, and institutionalized injustices.

 

Over the past couple of weeks, we've witnessed young Kenyans taking to the streets in peaceful protest across the country. Among them were many Shamirians—our Fellows, Supervisors, Team Members, and even myself. We’ve been inspired by the collective action and resolve of Kenyan youth, standing together in hope for a better future.

Tragically, these protests have been met with senseless violence. Many young people have lost their lives, some of them children and adolescents. Some of our team members have witnessed this horror first hand; many of us have seen it unfold across social media, TV, and personal messages. The voices of young Kenyans have been met with brutality instead of dialogue. We mourn with their families and loved ones, their communities, and the entire nation. The loss of young lives leaves a profound scar on our collective consciousness.

Even as these horrors continue, we must acknowledge the mental health toll these events impose on individuals and communities. Streams of traumatic images and reports breed fear, helplessness, trauma, anxiety, and deep sadness—burdens that may take years to overcome, if ever.

We founded Shamiri Institute to create a future where African youth can thrive socially, economically, and mentally. These recent events show us just how far we are from that vision. As an organization, we must reflect on how we can best serve the young people of Kenya. Enough is enough. Kenyan youth deserve a future of dignity and a future where they can actualize their full potential.  

We stand with the young people of Kenya.

To thriving African youth.

Tom Osborn

On behalf of all Shamirians

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