A couple of weeks ago I met with a former student of mine, Genna Radnan, who at only 20 years of age is doing incredible work in Kenya.
She has an interesting story as Genna says, “I was never an academic and only had passes for my work, regardless of how much effort I put in. In the end, my HSC marks were between 70-79 for the exams BUT (because of the subjects she chose) my ATAR was 64.5. That was my ‘fear’ I guess, that no matter how well I went, I’d only get a low mark. The HSC didn’t cover any of my personal strengths where I could excel.”
After finishing Year 12, Genna signed up with a volunteer agency who were due to be based in Ghana. However that didn’t materialise and the group ended up in the village of Karunga in Kenya.
After the allotted volunteering time was up, Genna got on the phone and begged her family to allow to spend more time in Karunga – this time on her own…
Genna decided to raise funds through her contacts in Australia, and subsequently paid for a new kindergarten school to be built (pictured) as well as the schooling of a number of the local families.
As well as helping others Genna has seen a huge change in herself, “What I’ve been doing in Kenya is my passion. I’ve seen my own strengths grow and develop, none of which could be tested at school.”
Seeing this change in herself was a huge confidence boost. From not wanting to go to university for fear of furthering labelling Genna is now in her first year of a Bachelor of Nursing degree. She says, “I’ve been getting credits, distinctions and high distinctions – marks which I barely saw in school.” She says this is because nursing draws on her strengths. It draws on who she is as much as what she can do.
Genna is hoping to defer the second year of her nursing course, should she be successful in being awarded a United Nations $25000 grant to set up a women’s education centre in Karunga. As part of the Project Inspire initiative of United Nations, Genna has beaten hundreds from around the world to be among ten who have been shortlisted for the award.
The winner of the award is announced in Singapore at the end of this month.
You can hear Genna’s story in her own words and vote for her at the Project Inspire website (CLOSING DATE IS TODAY!) by clicking here.
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