Introducing the August 2013 Fellows!

Despite the Jomo Kenyatta fire, which meant delayed flights, an exhausting 15 hour bus journey from Uganda and a fair amount of confusion, our second lot of 2013 Fellows finally made it to Nakuru! An enthusiastic bunch with a real zeal to kick start the programme here they are introducing each other!


Nils on Anna……….
Anna just came from Tanzania. A trustee of a charity taking care of orphans and vulnerable children. She joined Balloon Kenya to gain the entrepreneurial mind and skill set to expand their income-generating projects for women. But really, Anna is here because continuing ‘life as usual’ in the UK is no option any more ever since she saw the poverty in Africa for the first time. Anna is a 21-year-old, has a BSc in Biology from Durham and would love to go to Columbia for her master’s. She’s got a unique sense of humour and therefore increasingly works with posters to signal when she’s joking.

Maxine on Will……..
There once was a man called Will,
Whose looks really could kill.
Will Smith is his name,
Not the real one (shame!)
The true Brit he does fulfil.

Slim, dark, tall,
And wit, he has it all.
His jokes are outrageous,
The laughs are contagious
And over sport magazines he does trawl.

Will’s an experienced traveller-
Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya!
A lover of history,
With an air of mystery,
And who knows, a good entrepreneur​?

Marceline on Eloise………
Eloise Cromwell heard about Balloon Kenya through her academic tutor whilst on placement. She holds a degree in Social Work from Northampton University. She wants to gain further insight into business entrepreneurship and hopes this experience can be applied to the notion of social enterprise. She would ideally like to apply her learning in future practice.

Tameka on Jasmine……….
Jasmine is 21 years old and was born and raised in England. She is a recent Social and Community Development graduate from the University of Northampton. Jasmine has a keen interest in social enterprise and looks forward to a future in that field. She also enjoys meeting new people and in the future would love to take time out to travel.

Jasmine on Tameka……….
Tameka was born in Antigua, went to school in Montreal and now lives in the UK. She enjoys spending time with her two sons and is a recent graduate from the University of Northampton in Social and Community Development. She is a Firm believer in empowering people to become the best that they aspire to be. She has a passion for psychology and
would like to pursue a career in mental health nursing and child psychology. She also has a keen interest in social enterprise and would like to use the transferable knowledge gained from her Balloon Kenya experience to impact on her community work both back in the UK and Antigua.

Toby on Chris Simmons……….
Chris has leaped head first into the Balloon Kenya program fresh out of a placement year with the Sales and Marketing department of Yale. He’s ready and yearning to spread some of his somewhat flamboyant business acumen to fellows and Kenyan entrepreneurs alike. Whilst eager to help bring about both social and economic change in Nakuru through responsible business Chris also hopes Balloon Kenya will help him fully liberate his entrepreneurial spirit, a spirit he has had little chance to express.

Dan on Toby………..
21 year-old Toby hails from the quaint market town of Bury St Edmunds and has just graduated from Sheffield University with a BA in History and Politics. Despite little experience in business, Toby looks forward to working in Kenya as he has studied conflict in the country at University. Toby fell in love with Kenya after visiting Mombasa in 2008 with his family and can’t wait to see more of the country.

Hymn on Verena………
Verena, from Germany, is currently finishing her PhD on “Security Human Rights & Organised Crime in Brazil” at UCL in London. Her research has been featured in media, such as BBC and CNN. She has also done community work in Nicaragua and Brazil. Verena was recently offered the opportunity to do an internship with UNODC in Vienna, Austria but decided to come to Balloon Kenya instead because going to Africa was one of her big dreams. In her free time, she enjoys dancing Salsa and is fanatical about Capoeira.

Verena on Hymn……..
Beat – running – animation – Rotterdam – Protestant – sweets – Cantonese – Nike – thoughtful – Beijing – Brown eyes – creative marketing – funny – Mandarin – water bottle – Dutch – bass guitar – Chemical Brothers – Photoshop – graphic design – HongKong – media – Wonton noodles – black hair – marathon – photography – 30 years old – advertising – Djembe drum – Matrix – Motion – Japanese.

Will on Maxine……..
Maxine is going into her 3rd year at UCL in a degree which is so terrifyingly intellectual that I can’t even say it but in short is something to do with pharmaceuticals. She is a compulsive napper and can literally sleep the whole time as I found to my cost sat next to her on a 16 hour coach journey…clearly my conversation wasn’t very interesting! She is sharp and witty and has used these skills to cannily strike up friendships with pretty much all of the clothes sellers of Nakuru within the first week, Macklemore would definitely be proud!

