Sseko Designs http://ssekodesigns.com Using Fashion to Empower & Educate Women. Thu, 25 Jun 2015 00:06:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Stand Up for Yourself, and Those Who Can’thttp://ssekodesigns.com/stand-up-for-yourself/ http://ssekodesigns.com/stand-up-for-yourself/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 23:52:45 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=15283 This is a guest post by Geetha Somayajula, our Summer 2015 Social Media & Marketing Intern. When I stepped into the Sseko office on June 1st, I was hoping to learn more about online marketing, and to gain some insight into the fashion industry. What I didn’t expect was to have my worldview challenged; every […]

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This is a guest post by Geetha Somayajula, our Summer 2015 Social Media & Marketing Intern.


When I stepped into the Sseko office on June 1st, I was hoping to learn more about online marketing, and to gain some insight into the fashion industry. What I didn’t expect was to have my worldview challenged; every day at Sseko, I’m forced to reconsider and reformulate my values and beliefs. Who am I? What do I stand for? I ask myself when I leave the office.

Perhaps the most amazing part of interning at Sseko (in addition to playing dress-up with all of the beautiful accessories!) is the opportunity to collaborate with a group of driven and inspired individuals, passionate about empowering East African women and building a more beautiful world.

The boldness of Sseko is empowering for me too.

Geetha Henna Geetha

Be Brave. It’s the heartbeat that pulses in our products, in our campaigns, in our courageous Sseko women, and in our people. Being brave has a thousand empowering, frightening, and bold interpretations. Yesterday, I didn’t wear makeup to work, and reveled in the exhilaration of vulnerability. In the Fall, I’m going to take a leap and start my first Business classes at USC. Working at Sseko has helped me rediscover the beautiful pieces of myself I thought I’d lost as I was swept up into the whirlwind of adulthood.

Today, I’m inspired by the call to action in our manifesto; “stand up for yourself, and those who can’t.” In this editorial, I’m ready to stand up and speak openly about an issue that so many in my community want to ignore.

The nation of my heritage, the source of my love of spicy food and Bollywood, my ancestral home, is a place where I never feel safe. Sexual harassment, and violence against women is all too common in India, a country labeled the “worst place to be a woman” by the Reuters foundation. Six months before I arrived in India in July 2013, the 2012 Delhi gang rape of 23-year-old medical student “Nirbhaya” (Indian law prevents disclosure of rape victims’ names) finally alerted the international community to the daily horrors that Indian women face.

I recall my own traumatic experience being groped on a public bus in Chennai; if it hadn’t been for my furious uncle making a scene, I shudder to consider what might have happened. But I can’t help but wonder—what if I wasn’t an American tourist travelling with her family? What if I was just a student, coming home from a late class, and the bus wasn’t jam-packed? What then? Just the thought makes me nauseous.

In India rape is just as much of a social problem as it is a criminal one. In a country governed by traditional patriarchy, the topic of sexual violence is still shrouded in shame and stigma. Women who have suffered sexual assault or violence, are silenced for fear of backlash by law enforcement, or ostracism by their community. Stigmatizing the victim makes the problem seem insurmountable. How can we combat a crime without a perpetrator? Often, bigoted politicians point to the victim’s behavior (going out at night, going to clubs/bars) or her “provocative” clothing as the primary reason for the assault (of course, it must have been my exposed wrists that incited the harassment that day on the bus…).

Instead of blaming daughters for the shortfalls of India’s men, it’s time to rework the social fabric of the country. Increasing sentences for sex offenders is a symbolic move, but stricter laws are only effective if attitudes change with them. At Sseko, I’ve strengthened my belief in the power of education to trump any instrument of oppression. Targeted programs that engage boys and young men in the support of women’s leadership and rights, the promotion of non-violence and equity in relationships between men and women, and teach gender sensitivity can have positive repercussions that span generations.

Ending sexual violence against women is a battle that I believe India can win. To achieve that goal, we’re going to have to educate the men and women who are silenced by dated traditions. Harsher punishments for offenders and an efficient judicial system are essential steps towards a safer India, but ultimately it will be a revolution in the attitudes and actions of India’s people that will be the turning point in this war.

