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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Sophia Andrews

Sophia Andrews

19 Jul 2023
United States of America
2023 Finalists Global Student Prize

From a young age, Sophia has believed in the importance of using her passions to make a difference in other people's lives and inspiring her friends to do the same. She has made the empowerment of others her life goal – especially empowerment of young people on the continent of Africa and across the Diaspora.  

Through the creation of her organization Ngoma Kenya when she was 15 years old, Sophia has been able to uplift the lives of countless young people in Africa and help them find their voice. What started out as ballet classes in a small classroom in Nairobi six years ago has turned into a nonprofit organization that reaches children all over Kenya. Ngoma Kenya focuses on education, girls’ rights, and youth empowerment, using the arts as a gateway to self-expression and problem solving. Art therapy is used to reach hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children each week, many of whom have gone through immeasurable pain but are given the space to express themselves in arts classes. During the pandemic, Ngoma Kenya also launched the Stand By Her program, which utilizes music and dance in schools, churches and children’s homes to teach girls about health, hygiene and menstruation. In the last two years, Stand by Her has reached and benefited over 2,500 girls.  

Sophia has already seen the lives of young people transformed through her work in Kenya, with better access to education, healthcare, and most importantly, a chance to have their voices heard. This inspires them to advocate for others, which in turn positively impacts more people. In her university studies, Sophia is focusing on Peace, Global Security and Conflict Resolution, and has carried out research and fieldwork on sex education in East African schools. By studying Swahili, she has been able to engage in many classes focused on sub-Saharan Africa to further expand her knowledge of the region and make her work more impactful. 

Sophia is an Ashoka Young Changemaker, has been featured on the Kelly Clarkson Show, and was selected as one of Washington, D.C.’s 25 Under 25 in 2021. This year she has launched her first book, The Path She Makes, focusing on the stories of inspirational girls she has met who are making an impact in their own communities all around the world. If she wins the Global Student Prize 2023, Sophia will use the funds to build a community centre that not only houses art classes and health programs but can also be used as a refuge and safe space for the community. It will be home to a food pantry, clothing drives, mentorship programs, employment and training opportunities for young people, and much more. Sophia would also use some funds to launch the Ngoma Fellows program for young artists in Kenya aged 18-25, which will help them give back to their communities by bringing the arts to young people. 

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