Oftentimes, inspirational stories come from unexpected places. On first seeing Kenyan-born MICHAEL MUTUKU MUTIE, one would not be able to fathom the great strides he has already made in his 21 years of living.
It all started in December 2014 as he was waiting to catch a bus home from a long day of exams at school when he spotted a young handsome boy, Enoch, laying uncomfortably and alone on the dusty street. He didn’t like how people carelessly ignored him as though he did not exist or he wasn’t of any importance. In efforts to be of a difference, Michael walked into a cake shop and bought some “maandazi” (Kenyan donuts) and fruit juice, sat down where Enoch was lying, introduced himself, then helped feed him and they had a short warm chat afterwards. After several other encounters with Enoch, Michael was moved to start up a movement, which would be a platform for others to participate in doing something good for people who weren’t necessarily in a position to pay them back, at least not with anything else but a simple heartfelt thank you.
This led to Lead the Change, a leadership organization that aims to creating holistic avenues that promote and facilitate positive change and development; for a well-educated, morally upright and self-reliant society. Michael is the founder but the organization is currently being led by the CEO, Ms. Ruth Nyakerario through different member volunteer programs under the umbrella of the organization. These include careers and motivation talks to schools, children homes, and to street kids in rehabilitation centres, in addition to our library projects in different schools and children centres as well.
This brave move is not surprising as Michael revealed to Inspire Afrika that he has a desire to empower the youth in Kenya and Africa through transformative mentorship. “I believe that information changes situations and so I endeavour to impact and challenge the mind-sets of our youth in Kenya and Africa through mentorship and value based leadership training,” he said. Lead the Change has mushroomed in several areas in Kenya such as the Dandora slums, Kayole and Machakos. It has even inspired a Zambian version of the same called ‘Believe’ by Dabwitso Zumani Phiri.
His efforts have borne fruits not only for the people he has helped but also for himself. He is currently studying Mechanical Engineering and Leadership at the African Leadership University in Mauritius on full scholarship.
But it doesn’t stop there, he is also closely involved with Give 1 project, a global leadership organization that aims to engage young people as leaders in creating and building strong and healthy communities. “We are working to establish ourselves in Kenya and soon enough we’ll be launching the Give 1 Project Kenyan chapter. Watch out for it!” says Michael.
However, things have not been all rosy throughout his journey. Michael notes that though he got tremendous support from family and friends and continues to reap the benefits, the Kenyan culture, in its consumeristic nature, is somewhat reluctant to fully welcome his organization. “Initially, we would shop and provide food for the street families. However, after much consideration, we sought to change strategies and decided to make it long term by teaching them the skills they would use to earn their own money and fend for themselves. This wasn’t a welcome idea and after a very short time, they stopped attending the meetings,” he laments. Their solution has been to focus their efforts on the children who he describes as ‘hungry for mentorship and determined to achieve more than what they currently have’.
The sky is the limit for this over-achiever. He has already made it to the White House and will soon meet with the president of Mauritius, Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib. He has also been covered widely in Kenyan media.
His advice for young people is to discard fear, both of failure and of success. “Don’t listen to the negative ad pedlars. Surround yourself with the right crowds, stand for your values, and lastly, ‘stay hungry stay foolish’,” he advices. He lives his life on these key principles; ‘Honour God. Be yourself. Never give up. Go for what you want in life.’ And with that he intends to continue revolutionizing Africa.