So, you ask, how can we be brave about the plight of our sisters abroad? By denying our own dignity, we do 600 million women in India a grave disservice. When you see women facing harassment in a public place, speak up (if the situation is safe), and show the victim compassion. If you have felt objectified in a social situation, or see it happen or at school/work, make sure the perpetrator is aware of his faux pas. Stand in solidarity with women who have experienced sexual assault—the only person who should feel ashamed is the offender.

When we are silent as our humanity is stripped away, we perpetuate injustice. Let us gather the courage to denounce our perpetrators, and practice compassion for the victims. Let us be brave for our sisters, mothers, daughters, and friends.

As a brand new intern, I’m still finding my footing at Sseko. I’m not always sure which data to include in a report, or how to write HTML, or even where the office supplies are. However, I have learned the importance of standing up for those who cannot; the Sseko team inspires me every day with their commitment to women halfway around the world.

Today, this is my brave.

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Meet the Summer 2015 Interns!http://ssekodesigns.com/summer-2015-interns/ http://ssekodesigns.com/summer-2015-interns/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 18:50:12 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=15191 We're excited to introduce you to our newest summer interns (our biggest class yet)! These 6 inspiring ladies are already contributing so much to the team, and certainly livening up the office. We can't wait to see the results of all of their hard work this summer! I've asked them to introduce themselves through some […]

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We're excited to introduce you to our newest summer interns (our biggest class yet)! These 6 inspiring ladies are already contributing so much to the team, and certainly livening up the office. We can't wait to see the results of all of their hard work this summer!

I've asked them to introduce themselves through some fun questions below, but you'll also be hearing from each of them in a blog post throughout the summer. Stay tuned!


Katie Bergmann // Sseko Summer InternsName, Hometown & Sseko role: Katie Bergmann, Graphic Design Intern
University & Major: Whitworth University // Graphic Design // Maple Valley, WA
What part of the Sseko Manifesto resonates most with you and why?

My favorite part of the Sseko Manifesto is their saying “do things that scare you”. I sometimes struggle to chase my goals and dreams simply because they scare me and it becomes the only thing that holds me back. It is such a good reminder to always push yourself further than you feel comfortable with or capable of because you never know what could happen if you just take that leap of faith.

Who is your favorite strong female character from TV/movies/literature and why?

My favorite female character from a TV show would have to be Carol Peletier from the show The Walking Dead. She’s my favorite character because in the beginning of the show she’s a very fragile, and scared, but learns to overcome her weaknesses. As the seasons continue, she develops into one of the most level-headed, self-sufficient and strong characters on the show and even takes on a leadership role. Her character shows how going through really difficult times doesn’t have to destroy you but can actually make you stronger. Plus, zombies.


Libby Bartley // Sseko Summer Interns Name, Hometown & Sseko role: Libby Bartley, Cincinatti, OH // Brave Collective Intern
University & Major: University of Oregon // Advertising
What part of the Sseko Manifesto resonates most with you and why?

My favorite part of the Sseko manifesto is "do things that scare you." I think there's something extraordinary that comes from pushing your borders and exploring life outside of your comfort zone. Ever heard the quote "all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage"? It's true. The more we engage our own sense of bravery, the more likely we are to achieve something radical.


What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women today?

I think women in our society are too often told that we can't do something. Traditional stereotypes and the competitive nature that exists between women create an unrealistic notion that for whatever reason we can't do something: We're not good enough, we're not smart enough, we're not pretty enough. Whatever it is, there's this idea that we lack the ability to achieve something great. One of the things I have always admired about Sseko is how intentional these women are about reiterating the message "you can".


Emily Mills // Sseko Summer Interns Name, Hometown & Sseko Role: Emily Mills, Vancouver, WA // Style Intern
University & Major: University of Portland // Marketing & Spanish
What part of the Sseko Manifesto resonates most with you and why?

“Surround yourself with people who believe in the best you” resonates most with me because I believe that I have grown as a person through being in friendships where I was not treated and supported how I wanted to be.  I’ve since moved past friendships like that and have found that when you surround yourself with great people who really do believe you can be the best you, it changes your outlook on like and how you see yourself in this big game of life!


When I'm not interning at Sseko, I am...

