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Meet Kenyan Beauties and Brains in the US: Vote now for Miss Kenya USA [PHOTOS]

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Voting is now open for Miss Kenya USA pageant as the clock ticks towards the much awaited colorful gala event set to take place on July 6th 2019 in Renton, Washington.

The Miss Kenya USA Organization’s objective is to empower young Kenyan women here in the United States through engaging them in events and programs that will enhance their educational background as well as growth within the Diaspora through philanthropic work.

VISION

The pageant’s ultimate vision is to allow each young lady that is participating in the pageant to have an avenue where they can express themselves freely while exercising their goals towards development. It also hopes to mold these young women to be leaders of tomorrow, by helping them adapt to roles and programs that will utilize their skills to their maximum potential.

Remember you can vote for your contestants daily: YOU CAN VOTE HERE ANY TIME

The Pageant was the brainchild of Mr. Michael a.k.a “Frakaz” Bisonga, under the Frakaz Entertainment Group based in Houston, TX. The Pageant was always hosted in Houston over the Memorial Weekend in 2006 saw the first actual pageant take place.

“Our ultimate goal is to impact one girl child at a time that will in turn produce a ripple effect within our community of development and self sufficiency,” says the founder.

We hope to link each one of the contestants with an organization that is already working at social and/or developmental issues in Kenya as well as here in the USA; to further the purpose of their platforms. Lastly we shall encourage these young women to market and be the best goodwill ambassadors for Kenya in the Diaspora. These women shall execute but not limited to the following expectations:

  • Organization Ambassadors
  • Community Development and leadership
  • Good stewardship
  • Pageant Platform Driven
  • Accomplish set Goals
  • Share their success stories to motivate others

She adds.

YOU CAN VOTE HERE ANY TIME

Here are the beauties and their bios:

CAROLYNE NGANGA

My names are Carolyne Nganga. Currently, I am located in Washington DC and I am pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Nursing was and still is a career path I knew I wanted to pursue since I was 13 years old back in Kenya, because of financial constraints, I did not get a chance to pursue the career on completion of my high school education. Just to back up, I dropped out of high school due to lack of school fees and was out of school for 2 years. During this time, I got an opportunity to work as a waitress (at the age of 15) in a family owned restaurant in Nairobi. Right before
my 18th Birthday, I had enough savings to go back to high school and I proceeded. Working as a young teen exposed me to real struggles a lower class Kenyan face every day, struggles faced by young people due to lack of an Opportunity to pursue education and challenges of working teens. The experience built my character and thrust me towards desiring more not only to better my life but that of our community.

My platform, something I have yearned for a long period now is 1st education (every child matters, is my theme) 2nd is working towards curbing child-maternal mortality and lastly preventive care (teaching the community about all modifiable risk factors in an effort to reduce or better, prevent certain illness that have plagued our Community today for instance Hypertension, diabetes and stroke) I plan to use my skills in combination with high healthcare technology am exposed to here in the US to
instigate change in healthcare system in Kenya especially in rural areas.

My voluntary experiences include free clinics within the DC, Virginia and Maryland area, feeding the homeless in DC, support of several causes for instance runway for cure cancer awareness. I am excited to be part of this pageant because I believe the experience I will get will guide me into my Platforms.

CYNDEE MULINGE

YOU CAN VOTE HERE ANY TIME

My name is Cyndee Mulinge, and I was born in Kajiado and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. I am a graduate of Central Washington University with a Bachelor’s in Social Service and Psychology. Zealous in expressing my love for Kenyan culture while here in America, I work as an assistant for the African Print Takeover, a movement which brings African culture to the Northwest through fashion. Also, passionate to give back to the community, I regularly volunteer for various non-profit organizations such as Cry Out (an after-school program using music, dance, and creativity to empower youth to lead, pursue justice for themselves and others oppressed in their communities) and Mary’s Place, an organization which helps Seattle’s homeless by providing shelter.

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I love giving back to my community! In continually doing so, I noticed a lack of follow through after organizations donate to children’s homes. How often does one check in after giving to see what else is needed? Thus, my Miss Kenya USA 2019 platform is charitable giving through Reach A Life Foundation. For the past year, I have partnered with the Nairobi-based “Reach A Life Foundation” to emphasize follow through by providing food, clothing, and tuition for orphans in various children’s homes. There is a sense of belonging when you know you have people who are looking out for you, who cares and supports you.  It is essential for us to show these orphanages that we are here, and willing to provide them with life’s basic needs and assist them with their major needs.

