Mary Asiko - Kisumu Talent Club Project possing for photo with awards.

Mary Asiko – Kisumu Talent Club

I am saddened by the many struggles young people especially girls and women endure surviving in the informal slums from illicit activities like prostitution, rape, gender based violence, HIV/AIDs to lack of employment. I want people to know that creating awareness around these issues among at risk youth and parents can help bring change in the community. Kisumu Talent Club uses music, dance, sports, and poetry to create awareness about these topics and offers counselling as a way of developing character of young girls and boys to keep them away from destructive activities. We stage performance in local churches, community events, and compete with other talent groups from all parts of Kenya.

The seed grant allowed me to purchase costumes which was the greatest barrier for me to perform at different events in my community. Without the costumes, I was looked down upon and judged by Obunga slum where I come from. I have won in all competitions because organizers now look at the issues my group is addressing that are critical to the lives of the young people I help and not the clothes they put on.
I moved around easily to all the competitions and events i was invited to attend because funds for transport were available. It further created networks in every place I visited.

Having used music, dance and sports to engage 200 at risk boys and girls from Obunga slum to stay out of crime and illicit activities for the past two years, it is now time to start the next phase of my program, which involves introducing life skills training, leadership development and networking with other partners to strengthen our referral programs eg vocational skills training in hairdressing. My beneficiaries will be trained to be peer educators, mentors of the growing population that I cannot effectively support by myself. They will be trained on health education, menstrual hygiene, HIV/AIDS, group management, decision making, leadership, and financial literacy.

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