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Virginia Wambui puts the spotlight on celebrities who thrive from giving

This year, droves of international acts stormed 254. While majority were here for wild ragers that left the country buzzing, such as the most recent, Ty Dolla $ign, others were here for a dive in the wild. Celebrated DJ Snake, who took a break from the decks to enjoy being one with nature indulged in sundowners at the glorious Mara.

While these heavy hitters stole all the spotlight, a number of other acts, both local and international were behind the scenes doing what they do best — the art of giving. Take the King of Kapungala, Daddy Owen.

The famed hitmaker, when he’s not killin’ it on stage runs Malaika Trust, a foundation he founded five years back to help create awareness for physically challenged individuals. The foundation was an aid for society to view persons living with disabilities as equals as well as supporting their rights.

It has an annual award, Malaika Tribute Awards, that celebrate the achievements of people living with disabilities. About a fortnight ago, the trust held its fifth edition, and the proud hitmaker could barely contain his glee talking about how far he has come.

“In 2001, I lost sight in one of my eyes after a harrowing experience. It was difficult not only adjusting, but also swimming through waters of discrimination. This prompted me to set up the foundation.

I wanted to be able to help someone who was stigmatised, so they wouldn’t feel alone,” shared Owen. The King of Kapungala is not the only one from the gospel fraternity that has his hand in charity.

Celebrated artiste, Eko Dydda, has impacted the lives of many youths through soccer tournaments. “Ghetto Championship sets up various football tournament that involve youths between different slums. The aim of the foundation is to unite youths from different backgrounds and tribes and through that to also nurture their talents,” said the Vidole hitmaker.

The foundation has garnered support from major brands and corporates, who reward the champions. Dydda also started a movement dubbed, Tribe All Generation, that encourages people to intermarry, live in different parts of the country and to be liberal. On the secular front, Willy M Tuva of Mseto East Africa this year launched the Mzazi Foundation, which aims to help the less fortunate in society by catering to their basic needs; shelter, food and clothing.

The project now has a footing in various counties. Internationally, throughout the year, we’ve seen droves of celebrities visit Kenya for a humanitarian course. Game of thrones star, Nikolaj Coster- Waldau early in the year visited 254 as a UNDP goodwill ambassador to create awareness to poverty by supporting the global goals set to tackle world’s challenges.

His visit also aimed at promoting gender equality by supporting women empowerment and for that, the acclaimed actor refereed at women’s soccer tournament in Nairobi. Recently, English award-winning hitmaker Ellie Goulding was in the country where she signed to be the Global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep).

Taking up her new environment role and her love for wildlife, Goulding, visited the Giraffe Manor and the Maasai Mara to learn more of the threats facing wildlife.

Via her Instagram, the Love Me Like You Do hitmaker wrote that her focus will be on amplifying the activism of young people committed to creating a bright future and also to save the lives and habitats of people and animals by cleaning up our air and seas, fighting climate change and protecting species.

After her charitable visit last year, Canadian YouTube star Lilly Singh, popularly known as Superwoman, continues to impact many. The #GirlLove project aims to educate Maasai girls and create jobs in Samburu.

The girls make the traditional bracelets, which Lilly puts up on her YouTube and sells worldwide. In 2016, over 30,000 pieces were sold which resulted to over 600 girls getting an education and in return more jobs for women in the community.

Singer and actress, Demi Lovato also made her way to 254 for her second visit on a charity mission courtesy of WE, a non-governmental organisation. Lovato is the ambassador for ME to WE and Free the Children Organisations. The organisations help to build schools for poor children and provide them with school necessities.

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