R.A.L.F has successfully provided support to 11 children’s homes, amongst them: A home specifically for children with disabilities, and another with children who are HIV+. My goal is to use my title as Miss Kenya USA 2019 to inspire my community, to further my education, and to aid R.A.L.F in expanding their reach to even more children homes in need. It would be an honor to be your Miss. Kenya USA 2019!

Do as well as you can, with what you have.

HELLEN KAMAU

Hellen Kamau is a Kenyan native who currently resides in Birmingham, AL. She is a graduate from Auburn University in Auburn, AL and an incoming student at Samford University’s, McWorter School of Pharmacy in Birmingham, AL. In addition to these studies, she is also getting her master’s degree in Public Health. Her heart is for her community and that is where she desires to begin touching lives.
The journey to achieve a doctorate degree will expand what she’s been longing for in improving her community and the future healthcare systems in Kenya. Giving back in the area of healthcare is the mountain she stands on.
She is also associated with other organizations such as the National African Student Association(NAFSA), BLAQK EMPIRE, and Off the Block Kids Athletics, which is based in Kenya. NAFSA educates and guides students by helping them make a smooth ransition to getting jobs, lowering student loans, and to tackling obstacles faced while progressing into the work field.
BLAQK EMPIRE’s core values are grounded on empathy, gratitude and ambition. It’s main goal is to empower each of us to be better, to love ourselves and others while changing each community at a time. And lastly, Off the Block Kids Athletics is an organization based in Kenya that she has had an opportunity to be an ambassador of for the past 3 years. This organization works to get children involved, active and healthy through athletics. She has helped raise funds that have allowed the children to enjoy activities such as track and field, and providing the proper equipment. Through this organization they have been able to educate young children about their health, eating habits, and how to take care of there bodies at an early age. This organization aides in keeping children out of the streets, while helping them achieve their dreams and allowing a safe and fun place for children to simply be children.
All of these organizations stand for pride, unity and love. This candidate defines her future and the future of her beloved country by simply being our best versions. Miss Kenya USA gives a push to magnify what’s been simplified.

WENDY ODUOR

Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change that you wish to see in the World”, a statement Wendy Oduor desires to embody in her generation.

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As a fashionista, host and speaker, the recent graduate from Parsons School of Design in New York City believes that it is time to rise and champion the cause and solutions for mental health awareness.

Mental health remains a silent epidemic affecting millions of Kenyans. The lax mentality and approach as a nation towards mental health has instead oppressed those living with (knowing or unknowingly) and affected by various psychological diagnosis rather than leading them to a road of freedom and recovery.

After tragically losing her brother to suicide in 2014, Wendy, like many others, retrieved to silence. Wendy eventually understood that pain can birth purpose when allowed. This helped Wendy to begin sharing about her experience as a guest speaker at social events and utilizing social media to create awareness and a safe space where people break their silence and are encouraged to seek professional help. Wendy reaches over 100 people when hosting her weekly Mental Health Monday live on Instagram. In addition to creating awareness in the diaspora, Wendy also made it her mission to visit a mental health institution in Kenya to begin building relationships, understanding the logistics of the Kenyan health care system and gain first hand insight from Kenyan health professionals to see how to successfully combat Mental Health in Kenya, as a long term goal.

Wendy Oduor is embarking on the Miss Kenya USA pageant with a mission to promote mental health awareness across the diaspora and Kenya through education and action. This mission will entail dismantling countless generational errors in how Kenyans have dealt with matters affecting the mind, through constant conversations and teachings about mental health using but not limited to online platforms, schools, churches, and public events. The latter step which is about action, include result geared action plans put together by societal members alongside mental health care professionals to successfully guide individuals to their breakthroughs in the hopes to end the silent epidemic of mental health.

NEEMA NYAMBURA KIMARU

Age: 23 (soon to be 24)

Education: In 2017 I received my Bachelors Degree in Communication Studies and Marketing at Meredith College. Meredith is an all women’s liberal arts college in Raleigh, NC. After receiving my degree I traveled to work abroad in Asia for a year and a half as an English teacher! I have recently relocated back to the USA permanently and am currently working as a Communication Specialist in the Triangle Area.

Platform: Inclusion and Education for First Generation Kenyan American Youth

This cause is so near and dear to me because in so many ways it stems from how I have come to define myself and my own identity as a Kenyan American. I see a very great need in our diaspora community to include and educate our youth about where they come from. Especially as more and more Kenyans settle here in the States and have families, it’s apparent that their children are sometimes clueless about what it means to be Kenyan or even worse, they don’t care. Many don’t even know how to speak Kiswahili and definitely not their tribal language. I know this is an issue that has been prevalent in our communities for quite some time because I and my fellow Kenyan American peers were (and still are) this way!

