Sauti Kuu founder Auma Obama has defended her remarks on emancipation of the Luo community, saying the culture of begging must end.
Auma said the culture of “gonya gonya” (asking for handouts) must be eradicated by empowering the young generation.
Auma had last week received social media backlash from Luo’s who accused her of terming them beggars.
On Monday, she said wanted to awaken the community. “I want my community members to start realising they can actually do things for themselves. That they can help themselves without having to constantly be in a situation where they depend on others,” Auma said on Monday when former US President Barack Obama launched the Sauti Kuu Foundation in K’Ogelo, Siaya county.
She promised to keep on reminding the world that she doesn’t want her community to be that of beggars.
“I’m not calling Luos beggars. I’m telling Luos that we need to start taking care of ourselves,” she said amid applause.
Auma said the begging culture was a result of failure by successful members to create job opportunities for others.
She said the majority of youth flock to urban centres in the hope of making it, not knowing that the best opportunities “lie in the very villages they are running away from”.
“I built this centre because I asked young people ‘what will make you stay’ and they mentioned all the things they didn’t’ have that they thought they would find in the city,” she said.
“I then explained to them that ‘you won’t get them because in the city, if you don’t have money, you end up in a slum and in the slum you get nothing’.”
Auma asked like-minded Kenyans to partner with her for the initiative to be countrywide.
“Let us stop the gonya gonya syndrome … I insist. If you are mad at me, come and join me here. Let us work together … I will show how not to do it,” she said.
“Don’t exploit your communities; help your communities. This is a pilot … it’s only the beginning. We will do this somewhere else.”
Sauti Kuu centre has football and basketball pitches and a training centre for people aged at least four. At the centre, peop