Meet Our 2021 Global Award Winner, Ekalale Susan
Sponsored by the Aga Khan Foundation, the Global Award recognises an outstanding young person on a Prince's Trust programme across the world.
We are thrilled to announce that the winner of the The Prince’s Global Award 2021 is Ekalale Susan from Kenya!
Ekalale Susan lives in Turkana County, Kenya’s poorest region, with her parents and siblings. Susan’s parents, themselves unable to read or write, have worked hard for years to keep their girls in school – despite often struggling to afford the fees.
Ekalale Susan’s parents take whatever work they can find, as manual labourers or domestic servants, but without a regular wage, life is tough.
Ekalale Susan has always worked hard at school, seizing whatever opportunities have come her way. Two years ago, she joined an after-school leadership and entrepreneurship club, run by the Asante Africa Foundation.
In 2020, Asante became the first organisation in Kenya to trial Prince’s Trust International’s Enterprise Challenge programme, which enables budding entrepreneurs to develop practical business skills through coaching, mentoring, and a virtual business simulation game.
Asante Africa trialled the programme with young people in their after-school clubs, and Ekalale Susan was among the first intake.
"It was a really useful programme, it changed my life because it enabled me to start my business."
When Covid restrictions meant her parents’ work dried up, Ekalale Susan stepped up to support her family. Her idea, inspired by the food business she’d trialled in the Enterprise Challenge programme, was to set up a food stall of her own.
Ekalale Susan’s mother ploughed 5,000 Kenyan shillings (about $45) of start-up funding into her daughter’s business venture – money it had taken her six months to save up. Many parents may have been tempted to hold onto their savings at a time of such hardship and uncertainty. But Ekalale Susan’s mother believed in her daughter, and took the plunge.
At the height of the pandemic, Ekalale Susan’s business was bringing in more than double the amount her mother had been earning as a maid. The grocery stall became the family’s main source of income, and Ekalale Susan’s mother became her full-time business partner.
As well as being higher, the family’s income is now also much more reliable. ‘Now, every day that my mother opens our shop, not a day goes by without her earning,’ Ekalale Susan explains. With their school fees now secure, Ekalale Susan and her younger sister will be able to complete their education.