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December 4, 2022

Filippo's Social Fellowship: Education and equal opportunities in Kenya

Hi everyone, my name is Filippo and I am a Senior Consultant in the Milan office, Italy. I joined Roland Berger at the beginning of 2019, after graduating with a degree in management. Since then, I have been working with our clients mainly in the financial services sector, although over the years I have also had the opportunity to explore a variety of other industries, from industrial goods to food to consumer electronics and others.

I was thrilled to learn about the Roland Berger Social Fellowship initiative – which is a fellowship with a non-profit organization financially supported by Roland Berger – and I had no doubts about applying internally. My desire was to experiment with new ways of spending my time and dedicating my energy by undertaking a relevant volunteering experience while continuing on my personal and professional growth path within Roland Berger.

I decided to support the non-profit organization Karibujua, active in Kenya in the fields of education and equal opportunities. At the beginning of October 2022, I left Milan with five other volunteers from the Karibujua association to go to Kenya and get involved mainly with two projects.

The first project, called Open Your Mind, consists in a cultural exchange with students from local communities. Every day we traveled about an hour by car to visit primary schools in remote villages of the Tsavo region. There, we would carry out educational and recreational activities with children (from 3 to 15 years old) inside and outside the classroom. In this project, we reached approximately 2,500 children, engaging with them in team activities with a collaborative approach, as opposed to the quite rigid teaching approach they are used to.

The second project, called Little Sun Project, consists in the distribution of solar lamps (Little Sun lamps) to underprivileged members of local communities who do not have access to electricity. Prior to leaving for Kenya, the other volunteers and I organized a fundraising appeal, offering our contacts the chance to "adopt" a Little Sun solar lamp in return for a donation. Once in Kenya, we personally went family-by-family to distribute the lamps. With sundown being around 6 pm every day, these lamps enable families to carry out daily activities (like cooking, or doing homework when the children are at home), without using polluting substances like paraffin to light a fire.

This experience provided me with many takeaways, but I would like to mention two of them. First, the awareness that too often I take for granted my access to education (and to a proper level of education). Having the chance to observe a different education system and a different reality, for instance where children have to walk miles to get to school in the morning, made me realize how lucky I was to be born in a country and in a family that gave me the possibility to receive a proper education, go to university and choose my career path. This awareness will increase my commitment to give back to society, for instance by continuing my involvement in volunteering, particularly in the education and equal opportunities space (as a matter of fact, with Karibujua we are already at work on the next projects – stay tuned!). Second, I will always have in my mind's eye the big, big smiles of the children and the people of the local communities that I met, notwithstanding the fact that they live with way less than what I (we) have, as I will think about what really makes them/us happy.

I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a beautiful initiative and I am motivated to focus on impactful and sustainable work for our clients and the wider community at Roland Berger.

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