SPEECH BY H.E. MARGARET KENYATTA,THE FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE COMMISSIONING OF 650 SCHOLARS INTO THE 2015 EQUITY AFRICAN LEADERS PROGRAM, A PROGRAM OF EQUITY BANK AND EQUITY GROUP FOUNDATION ON 2ND APRIL 2015 AT KICC TSAVO BALL ROOM
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen;Good afternoonI am delighted to spend this afternoon in the company of some of our most academically talented young people in Kenya.Your bright faces and confidence gives me hope that the future of Kenya is, indeed, in safe hands.As a mother, I feel so proud to see the 650 of you, all products of hard work, discipline, focus, determination and resilience.I am informed that all the Wings to Fly scholars in this program scored straight A’s and some were the top in their Counties. Congratulations!As you may already know, my office launched the Beyond Zero campaign that advocates for healthy living and better lifestyles for our mothers and children. During this campaign, I have learnt key lessons some of which I would like to share with you;• That lack of knowledge and access to health services escalate the problem of mother and child mortality;• That maternal and children mortality has a direct impact on the sustainable future and progress of any community;• That in marginalized and disadvantaged populations mothers and children face higher mortality risk;• That some of the social determinants of health, such as early marriages, teenage pregnancies, lack of choices and autonomous decision-making, all disempower women and girls in Africa;That is why we need you. As you go out to pursue university education, you will experience a new level of freedom. I urge you to make wise choices.Success comes from hard work, patience and focusing on your goals. It is also about giving back to society and remembering those you have left behind. After gaining your skills across the globe, come back home and build your country and your continent. Dear scholars, I wish to congratulate your parents and guardians as well as your teachers who supported you in your journey to success. You can only pay back by excelling in your next phase of university education.Allow me to pay a special tribute to Equity Bank and Equity Group Foundation for the great work they are doing in giving our young scholars the opportunity to access education and to shape their future. I congratulate you, together with the Ministry of Education, for putting Kenya in the world map yet again. Kenya is best known for its world-class tourist attractions. We are known for our world class athletes and for our quality tea and coffee. Equity Bank has also shown the world that Kenya has some of the best brains too.Finally, let me take this opportunity to wish all Kenyans a Happy Easter, though my heart goes out to all those who have been attacked in Garissa - some of these are students like you whose lives have ended prematurely and who will never have the opportunities that you have because of heinous acts at the hands of attackers today. I send my sincere condolences to all their families, prayers for the injured and those still held hostage.With those remarks, I now commission the 650 scholars of the 2015 Class, and wish you every success as you embark on your leadership and internship program at Equity Bank.God Bless you all.