Working as a model in Portland for various companies, which I love doing. I also have a style blog that I write for and that takes up a good chunk of my time, as well as taking outfit photos to pair with a blog post. Some fun things I like to do are going hiking, going to the beach, painting ( or any kind of craft ). I also enjoy spending time with my friends and seeing what kind of weird thing we can figure out to do!


 Geetha Somayajula // Sseko Summer InternsName, Hometown & Sseko Role: Geetha Somayajula, Portland, OR //Social Media & Marketing Intern
University & Major: University of Southern California // Choral Music & Business Administration
What part of the Sseko Manifesto resonates most with you and why?

"Scraped knees are chic" is a powerful reminder for me. So often, we forget ourselves in the pursuit of success-- especially in college, we're told that if we take the right classes, and get the right internships, success will always follow. Veering off the beaten path is a taboo! But this pithy little statement reminds me that trying new things is just as important as honoring tradition. New endeavors and experiences add color and inspiration to our lives. Even when we fall, our scraped knees reveal where we've been. The journey is just as beautiful as the destination!

When I'm not interning at Sseko, I am...

When I'm not at Sseko, I love to sing! Pop, jazz, opera, and Indian classical music are some of my favorite genres. At USC, I sing in the Concert Choir, and teach music lessons to children in the community.


 Megan Dacus // Sseko Summer InternsName, Hometown & Sseko Role: Megan Dacus, Vancouver, WA// Merchandising Intern
University & Major: University of Southern California // Public Relations & Communication Design Minor
What part of the Sseko Manifesto resonates most with you and why?

"Scraped knees are chic." My knees have been pretty banged up over the years, quite literally, so I guess with my knee scars I'm like a walking metaphor, but you have to get back up when you're knocked down. I think it's easy to be knocked down and then play the victim and let that define the rest of your life, but you have to remember that falling down isn't what defines you, it's what you do after getting back up.

 Where is your happy place?

My bathroom. One of my best friends said an “introvert’s favorite place is the bathroom stall.” It's a place nobody can bother you and you can just be alone. Often times I'll just shut myself in to work because it keeps me calm and just feels serene. Super weird, but my bathroom always smells good and the one in my house is under-the-sea themed!


 Alex Mallot // Sseko Summer InternsName, Hometown & Sseko Role: Alex Mallot, Kansas City, MO // Community Engagement Intern
University & Major: University of Missouri // Textile and Apparel Management & Business
What part of the Sseko Manifesto resonates most with you and why?

“Talk to strangers, Surround yourself with people that believe the best in you & Ask hard questions” resonate with me, because I think so much of the richness in life comes from communication, learning about people and being known by people.

 What is a lesson you have learned over the last year that you'd like to share?

Over the last year I have learned that I cannot please everyone. I have learned that it is okay to make hard decisions and be confident in them even with the risk of being misunderstood. I have learned that I am a better version of myself when I am real, honest and when I am not living to please everyone but trying to truly love others well.

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A Brighter Future: Audrey Roloffhttp://ssekodesigns.com/audrey-roloff/ http://ssekodesigns.com/audrey-roloff/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 21:37:19 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=15094 Our Summer 2015 campaign theme is "The Future is Bright” -- both because our summer collection features crazy beautiful, bold, and bright hues (coral! fuchsia! blue! turquoise!) but also because we believe that if we work together, a brighter future is possible. To celebrate, we've rounded up a few of our favorite (brave!) women who […]

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Our Summer 2015 campaign theme is "The Future is Bright” -- both because our summer collection features crazy beautiful, bold, and bright hues (coral! fuchsia! blue! turquoise!) but also because we believe that if we work together, a brighter future is possible. To celebrate, we've rounded up a few of our favorite (brave!) women who are working to create a brighter future every day, too. We'll be highlighting them each on the Sseko blog throughout the summer!

Sseko Designs: The Future is Bright

To kick us off, we're highlighting the audacious and striking LA-based blogger Audrey Roloff of aujpoj.com! Audrey is a positive role model for many young women, and she inspires those around her through her positivity and perseverance. We asked Audrey to tell us what a brighter future looks like to her and, WOW:

"My dream for a brighter future is a world where people realize their potential for MORE. There is ALWAYS MORE to look forward to, MORE to be thankful for, MORE to give, MORE blessings to receive, MORE fruit to bear, MORE joy to radiate, MORE growth in faith, MORE peace to permeate, MORE mercy to merit, MORE wisdom to gain, and MORE reason to Love. I want our generation to stand victoriously over fear, anxiety, doubt, and complacency. May we be the generation that passionate and faithfully lives like there is ALWAYS MORE. #alwaysmore #lifeorbust”

This inspirational lady is not only bright and brave, but she is also enviously fashionable. (Seriously, check out her blog for more of her incredible ensembles!) We love to see her rocking our Ivory Champagne Silk Sandals!