Chris Simmons on Dan……..
Bearing a name similar to a food synonymous with bad smell and poor taste, after knowing Dan for almost a week it is clear that he certainly lives up to this mantle. Going into his fourth year at Sheffield Hallam, Dan is working towards a BA in Business Studies and has recently completed a placement year ruining the financial systems of global DIY giant Bosch. He is clearly a motivated and well-connected individual, having already organized a meeting with the Manager of the local football team and aided in the social media campaign for the Balloon Kenya project. During this process, Dan hopes to not only experience new parts of the world but also become proficient working in an international environment.

April on James………
Born near Bournemouth in England, 20 years young, James Holden is in his second year of Business at Plymouth University. When he’s not busy running his student entrepreneurship society, he’s running his own successful businesses. It is this passion for enterprise which made James apply for the Balloon Kenya programme. His proudest achievement is starting an advertising agency at age 15 and selling it 2 years later.

James on April………
Dedicated to helping people in communities less fortunate than her own, April Pascura, age 23, has volunteered in similar projects around the globe. As a recent Sociology Education graduate from University of California Los Angeles, Balloon Kenya was the ideal programme for her to enrol on. When not trying to make the world a better place, April is a keen dancer and has been teaching the fellows how to ‘twerk’.

Luke on Bella………..
Bella Cuthbert is 22, was born in New York and is half Irish. She studied Natural Sciences and majored in Environmental Biology at UCL. 4 years of University wasn’t enough for Bella so she’s going on to do Environmental Technology at the Imperial College London. Bella really loves cats and has her own called Oscar who has received the seal of approval from Ricky Gervais whilst being taken to brunch on a lead. Bella is looking to further her entrepreneurial outlook on life with Balloon Kenya.

Bella on Luke……….
Luke Mallard is 20, from Bristol and is currently studying Business and is currently on his placement year working in the Talent Hub with Plymouth University. To unwind Luke enjoys playing sports and taking long walks on the beach. Luke has recently acquired a kitten named Dexter (a fact which in particular I love!). Luke has learnt a lot from my wisdom and has decided to procure a lead for Dexter so that maybe he can one day acquire the dizzy heights of fame that Oscar has reached. Luke is looking forward to working first hand with businesses in Kenya as it will prove useful in his future career.

Thach on Truc………..
I have been friend with Truc for 5 years now and she has never failed to surprise me, especially with her singing ability. She has a deep passion for adventure and doing good work for the community. As a sociology student at the LSE, Truc has inspired me to escape the business-thinking box to reach out for creating further value to societies. Hence, we found Balloon Kenya and thought it would provide us the chance to satisfy our enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and social work. It is also a chance for us to celebrate our friendship before I go off to Dubai for my job.

Truc on Nga………..
As the newly Accounting and Finance graduate from the LSE, Nga seeks opportunities to travel and experience life beyond comfort zones before settling in Vietnam. Nga might seem quiet, but she always dedicates her energy into accumulating deeper understanding not only within academic realm but also with surrounding friends and acquaintances. Once found her ground, Nga comes out of her shell and become a rather joyful person. The future might be unsure for her, nevertheless she has great hope that the upcoming five weeks will not only help her to explore her abilities but also help her to take a firm step into her career ahead.

Nga on Thach………..
Knowing Thach from the LSE, I have found him to be a really fun guy to hang out with. He has such a strong passion for aeroplanes in which he could spend hours just watching documentaries about them on YouTube. Thach has recently graduated with a Bachelors in Management and wishes to pursue a career in the consultancy industry. In the mean time, he will be enjoying his gap year working as part of the cabin crew for Emirates Airline. Balloon Kenya is the perfect program for him to enhance the necessary skills for his future career and satisfy his interests for adding real values to the community. Finally, he is an excellent cook!

Krishna on Nancy………..
Nancy Sandjong is a young and vibrant girl from Cameroon and is currently studying at Aston University. She is an expressive dancer with a passion for living in the moment. Her other interests include cooking and reading. She has a keen eye for fashion and manages to dazzle everyone with her bright smile and positive attitude.

