Wendo Aszed, a mother of four from Kenya, has walked the walk when it comes to understanding the challenges of rural women. Growing up in a small community, she had a passion for learning and saw how access to basic services and information could change a person’s life. She co-founded Dandelion Africa to provide health and entrepreneurial support for women and youth in marginalized areas. The experience has taught her the importance of cultivating others’ strengths. As a mentor, she lets young people know she values them, which helps them believe in their own potential. “Today when I see women who are in our programs, (I) am humbled to see them with businesses, good health, planned families and well informed of their choices in life. I look at them and know, I am at the right place,” she says.
Yet her vision continues to grow. She wants to empower not just individuals but community-based organizations. “A lot of good ideas lie with young people starting CBOs, but they lack the necessary mentors . . . (to help build) on their strengths so that they can better serve their communities,” she says. Her Perennial Fellowship exposed her to new ways to increase her organization’s reach. “The world has so much to teach me, but it will not find me in my village,” she explains. “I had to come out and find it.”