Co-Founder & CEO, Clean Start Solutions
Bold Idea: Equip incarcerated adolescent girls with skills to enter employment, education, or entrepreneurship when they leave prison. Lower recidivism rates, build the business case for the model and advocate for government policies to shift towards restorative justice.
Path to Metis: Teresa believes in a world in which ex-offenders from the juvenile justice system, instead of being stigmatized and further marginalized, are welcomed and integrated as members of the community with equal opportunity. Teresa had a successful career as a professional banker with international banks before she was sent to prison in connection to a fraud case (a crime for which she was later exonerated). She spent a year in Langata Women’s Prison with her newborn daughter. As she befriended other inmates, she taught them how to read, write, budget, and write business proposals.
This experience made Teresa realize how low-income women and youth could become caught in a chronic cycle of poverty, petty crimes, and imprisonment. She committed to spending her career advocating for reform in the criminal justice system. She co-founded Clean Start to support inmates to transition back into society and ensure that the high numbers of people imprisoned in Kenya due to poverty-related issues, particularly children and adolescents, are equipped with the means to create a livelihood.
Teresa is a Discharge Board member of various prisons in Kenya, where she supports the successful reintegration into society of reformed ex-inmates. She attended the University of Pune in India, and she was a Vital Voices Lead Global 2015 Fellow and Acumen East Africa 2016 Fellow. Clean Start has run five-week courses for adult prisoners focusing on entrepreneurship training, education, character development, and life skills. They recently launched a pilot to support education for adolescent girls in the juvenile justice system to create profitable and legal businesses that sustain them and their families.
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