Here is a little bit of background about me. I have always been proud to be a Kenyan and always maintained that I grew up in a true Kenyan home for the most part. Everything from the food we ate, the church we attended, and the family oriented priorities we held contributed to that. I was also very fortunate to grow up in an active Kenyan Community and to have traveled to Kenya often growing up. Through all of this I did learn a lot about Kenya historically, culturally, and also about my own families personal history. However, English is my first language and we always spoke English at home. My parents and extended family always struggled to try to teach me Kiswahili and Kikuyu. As I have gotten older I have taken it upon myself to learn. I still struggle to speak and overcome shyness of speaking, but I can understand about 50% while listening to a conversation so I have improved quite a bit! My goal this year is to become conversational by years end.

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Many first generation children and young adults are in the same situation as me and it does make me very sad. Even though there is still a lot for me to learn, I am a big advocate for this cause and I feel that if we come together as a community we can find a way, many ways actually, to better include and educate our youth. Other nationalities have done wonders in this department so I am currently studying their methods. My dream is to operate a non profit dedicated to this cause! Should I win or place at all in the Miss Kenya USA pageant this year my winnings will go towards this endeavor.

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Africa

Feds: Nigerian scammer arrested in $50M scheme that targeted Chicago companies

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A man from Nigeria has been arrested after being accused of running a $50 million scheme that targeted Chicago companies.

Olalekan Jacob Ponle allegedly got an unnamed Chicago-based company to wire transfer more than $15 million. Another local company lost $2.3 million, but investigators believe the scheme is worth more than $50 million.

Sources pointed WGN Investigates to his Instagram feed which looks like a lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Here’s how prosecutors said the alleged scheme worked.

Either he or his co-conspirators were able to gain access to company’s email accounts through a phishing attack.

In one of the Chicago cases, they allegedly sent an email that appeared to be from the company’s Chief Accounting Officer to another employee ordering the a transfer.

The criminal complaint says “The fraudulent email was almost identical to a prior, legitimate email” right down to the name on the bank account. But the account “number” was different.

Federal agents said Ponle’s scheme spanned at least 9 months last year.

During that time, one of his Instagram posts read: “Money don’t make a man, a man makes money.”

Ponle is a Nigerian national and was taken into custody in the United Arab Emirates. UAE expelled him and federal agents brought Ponle to Chicago Thursday night for an initial court appearance Friday morning.

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A detention hearing is schedule for late next week.

By WGN

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Africa

Kenya ‘raring to go’ on free trade deal with US, Uhuru says

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Kenya’s negotiations with the US on an unprecedented two-way trade deal are on schedule to begin on July 7 despite difficulties posed by the coro-navirus pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Friday.

“Our team is raring to go,” he assured an online forum sponsored by the Washington-based Corporate Council on Africa.Kenya is aiming to create “sustainable jobs for our people” through what would be the first bilateral free-trade agreement between a sub-Saharan country and the nation with the world’s biggest economy, the President added.

The US also has much to gain from concluding such an arrangement, Mr Kenyatta suggested.Kenya is part of a continent that “requires everything from toothbrushes to machine tooling,” he said.

Mr Kenyatta also sought to allay concerns that a bilateral deal with the US could undermine the African Con-tinental Free Trade Area that is due to be implemented at the start of 2021.The Africa-wide initiative is “very important to us,” the President said, noting that Kenya has worked hard to ensure its success.

He suggested that a Kenya-US bilateral pact can complement the continental trade agreement and could serve as a model to be replicated by other individual countries.

“If we are successful in these negotiations, Kenya can act as a lead or guide,” the President said. “We will be the guinea pig so that many other African countries can follow suit.”

READ ALSO:   Kenyan man in US: Yes, I defrauded two Universities of over Shs 75 Million

But Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, who also spoke at Friday’s forum, said the US has paid more attention to the possibility of a bilateral deal with Kenya than to the multilateral Africa trade agreement that will soon come into force.

While hailing the significance of a US-Kenya trade deal, Mr Akufo-Addo lamented that “the emphasis of America on exploring opportunities on the continent has not been quite as intense as some of us would have wished.”

Florizelle Liser, chief executive of the Corporate Council on Africa, said in an interview following the forum that the US has in fact worked to facilitate the Africa-wide trade agreement.A bilateral deal with Kenya is not an impediment to Africa’s efforts to forge a multilateral free-trade grouping, she added. The US side “understands that Kenya is part of the EAC,” Ms Liser said.

“They’re already looking at ways they can pull in other East African countries.”It could take as long as two years to conclude a Kenya-US trade deal, she added.