Audrey Roloff - Sseko Designs

Audrey Roloff - Sseko Designs Ribbon Sandals

Audrey Roloff Sseko Sandals

Audrey Roloff Sseko Ribbon Sandals


Check out Audrey’s blog and enter to win some free Sseko goodies through her Sseko giveaway at http://www.aujpoj.com/sseko-designs-giveaway-good/. Good luck!


xoxo,
Team Sseko

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Own your Bravehttp://ssekodesigns.com/ownyourbrave/ http://ssekodesigns.com/ownyourbrave/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 23:29:38 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=15044 Hiya Braves! Holly at Sseko HQ here. This month we are focusing on what it means to ‘Own your Brave’. To kick it off, I want to share with you a small piece of my Brave story and what it means to me to ‘own your Brave’. From a young age i’ve been labeled by […]

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Hiya Braves!

Holly at Sseko HQ here. This month we are focusing on what it means to ‘Own your Brave’. To kick it off, I want to share with you a small piece of my Brave story and what it means to me to ‘own your Brave’.

From a young age i’ve been labeled by my family as the brave one. The first to jump off the high-dive at the pool or keep a stoic face as the nurse gave me a shot in the arm. I spent a solid two early years of life with a black eye from various failed endeavors trying to prove myself with very little height or coordination. Bravery soon became synonymous with ‘doing’ and the idea that performing grand acts like being first to test out the homemade bike ramp or later on in life, packing up and moving to another country by myself for nine months, was the only way to prove that I have a brave spirit and to gain recognition as such.

I moved to Portland three years ago from my home state of Texas. Over the course of this time, my life has looked different that what I’d initially dreamed and schemed of. The plan after finishing school was to travel the world, starting with just a year in Portland.To follow my wanderlusting heart around the globe spending time as a shepherdess in New Zealand, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, running along the Great Wall of China, and driving from Cairo to Cape Town, that was the ultimate dream. Well friends, as you can see, that didn’t exactly happen. I fell in love with the city of Portland, its people, and my job so I stayed. Every so often I feel an overwhelming panic that i’ve missed my chance, that I’ve failed and I’m not brave because I didn’t fulfill the story i’d written for myself years ago. But then I remember the reality is that I was brave in choosing to put that narrative aside and stay, and although my story has taken a different course than my original intent, it is brave too. Choosing to stay meant digging deeper into relationships, exploring the curious pulse of the Portland culture, and working to make something beautiful in this world through my work. In my moments of panic, I remind myself of this truth: my story IS brave, and I own that Brave.

When you own something, you don’t have to prove that you own it, it’s just yours. The shoes I am wearing right now are these amazing blue ballet flats (made by this really rad company i’m into, its called Sseko Designs--maybe you’ve heard of it). I don’t have to prove that the shoes are mine, I know they are mine because the insole has formed to the mold of my foot perfectly, the small mud stain on the side of the left shoe indicates the exact location where I stepped out of my car into a pile of mud ( I live in rainy Portland, mud puddle awareness is an issue). With each passing day I choose to wear my shoes, the more mine they become because I choose to live life in them, and life is messy and leaves its marks.

Bravery isn’t something we have to prove. I don’t have to walk around telling every person I interact with that the shoes I am wearing are mine, it is assumed because i’m wearing them. Likewise, I don’t have to jump off makeshift bike ramps, or quit everything to travel the world to be marked as Brave (although it is still a dream and if you’re doing that, I want to hear all about your travels please!!!) . Brave is not something we have to ‘do’ in order to show the world that we have it. It becomes who we are the moment we claim it and wear it, we begin to take ownership of it. At Sseko, we don’t encourage each other to ‘do’ brave, but to ‘be’ brave. There is a courageous, authentic, unyielding women inside all of us with inherent ownership over our own stories, our own Brave, that is different from any other woman’s Brave. Instead of putting our energy and focus toward proving to the world that we are brave and looking to our right and left to see how others live out their Brave, lets take ownership of our own story and wear it proudly, to me, that is the ultimate mark of what it means to Be Brave.



own your brave blog post  own your brave blog post

Interested in joining the Brave Collective? Learn more by visiting our Brave Collective page.

