Founder & Managing Director, "We The Change" Foundation & The Vale School
Bold Idea: Use primary schools in an informal settlement and a high-income area to provide high-quality, 21st-century education models to students regardless of their socio-economic background. Leverage them as centres for excellence that conduct research and design of education interventions, train teachers, and serve as sites for leaders from around the world to learn about education innovation.
Path to Metis: Soiya’s early education experiences exposed her to high-quality education models and made her believe that all children deserve equal access to opportunities regardless of their background. As a child in Nairobi, she attended Kestrel Manor School, which integrated students from all socioeconomic backgrounds (some of whom were mentally and physically handicapped) and the Banda School, where she was one of the few Kenyan students in a mostly white student body.
She then attended some of the world’s top schools including Phillips Academy, the University of St. Andrews, and the College of Law in London. Her career initially focused on corporate and charity law, but she left that potentially lucrative path to shift into the education sector because she was committed to using her privilege to enable opportunities for more children. She was Executive Director of the Global Youth Fund, which supports youth to become change agents in their communities. Watching the 2007 post-election violence made her commit to moving back to Kenya. In 2010, she founded the “We the Change” Foundation, which provides ECD and education programs to children in marginalized communities in Mathare informal settlements.
When she had her first child in 2014, she was inspired to start the Vale School, an innovative school that focuses on child-centred teaching and learning methods in Muthaiga, a high-income area. The school also trains the caregivers and parents of students to use tools that support their child’s development. Soiya was an Acumen East Africa Fellow in 2011, and also has experience working with the United Nations, Goldman Sachs, Njoge Education Trust, and Mother Teresa’s home for the destitute in India.
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