My post today will be a spotlight feature on my friend and fellow fellowship recipient, Simeon Oriko. In his own words, Simeon is a simple kid with a simple dream…to change the world. When you meet Simeon, you get the sense that he will. When you hear about what this quiet-spoken 24 year old has achieved, you realise that he already has changed the world and affected over 7,000 young people.
Simeon is the founder of the Kuyu Project, a digital literacy initiative aimed at teaching African youth how to fully utilize social media and other digital tools to effect social change in their communities. He is also the founder of Story Spaces, a digital storytelling platform that builds on an age-old African tradition of storytelling and Jamlab, a co-creation community network.
Today, Simeon was honored with a Dewey Winburne Community Service Award. Dewey Winburne was one of the original founders of the SXSW Interactive Festival. Dewey passed away in 1999, but his legacy continues through the lives he touched and the honorees in his name who are some of the best and most inspiring community do-gooders and leaders from all around the world. It was special for Simeon to win this prize today because Simeon actually does what Dewey used to do – go to high schools and teach kids how to use technology.
Although Simeon and I have crossed paths and exchanged niceties, emails and networks in Nairobi, this fellowship by the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce (CCAACC) has brought us closer. Traveling across the world for 40 hours with him, I have come to know him more. And I am better for that.
Whatever you speak to Simeon about, you will always get a thoughtful, insightful and intelligent response. Simeon doesn’t believe in boundaries, he says what is right and what needs to be said, not what he thinks you might want to hear. Somehow, he manages to do that and always be incredibly polite. Behind those glasses are eyes that see, understand and care for the world in a way that is more beautiful than most people you’ll ever meet. I am generally in awe of people who hold a wealth of wisdom. Never before have I met someone who is so keen to not only share that wisdom, but grow at the same time. It is inspiring and moving. And that’s what Simeon is about – moving people to move the world.