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Welcome Angella!http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-angella/ http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-angella/#comments Sat, 06 Jun 2015 07:30:27 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=13600 Welcome Angella to Team Sseko! Angella comes from the Luwero district and a family of ten- five boys and five girls. Her parents separated, and she grew up with her single mother, who is a cook at a school. She loves her mother for the hard work that she does. Angella hopes to attend Makerere […]

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Welcome Angella to Team Sseko! Angella comes from the Luwero district and a family of ten- five boys and five girls. Her parents separated, and she grew up with her single mother, who is a cook at a school. She loves her mother for the hard work that she does.

Meet Angella

Angella hopes to attend Makerere University to study law, business administration or computing. Of the three subjects, her face lights up the most when she is talking about law. She wants to deal with cases of domestic violence, as many women and children suffer on account of it. She dreams of pursuing a master's degree, and using her success to start an orphanage to take care of young children who are suffering.

To relax, she likes to watch movies; detective stories and adventures. And though most of her dreams for her future are quiet selfless, she does hope for one little adventure of her own, to Paris. She'd love to experience the beauty of the city and it's architecture. We hope that the drive that has already brought her so far in life will make that dream come true one day, and we wish her "bonne chance!"

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Welcome Pauline!http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-pauline/ http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-pauline/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 07:18:11 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=13612 Pauline is from Kajansi, a small town on the road that leads from the capital city of Uganda, Kampala, out toward Lake Victoria and the airport. She is the firstborn of five children, with one sibling and three half brothers and sisters. She loves to dance and enjoys music. Recently, she got to see her […]

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Pauline is from Kajansi, a small town on the road that leads from the capital city of Uganda, Kampala, out toward Lake Victoria and the airport. She is the firstborn of five children, with one sibling and three half brothers and sisters. She loves to dance and enjoys music. Recently, she got to see her favorite local musician, Bobby Wine, in concert. She likes to see her favorites perform, because "you can jump, you shout… you have this feeling- you are filled with joy and excitement."

Meet Pauline

Pauline hopes to study law, and feels that she already has great ideas about how to handle cases she's seen. "Some say lawyers are trained thieves," she explains, but her hope is to do the right thing in her career instead of following the crowd. She hopes to reach out to people who don't know their rights in order to educate them. She imagines building programs to take into the community that educate people about their rights as citizens.

At the moment, Pauline is working on the strap team, ironing colorful ribbons and stitching the ends. Her favorite task, though, is on the other side of the workshop, assembling shoes. She hopes to have more opportunities to learn that part of the work. Wherever she is, though, she has a great attitude, and doesn't think that anything is too tough.

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Welcome Emily!http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-emily/ http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-emily/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 22:28:21 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=13606 Though Emily may choose accounting or procurement, programs under government scholarship, her dream career is in law where she'd like to study ethics and human rights. She'd like to fight corruption in government in order to to improve prospects for everyday people. "[Officials] always want to aim at getting things for themselves, not thinking about […]

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Though Emily may choose accounting or procurement, programs under government scholarship, her dream career is in law where she'd like to study ethics and human rights. She'd like to fight corruption in government in order to to improve prospects for everyday people. "[Officials] always want to aim at getting things for themselves, not thinking about the people outside," she explains. She values justice, and wants people to be equal- two sentiments at the foundation of excellent leadership.

Meet Emily

Emily is from eastern Uganda, the last born of nine children on her mother's side. With so many children to look after, school fees were tough to come by, and her mostly absent father refused to contribute until he saw her exam results at the end of her Senior 4 year of secondary school. Those same exam results, though, earned her a scholarship to Cornerstone Leadership Academy, and her father helped a little with the transportation and other costs. "I didn't enjoy the love and benefit of my dad," she says, but she also tries to chose forgiveness.

