MAKUENI, November 14 – US Open champion Serena Williams has pledged to continue her charity activities in Kenya.
Speaking after opening the Serena Williams Secondary School in Makueni on Friday, Serena said she would continue with her quest to help provide education to children in arid and semi arid areas in Kenya.
“I am honoured to have opened a school named me and hopefully it will be the first of many that we can open in Kenya and bring education close to children in hardship areas. Barrack Obama went from a child in a farm to president of the United States so it’s amazing how much one can achieve through education,” she said.
The tiny Matooni village in Eastern Province was in carnival mood as fervent residents celebrated the opening of the school and the tennis star was mover by the welcome she received.
“I am so honoured and feel so special to come out here and see all people out here and excited and happy. This is the best achievement I think have done in my life and am so excited to be a part of this. It’s a long time initiative for me and I think it’s the first of many visits I will definitely be back,” she said.
Minister for Education Professor Sam Ongeri thanked Serena and HP for their efforts in building the school.
“I am very encouraged that we now have children who will compete with the rest of the world because technology is here,” he said.
“We need more secondary schools to accommodate the young boys and girls. Last year we had 8.2 million children in primary school and they need secondary schools to absorb them and building this type of school will go along way in helping them achieve that,” he observed.
Serena also had words of advice for young children who want to take up the sport.
“One has to be dedicated and parents play a major role. I wouldn’t have done this without my mother and father and they played a major role in this…
The 27 year old will next head to West Africa on the final part of her trip, “I was in South Africa, and I will then leave for Senegal where I will again get involved in projects similar to what I have done in Kenya and South Africa.”
The school which was built through a partnership between Hewlett Packard, Build African School will open its doors for the first time in January 2009.
Build African School founder Patrick O’Sullivan said; “My goal remains to take education to the world. I want people who have left the continent to be successful to come back and help the continents.”