“It is up to us”: WISER’s student president speaks out

Linah, WISER’s student president, does not shy away from advocating for girls

“For many years, girls have been discriminated against. Sometimes, they are given unequal opportunities. Sometimes, they face FGM (female genital mutilation). Sometimes, their parents refuse to send them to school. So, it is up to us, the girls, to advocate for these rights.” 

Linah is the perfect picture of a young leader. She is confident, smart, and unafraid to speak directly to the heart of the issues that affect her and her community.

It’s no wonder that, near the end of 2017, Linah was chosen to be WISER’s next student president.

Though she’s new to the president role, Linah has led the way for her peers for nearly her entire time at WISER. As school vice president in 2017, Linah balanced her time between class, VP responsibilities, choreographing dances, and competing in Kenya’s national science & engineering fair with her multi-powered lamp project. It’s safe to say that Linah stays busy, and she has a good reason why.

“Girls are talented! We have to show what we can do, and it’s important to have girls in leadership.”

Visible leadership has always been important to Linah and she hopes to lead a wave of change that leads to more girls and women in leadership positions across Kenya. She also hopes that she can help trigger this wave through her own actions.

“If you have girls in leadership, they will understand the challenges that girls go through throughout their lives. And it makes me feel so happy to see myself represented somewhere, to see girls respected in that way. Right now, if you look at the top, you see only men, and they may not prioritize the rights of women. But with women… they know unfair treatment, they can treat everyone equally.”

Linah’s path to her confident and outspoken nature was not always smooth. When she was only 8 years old, Linah lost her dad and was unsure about whether or not she’d be able to stay in school. Paying for school fees and clothing and supporting her mother proved to be an incredible challenge.

But today, Linah has nothing but high hopes for her future.

“I’m planning to be a doctor. Right now, I think most doctors are men. But I want to hear the stories of women doctors, how they’re going through, how they reached that point. Maybe I can be a part of that story. One day I might inspire someone else… It just makes me feel so happy.”

Linah might say “one day,” but the WISER team thinks it’s clear – Linah has inspired plenty of people already.


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