In spite of a rough start, Emily has big dreams for her future. She'd love to travel outside of Uganda and gain an understanding of different places and the cultures of different people. She hopes to visit the U.S., Britain, France, South Africa and Nigeria and maybe even study in one of those places. She also enjoys playing football (soccer), netball (similar to basketball), and singing.

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Welcome Kevin!http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-kevin/ http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-kevin/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 15:34:37 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=13597 Kevin's family in the Amuru district spends their time close to the soil, growing rice and produce to eat and sell. Kevin, though, has her eyes on much higher ground- literally. She loves to climb mountains, and her dream, one day, is to visit Switzerland and its towering peaks. She loves traveling around, going on […]

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Kevin's family in the Amuru district spends their time close to the soil, growing rice and produce to eat and sell. Kevin, though, has her eyes on much higher ground- literally. She loves to climb mountains, and her dream, one day, is to visit Switzerland and its towering peaks. She loves traveling around, going on adventures, and the view from the top of the world after the exercise of a strenuous hike. "There are good features from up there which are not down," she explains.

Meet Kevin

She plans to study procurement and logistics, and to use her success to help young children whose parents cannot "lift them up" on their own. She also enjoys playing games with young children, and thinks they are far more interesting than adults who seem to always be concerned with serious things. Her favorite story about the humor of kids involves a young cousin likening her brother to the night dancers of local folklore. Kevin's brother was annoyed, but the comparison definitely amused her!

So far, Kevin is enjoying her work at Sseko. She has already mastered ironing straps, and feels good about the progress she made in her first week. She's one of the quieter young women in the group, unless you are close to her, she explains. Then, she loves to tease and joke, "and we will be happy," she says.

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Welcome Kellen!http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-kellen/ http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-kellen/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 22:14:34 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=13587 Kellen is the sort of young woman who wants to make an impression. She works hard to be outstanding, and hopes people will notice her presence in a positive way. She grew up in Mpigi in central Uganda in a stable family with one brother. She loves that her family shares an openness toward each […]

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Kellen is the sort of young woman who wants to make an impression. She works hard to be outstanding, and hopes people will notice her presence in a positive way. She grew up in Mpigi in central Uganda in a stable family with one brother. She loves that her family shares an openness toward each other's ideas. Even the children had a voice to express things that they hoped to see changed or done in a certain way within the family, as well as a receptive audience open to those ideas.

Meet Kellen

She plans to study business in university, focusing on procurement, accounting or entrepreneurship. Her dream is to invest in estates of land, and to be successful enough to help others in need. She'd also like to visit the U.S., Canada and Sweden someday. Some of her relatives live on an island and Sweden and she'd like to see what it's like there. "They tell me it's very cold."

In her spare time, Kellen likes to sing, dance, tell stories, watch television programs, and read novels. She's well spoken and articulate, and it's clear that she's already on the path to success.

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Welcome Stella Jr.!http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-stella-jr/ http://ssekodesigns.com/welcome-stella-jr/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 16:54:49 +0000 http://ssekodesigns.com/?p=13594 Stella is the only one in her family of seven children to pursue higher education. Her mother, widowed when Stella was one, helped pay for her schooling until the point that Stella was accepted on scholarship into Cornerstone Leadership Academy. Stella hopes that scholarships will continue to take her through university so she doesn't have […]

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Stella is the only one in her family of seven children to pursue higher education. Her mother, widowed when Stella was one, helped pay for her schooling until the point that Stella was accepted on scholarship into Cornerstone Leadership Academy. Stella hopes that scholarships will continue to take her through university so she doesn't have to lean on her mother and other family members too much.

Meet Stella Jr.

She plans to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering, focused on electricity. She was inspired by a cousin who studied in the same subject and his enthusiasm for the field. One day, she hopes buy land and even a car, and use her additional resources to help people in her village. "People don't mind about educating children, especially the girl child. Others get pregnant and drop out of school. So at least I have to help two and make sure they finish." She hopes that talking to people in her community will encourage them to educate their children.

In her free time, Stella likes to read motivational books for inspiration, and takes a lot of personal lessons from them. "To be successful in life, you have to have the desire for what you're doing, and you have to persist- you don't just quit when you [fail]. That failure should be a stepping stone where you have to stop and think. Think more about what you can do other than quitting."

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