At only 23, Dakki has achieved what many others dream of, she’s risen above the confusion of those her age. She has a big dream and a big drive to see that girls in Northern Kenya are empowered enough to become the best that they can be. She is a lawyer and runs her own foundation, Child of a Nomad. Her foundation was awarded the do good grant from the Safaricom foundation. We caught up with her and asked her a few questions
- Who is Dakki Barako, in a few words?
I am a 23 year old lawyer. I love to read. I love law and I am passionate about Northern Kenya and the rights of the marginalized in the society.
2.Tell us about your educational background till to date.
I was in Father John Memorial primary school. I attended the Kenya High School, for my Secondary school and I got an A- in my KCSE. I graduated from the University of Nairobi, with a Bachelor of Laws Degree, Second Class Honors, Upper Division and I am now at the Kenya School of Law for my Advocates Training Program.
3.I know you have read many books, who is your best writer? why?
This is a hard question! I would have to say Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I am currently obsessed with African writers and Chimamanda is top on my list. She has the gift of telling stories beautifully and she highlights African identity well.
- Many do not know about Child Of a Nomad foundation, Elaborate on its goals and objectives.
Child of a Nomad is an organization that is driven by young people who want to be change agents for Northern Kenya. We seek to find local solutions to local problems. Northern Kenya has for a long time been marginalized economically, socially and politically and child of a Nomad seeks to remedy this by working with different stakeholders.
- Congratulations for getting a grant from Safaricom, How will the finance be used to make this foundation reach its objectives?
We have activities lined up for the four thematic areas under which we operate. The thematic areas are Access to and Quality of Education, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Countering Retrogressive Cultural Practices and building the capacity of Young people. The finances will be used to implement those activities.
- How long did it take you to come up with the whole idea of Child Of a Nomad? Did it cost you anything?
I first conceived the idea Of Child of a Nomad when I was in High School. I was around 15/16 years old. I always knew that I wanted to give back, I just did not know how. I actualized my dream last year after I completed my undergraduate studies. Hmmm did it cost me anything? Yes! Initially, I had to use my own resources to actualize my idea.
- What are some of the challenges that you faced since this incredible idea came? How did you deal with those challenges?
I faced quite a number of challenges. The biggest challenge has been convincing potential partners and stakeholders of the vision of Child of a Nomad. Many people still doubt the capacity of young people. I faced a lot of rejection. Rejection often leads to self-doubt and I overcame that with the encouragement from my loved ones. Self-doubt can be crippling and my belief in my vision enabled me to look past the challenges and stay focused.
- What is your favorite quote that keeps you moving?
It has to be Maya Angelou’s quote! ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style’ This quote speaks to me and I would love to embody it.
- Since necessity is the mother of invention, what made you see the need of this foundation in Northern Kenya?
Northern Kenya has been marginalized economically, socially and politically since independence. We are so many steps behind the rest of the country. I feel that the older generation and the past government regimes have failed us. It is time to change this narrative. My belief that young people should be at the forefront in changing this trajectory of Northern Kenya inspired me to form this foundation.
- Which methods are appropriate to advocate against the cultural and societal stereotypes against the female gender in Northern Kenya?
I think advocacy is the best tool to counter retrogressive cultural practices. The reason why retrogressive cultural practices are prevalent in Northern Kenya is because the communities do not know any better. Advocacy should be used to change the mindsets of the community. Advocacy will also assist in empowering of the women and girls in Northern Kenya. Once a person is empowered they are able to defend their rights.
- What important message do you have for the people of Northern Kenya about cultural stereotypes against the female gender?
My message to the people of Northern Kenya is that cultural stereotypes against the female gender have been passed by time. Girls are equally competent in all aspects of life as boys. Our region cannot prosper if half of the population (the girls and women) are left behind. Let us invest in our women and girls and accord them the same rights as the boys. To the women and girls of Northern Kenya, let’s be brave and demand our rights.
- Child of a Nomad being an online platform, how can the illiterate young women benefit from it? What mechanisms are put in place to reach them?
Child of a Nomad may have started as an online platform but we intend to have a hands-on approach in implementing our goals. We intend to work with the community at the grassroots level side by side.
- What channels/methods will be used to create awareness about this project?
We will heavily rely on the internet. It has been really resourceful in enabling us to get our messages across. We also intend to use the local media outlets.
- You have already stood out to inspire many, so what do you do daily to maintain that level, set an example and be a light to many alienated young women?
What do I do on a daily basis? Mmmmh, I follow my dreams on a daily basis. In doing so, my hope is that other young women are encouraged to do the same and live a fulfilled life.
- Which virtue do you overwhelmingly possess that you feel you are obsessed with?
I am extremely focused. When I set out to do something, I follow through with it.
- They say that fortune favors the bold, what gave you the boldness and confidence to start such a great foundation?
My love for Northern Kenya gave me the confidence to start this foundation. I am really passionate about Northern Kenya and my love for the region enabled me to take the plunge. I also was questioning whether the world needed me and if so how? And the answers to these questions enabled me to know my passion and purpose in life.
17.To find a young lady from Northern K pioneering such a foundation is a big deal. To whom do you attribute all your success?
Aaaaah I would say God and my family. My faith in God has enabled me to believe in myself and my capabilities. My family has also been instrumental in my journey. My parents and siblings are my best friends and my biggest cheerleaders. I am so grateful for their love and support.
18 .How do you balance your education/studies and your efforts to make this foundation a success?
I take my education very seriously. I know I will only be in school for a certain period of time so I give it my best. It is all about prioritizing and being organized!
- Did your encounter with Safaricom sponsoring this mind-blowing idea change your personality?
Haha, it has not changed my personality! I consider myself a grounded individual.
- If you have achieved this today, where do you see yourself in ten years?
10 years? Wow! First female President of the Republic of Kenya?! Lupita said that no matter where you are from your dreams are valid.
- Which important message do you want to pass to all young women in Northern Kenya?
I want to tell the young women of Northern Kenya that the promise of equality is not the same as achieving equality. We have to demand for our rights. Rights are not given, they are taken. Let us strive to attain our full potential and live a fulfilled life. Let’s demand our rightful place at the table.