President Kenyatta noted in his remarks to the forum that Kenya was especially keen to start bilateral negoti-ations with the US because the existing multilateral preferential trade package known as Agoa is due to expire in 2025.

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But President Akufo-Addo is not prepared to acquiesce to that projected termination date for Agoa. African countries that have benefited from Agoa should “look at the possibility of extending it,” he said.

Ms Liser, whose 27-year-old association includes most US companies operating in Africa, pointed out that it is up to the US Congress to decide whether Agoa’s scheduled expiration in five years will actually come to pass.The still-spreading pandemic is in-tensifying Africa’s need for increased trade and investment, the Kenyan and Ghanaian heads of state agreed.

Kenya managed to save many lives through swift implementation of virus-containment measures, Mr Kenyatta noted.

But, he acknowledged, those moves led to a sharp economic contraction and widespread loss of livelihoods.President Akufo-Addo pointed out that Ghana has recorded one of the lowest virus-related death rates in the world.His country has counted 15,473 cases of coronavirus, resulting in 95 deaths.Kenya has reported only about one-third as many cases but has seen 135 lives lost to the pandemic.

At the same time, Kenya Airways (KQ), grounded for the past three months by the coronavirus pandemic, will resume domestic flights in “the next couple of days,” President Kenyatta said.

The return to in-country service will coincide with the lifting of Kenya’s lockdown on travel between counties, Mr Kenyatta noted.The government will soon set a date for KQ to resume flying internationally, the President added.

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“We’re doing everything we can to make sure we are back in the skies,” Mr Kenyatta said.“We’re eager to open up, but we have to make sure we all stay safe.”

The President’s announcement came on the same day that KQ chief executive Allan Kilavuka revealed that the airline has lost an estimated $100 million so far this year due to the pandemic and related lockdowns.Losses could approach $500 million by the end of 2020, Mr Kilavuka added.KQ had been struggling financially long before the coronavirus emerged.

It lost about $122 million in 2019, compared to $71 million the previous year.

By Sunday Nation.

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Africa

Somali ‘incapable’ of removing Shabaab – US

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Somalia’s army remains “incapable” of ousting Al-Shabaab from its strongholds, enabling the insurgents to exercise continued control over large parts of the country, the US State Department said on Wednesday.

As another indication of failure to stifle Shabaab militants after 13 years of counterinsurgency warfare, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group last year carried out more than 1,000 attacks inside Somalia and in northern Kenya, the State Department noted in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2019.

The Somalia section of the annual global survey estimates that Al-Shabaab has between 7,000 and 9,000 members.

FUNDING

The group funds its actions through “illegal charcoal production and exports, taxation of local populations and businesses, and by means of remittances and other money transfers from the Somali diaspora,” the report adds.

The State Department does not offer an estimate of the size of Shabaab’s war chest.

Targeted operations carried out by Somali military units trained and equipped by the United States are said to stand as exceptions to the national army’s ineffectiveness.

But the report makes no mention of the intensified campaign of air attacks launched by the US Africa Command (Africom) against Al-Shabaab targets.

Africom carried out 63 such strikes last year, compared to 47 in 2018 and 35 in 2017.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan man in US: Yes, I defrauded two Universities of over Shs 75 Million

SECURITY REFORMS

Somali officials “failed to implement vital national security reforms and pass legislation that could help enhance the government’s capacity to secure and govern effectively at all levels,” the report observes.

But it finds that the federal government “remained a willing partner to US efforts to improve the quality of policing entities throughout the country.”

The Kenyan government is also described as a “willing US partner” in investigating, prosecuting and responding to terrorist attacks.

However, the report notes that Kenyan security forces were reported to have engaged in human rights violations in their counter-terrorism operations. Alleged abuses included extra-judicial killings, disappearances and torture.

DUSITD2 ATTACK

But the Kenyan police and army are lauded for their response to the January 2019 DusitD2 Hotel attack. Their performance on that occasion was “in line with international standards for protection of human rights in response to terrorist threats and attacks,” the report says.

Kenya’s prosecution of suspected terrorists exhibits both progress and shortcomings, the US finds.

“Terrorism case trials often proceeded slowly and inefficiently,” the report states, noting that the three remaining defendants in the 2013 Westgate Mall attack were still on trial at the end of 2019.

“Significant victories” achieved last year included the reinstatement of convictions and 15-year sentences of two Iranians involved in a disrupted bomb plot in 2012.

READ ALSO:   [VIDEO] Revealed: The tough, rough life of Kenyans living in the US - TBT

Also last year, a Kenyan court found three of four defendants guilty of the 2015 Garissa University massacre.

By Nation.co.ke

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