This fall, two Kenyan youth from dis-advantaged communities enter the support program of newly established PDAid Foundation. Through scholarships and mentorships, the PDAid Foundation will support Bentamegan Pritie and John Senteu to become positive agents of change within corporate and societal management. The overall goal is to assist young individuals from developing countries with their personal professional aspirations and to provide them with skills that they can use to positively affect their local communities.

In September 2015, Bentamegan who grew up in Nairobi started a course on counseling and management. Having experienced traumatic experiences in her young life, Bentamegan is keen to provide support to youth who suffer from post-traumatic stress, a condition that receives limited consideration in the development of informal settlements.    John, a young Masaai who comes from Loitokitok at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, will start a business management course in October.  He is keen to acquire skills that will enable him to set-up small businesses in his home-town and to contribute to the economic development of the region where he grew up.

A foundation for positive changes
The PDAid Foundation, founded by Dennis and Pia Nielsen, is built on a concept of offering not only sponsorship but also mentorship aspiring youth. During their courses, Benta and John will receive individual tuition and guidance from Danish and Kenyan professionals, with the aim of giving them extra encouragement and skills to maximize the benefits of their respective course and provide them with skills geared towards sustainability and community development.

A new journey
John believes the course in management will get him closer to his goal of creating a sustainable business in his local neighborhood. Yet John has further aspirations for his future, namely to “become a community health worker”. John further states: “due to the poor standards of living from my people, it has urged me to have an ambition of at least bringing my community to a better level.” John’s aspirations and dreams for the future is a perfect match to the vison of the PDAid Foundation.
Bentamegan feels "honored and privileged to be a part of this amazing foundation", and that she is very excited about finally getting a chance to “change her life forever” when starting her education within psychological counseling. She said “I have had the most terrible young life, with little support. I want to assist young women and men who have to overcome hardships so that they can have a better life and contribute more towards our society.”

As a symbol of engagement in the PDAid Foundation, both John and Bentamegan will receive a Mandela Bangle. The purpose of the Bangle initiative is to generate funds for the cause of HIV and AIDS while helping the ones who suffer from it during the process. The funds generated from the project are allocated to build school libraries for junior schools in South Africa, thus teaching the children that they have the possibility to get an education and thereby change their future. The Bangle therefore symbolizes the pure essence of the PDAid Foundation and reminds the mentees to keep their spirits up and to pursue their future.

A two-way commitment
Both mentees will attend school according to their respective paths, and will furthermore communicate the outcome of their efforts on a regular basis. The feedback channel has been set up as a term of agreement for the mentees in order to proceed in the PDAid Foundation program. The communication with their mentors will give the youth an opportunity to discuss and elaborate on how their month has passed by; for instance their general experience of the school, professors and classes, including assignments, tasks and exams. Elaboration on which social tasks within their respective communities they have engaged in, and lastly how they are doing in general in their private life, focused primarily on their daily challenges and overall spirt and well-being.

Close collaboration with Kilimanjaro Initiative
The PDAid Foundation is working closely with Kilimanjaro Initiative (KI), a Kenyan based non-Governmental Organization, to oversee the progress of its mentees in Kenya. Additionally, KI will be in constant communication with Benta and John’s schools in order to clarify and ensure that everything is going according to the plan. KI constitutes a perfect match as the local partner to the PDAid Foundation. It is managed by youth from disadvantaged communities in Nairobi, helping to build a strong platform of change involving the public and private sectors. Dennis and Pia Nielsen are confident that the foundation is on the right track, and is attracting and seeking further private sector involvement in supporting the capacity building of our younger generations.

Further information about the PDAid Foundation
The launch took place on the 27th of February 2015, during the ‘Fight for your Neighbour’ event at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. While announcing the launch of the PDAid Foundation, the Danish Ambassador to Kenya at the time, Geert Aagaard Andersen, stated that he and the Danish Embassy hope to achieve viable improvements within growth, democracy and human rights in developing countries. Based on the PDAid Foundation and its launch, a short video has been produced. To view the video in full, please click here.

To gain further information and to engage in John and Bentamegan’s educational journey, please visit the PDAid Foundation Facebook page.