three dot dash

To fit the happy and uplifting vibes that a Friday brings, we thought we would share an inspiring story all the way from Kenya.

Jessica Teutonico was the envy of many young women her age when she began working in New York City with luxury brands such as Tom Ford, Gucci and Vogue after leaving home in her late teens to work in Fashion.  While the glitz and glamour of the industry enamoured her initially, Jessica started to realise that something was missing and her life felt unfulfilled.

A lifelong curiosity in Kenya, led Jessica to join a working volunteer tourism trip to the country while working with Vogue. Once arriving in Kenya and working with the local communities, Jessica knew her life would never be the same again. Two weeks after arriving back in New York City, Jessica quit her job and founded the non-for-profit organisation ‘Under the Acacia’ in 2005, which focuses on sustainable community development in Kenya. Since this date Jessica has been working tirelessly with her team to fund community projects such as schools and clean water facilities. During this time, Jessica also became a mentor to a young Kenyan girl through the program Three Dot Dash (part of the We Are Family Foundation- WAFF).

“I thought I would change her life with my knowledge and connections. In fact, she has changed my life” Jessica now says of her young mentee.

“She and so many young people like her are unnumbered in their quest to change the world. It’s addictive.”

Jessica emphasises that embracing and involving the younger generation is imperative to meaningful change. Younger Generations are crucial, as their involvement ensures that the work Jessica and her team are doing today, lasts long after they have gone.

To read the full extent of Jessica’s journey click here: http://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2015/sep/09/the-mentor-i-thought-i-would-change-her-life-in-fact-she-changed-mine

To see how Under the Acacia used 70,000 bottle caps to create a learning centre for the small rural community Loita in Kenya, click on the video link below:

http://www.undertheacacia.org/learningcenter.html