Amina on Christine………
Christine Gichina is a third year student in Northampton university currently studying BA Hons in Social and Community Development . She has been involved in voluntary work in the UK and its through participating in community empowering projects that a the desire to reach out to the less privelleged grew. She hopes to change at-least one persons life for the better through the opportunity that the Balloon Kenya Programme has provided.

Christine on Amina………..
Amina Ali is a Wife, a mother , a sister and a student currently studying for her BA Hons in Social and Community Development at the University of Northampton .She has a passion for young people and has previously volunteered to work with the youth in her local church . She would like to give back to the community as the opportunity was not available for her when she was growing up. She also hopes to enhance her entrepreneurship skills through the Balloon Kenya Programme.

Nancy on Maddy………
Originally from Malawi and currently living and studying in Northampton Maddy is keen on International Development and eliminating poverty. She believes that she has the energy and time to play a critical role in promoting small and medium sized enterprises! Her characteristics are creativity, innovativeness and risk taking.

Hayley on Hannah………
Hannah Lucia Laura Eve Galea-Bateman (Batman) was born in Swieqi, Malta but moved to Northamptonshire in the Millennium. Hannah studies Social and Community Development at Northampton University and has a keen interest for International Development in LEDC’s. Full of useful facts (such as how to get rid of sunburn with vinegar/garlic wards off Mosquito’s) and landscaping expertise; Hannah hopes to leave “something worthwhile” through Balloon Kenya – and to share her love for Haribo Strawbs with the Kenyan masses.

Maddy on Krishna………..
Krishna is from India and is currently studying at Cardiff University. She loves reading and writing; for her writing is a means of expressing herself. So far I think she is so lovely and her smile is so warm and welcoming. I am really keen to get to know her more over the next few weeks!

Chris on Daniella ……..
Two factors shaped Daniella Humby’s decision to pursue a degree in Social Care and Education Studies at Northampton University, firstly a desire to work with people in socially disadvantaged positions and secondly a passion to work with children. After graduating, she has been true to her desires and has been working as a Teaching Assistant at a Junior School; a job she is in love with and will be returning to after the Balloon Kenya programme. While Daniella aims to gain hands-on experience in the social care field, apply what she has learnt in University, and build on her business skills through Balloon Kenya, she has already noticed some of the effects that the program has had on her; namely, the weekend excursions are making her a more adventurous person.

Anna on Nils………..
The first thing to say about Nils is that he is German, which (he assures me) means he has absolutely no sense of humour whatsoever. He is a massive supporter of Dortmund, his local football team. Nils has the great honour of celebrating his 26th birthday whilst in Kenya. Despite studying his Masters for 2 years at LSE, Nils claims that his course was full of only international students so he is excited that here in Africa he finally gets to meet some Brits! He’s actually a pretty international guy – he lived for a semester in Shanghai, China during his course in Management. Nils chose Balloon Kenya because he finds the idea of using his business skill set to make a real impact seriously exciting.

Daniella on Chris Franklin……..
Chris was born in Japan although he is half English. This has given him the ability to speak both languages fluently. After completing his undergraduate degree in sociology and anthropology Chris decided to challenge himself further in education. He continued his studies at the University of Oxford, and recently graduated with an MSc in criminology and criminal justice. At 24 years old, this is Chris’s first time in the African continent. Balloon Kenya appealed to him for its positive approach using the business model, rather then providing monetary aid. Having little experience in business, he is hoping to gain new knowledge and transferable skills; alongside meeting new people.

Celia on Hayley……..
Hayley is 21 and a business graduate from Newcastle University and works at the Slug and Lettuce in York. Hayley and I were on the same flight and we sat together on both planes. She is incredibly easy to get along with, even when she had a sugar rush on our 10 hour flight! Luckily, I stopped her having the sugar on our 16 hour coach ride or we potentially would not have the friendship we have now. As we are the only northerners on the trip she was the only one that could understand me and acted as a translator the first week.

Eloise on Marceline……..
Marceline studied BA Social and Community Development at the University of Northampton and graduated in 2013. She is passionate about social justice and has a long-standing history of ‘fighting’ for what she believes in. Marceline became aware of the Balloon Kenya programme and the work there involved in through her (previous) lecturer/ academic tutor. Since then she has looked forward to ‘helping people on the ground who are trying to set up businesses to sustain their families’. Marceline wishes to embrace the Kenyan culture, and deepen her understanding of business entrepreneurship. This (she hopes) will enable her to make a positive contribution to people’s lives and gain new skills for the future.