Auma Obama: More Than Just a Name

Africa Creates

Let’s just get it over with: yes, THAT Obama. But you would never guess, upon meeting Dr. Auma Obama, that she’s the sister of a rather famous man. If anything, it only highlights just how amazing she is in her own right.

We had met briefly at the Storymoja Hay Festival and agreed to get together for an interview. A few days later, I received a phone call from her, asking if I was all right. She was checking that I hadn’t been at Westgate during the terrorist attack. I was so impressed that she would care about a complete stranger; as I discovered, that concern for others is clear in her work.

Auma is the Founder and Director of the Sauti Kuu Foundation. Sauti Kuu is Kiswahili for “Powerful Voices”. The Foundation seeks to give perspective to disadvantaged children and youth by helping them unlock their potential, in particular through Life Skills training and educational opportunities that lead to economic sustainability. The foundation is based on the principle of ‘Self-Help’ and aims to support and motivate the younger generations to take their fate into their own hands and be the makers of their own destiny.

Born and raised in Kenya, she studied in Germany. In fact, her book, And Then Life Happens, was originally written in German! After her doctorate, she worked in the UK for the Children’s Services Department where she developed a passion for helping the youth and then she came back to Kenya, where she worked for almost 5 years for the relief organization CARE International.

For those of you interested in learning more about Auma, the Obama family, Kenyan culture and recent history, I would highly recommend And Then Life Happens which is available on Amazon in both English and German.

Listen to the interview below: