What started as a four day conference somewhere in California 25 years ago with a devotion to Ideas Worth Spreading (TED), has managed to grow to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience is one such initiative.

TEDxKaranja is one of this many TEDx events around the world, where TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group

What informed the creation of TEDxKaranja?

TEDxKaranja was created to help kiberans appreciate the fact that they live in Kibera. Therefore we want to challenge our fundamental believes as well as perceptions by coming together in the spirit of ideas worth spreading to discuss, share, network, and discover our potential hence realizing what is possible in/for Kibera.

After having TEDxSilanga and Kibera in a row, it was time to have TEDxkaranja. It took place on the 10th of Sept. 2011 at Mchanganyiko hall from 2pm. Kibera, where good ideas come from has given the power to transform lives, we had 2 live speakers sharing their message with the audience as well as the watching of TED talks.

Though the session was set to begin at 2pm, it was not possible for it had to start late but the programme was strictly observed. To start with was a recorded talk from Caroline Casey – Looking past limits. Her a talk had some inspiring message “Be absolutely truly yourself and believe from the bottom of your heart; you can make things happen”

Charles Karanja, who was born in Kiberas Kianda village to a single mum, was the first live speaker on stage. His was a story of his life, he grew up in Kianda, went to Laini saba primary, Olekajuado boys high school. “I wanted to study medicine at university, but the cut-off points were too high that I was not able to achieve it” His hopes were not over for he always knew that at some point he will go to university. At that time Charles says he used to help her mum in selling in a small green grocers and that no one ‘within the audience would cut vegetables better than he could’. He would later change to go to a driving school after which he became a tout, then a driver with a certain bus company.

Lack came knocking on Charles’ door when his friend was awarded a scholarship to study at Makerere University but the friend declined and pushed  this offer to him that made him pursue a degree in economics and statistics. I could see my dream that was shattered many years back coming to realization.

Talks of Andrew Mwenda – Taking a new look at Africa  and Richard St. john – Success is a continuous journey were watched and we had a final live speaker by the name Jack Nyamawanga who lives in Soweto west a village in Kibera. He says that he dropped out of school at an early age but life had to go on. He was a street boy for 3 years and lived with  her sister for other 3 years and later begun to live on his own thanks to the Victorious youth group that he helped form. This group is a factory in its own right for it has employed youths who work on borne jewerllery/necklace production everyday.

Being the first time for most of the attendants, they were thrilled to this good ideas sharing event and were of the mind that more such like events should be organized to help enlighten youths on different issues affecting them and the world at large.

After a more general assessment of the event I said to myself;

The most harmful beliefs that you can have are what are called self-limiting beliefs and therefore in order to achieve things you’ve never achieved before, you must be willing to do things you’ve never done before”




About Sande Wycliffe

I am a motivated community leader living and working in the Kibera slum. The power of information exchange can change Kibera and bring about unity of purpose.
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