[30th October 2013]

DR. KAKENYA NTAIYA: KENYA'S NOMINEE FOR THE "2013 CNN HERO OF THE YEAR" AWARD

One of Kenya's brightest and most inspiring young leaders, Ms. (Dr.) Kakenya Ntaiya, was named as one of the Top 10 contenders for the CNN's prestigious 2013 Hero of the Year Award. In support of her course, the Embassy wishes to request Kenyans and well wishers in Japan to vote for her and ensure that she emerges as the 2013 "Hero of the Year".

Kakenya's path is a story of remarkable achievement. Today, young girls are still struggling to access education and to live free from the threats of child marriage and human trafficking. A staggering 14 million girls under the age of 18 will be married this year. In some of the County's in Kenya, the statistics are even bleaker: less than 20% of girls are ever enrolled in schools, and many never complete their education.

Kakenya Ntaiya defied these odds and is making huge strides for girls' empowerment and education in Kenya. She was the first girl to leave her Maasai village of Enoosaen and attend college in the United States. She received her doctorate in education and returned to her village to launch the first primary school for girls in her area, the Kakenya Center for Excellence. The school has grown in leaps and bounds, and now serves 160 students who represent the area's most underprivileged and vulnerable girls.

If she is recognized as "Hero of the Year," Kakenya will receive a total of $300,000 to scale her girls' empowerment and education efforts. As she says, she wants to "show people how one person can create a movement."

The CNN Hero of the Year award is won through popular vote at CNNHeroes.com. Voting takes just a few seconds and can be done once a day using an email addresses or via Facebook. Well wishers can vote for Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya once a day, every day, until the polls close on November 17, 2013. The winner is named December 1, 2013 in New York.

Please click here to VOTE for Kakenya.

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