“My soul was touched,” answered Fridah Kanini, Board Member of SowHope, when asked what attracted her to the organization. In 2015, when she attended the Annual Gala at Frederik Meijer Gardens, she was mourning the loss of her mother, who had died nearly three years prior. “My mother was my best friend. When I watched the video and heard Mary Dailey Brown speak about the projects SowHope funded, I was reminded of my mother, who was dedicated to empowering women. I know she would have been a perfect partner with SowHope.”
Born in Kenya, Fridah and three younger brothers were raised by their single mother, Ms. Flora, and their Grandmother Elizabeth. Although her maternal grandfather did not always live with the family, he attended school functions with Fridah. He was an advocate of education and empowering women, which influenced the paths Fridah pursued.
By the time Fridah moved to Michigan in 2005, she had graduated from Kenya Utalii Hospitality College in Nairobi, studied at the American Hospitality Academy, and worked in the hospitality field in the United Kingdom and Florida. Today, she works full-time at the Cultural Intelligence Center in Grand Rapids, serves as CEO and owner of Flora’s Elegance Events Decor (a small event-planning business), and takes business courses at Grand Rapids Community College. She is also the founder of A Glimpse of Africa, a festival that showcases African culture and provides a platform to promote talents and businesses in West Michigan.
Fridah loves to give back, so it was no surprise when she began to volunteer with SowHope in 2015. SowHope’s mission to inspire women by providing wellness, education, and economic opportunities that give them the hope and skills to be self-sufficient motivated Fridah to support the organization – and most importantly, it was a way for Fridah to continue her mother’s legacy.
Fridah knows SowHope truly changes women’s lives and positively affects children and communities in parts of the world that need it the most. She believes once women have their health and the knowledge they need to flourish, they will find it easier to create economic opportunities – a philosophy that aligns with SowHope’s commitment to promote sustainability rather than dependency.
Fridah is a vibrant speaker who donates her time and energy to other local nonprofits, including as a youth leader at her church. She is motivated by positive people, good energy, and knowing that her work will make a difference in someone’s life. When she can, she enjoys traveling, fashion, culture, music, cooking, shopping, going to the beach, car shows, and meeting people.
Fridah’s dream is to return to Kenya someday, to open a center in her mother’s name that is dedicated to empowering women and girls. SowHope is very fortunate to have Fridah on our team and we have no doubt Fridah will realize her goals.