Young changemaker who believes her time is now

By Njeri Maina
Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
Vicky Aridi and her friend Ezra Yego (right and second right) meeting Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium (second left) and Her Royal Highness Princess Elisabeth of Belgium. Photo/PD/COURTESY
In summary

Vicky Aridi co-founded an organisation that empowers the youth and has also  worked with numerous non-governmental organisations in various capacities as  youth lead, coordinator and youth advisor. Njeri Maina caught up with her to learn more about her work.

Njeri Maina @njerimainar

At just 23, Vicky Aridi is young, brave and clear on exactly the kindt of impact she wants to have in the world.

She shares how she has always known that she wanted to impact and influence people for good.

“I have always loved hearing and watching impact stories. This is why I pursued a course in film with a view of getting the skills needed to document impact stories and share them in order to influence others to be change agents in their small or big capacities.

I would also pursue a degree in law in order to be able to understand laws and policies.

I believe that understanding the legal framework and how policies work can help a change agent better effect change,” Vicky shares.

She is passionate about policy change and often gives talks to advocate the same.

She co-founded the Policy Act Initiative where she empowered pan African youth with the skills needed for them to be at the forefront of sustainable policy creation.

She talks of how her family has helped shape who she is today, with her father, mother and sister chipping in and helping out with her work whenever they can. 

Empowerment drives

She talks of co-founding Tim Aridi Foundation at a dark time in 2018, when she had just lost her then 17-year-old brother to Lupus, an autoimmune disorder.

She remembers thinking of just how promising her brother’s future was and how it was important to immortalise him through a foundation that would empower other young people.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, through Tim Aridi Foundation, Vicky helped support over 500 young women with menstruation products such as sanitary towels as well as empowered them with information to help them live positively and act as change agents in their immediate societies. 

The foundation also conducted an online leadership mentorship series in conjunction with Africa Youth Awards that impacted over 500 young Africans in over 30 African countries.

The foundation is still doing impact work by encouraging behavioural change through career talks and games, both physical and online.

The foundation also holds mentorship camps where camp goers are equipped with life skills to help them navigate life more successfully. The foundation is big on empowering women.

They have the petals programme, which is focused on providing young women with access to menstrual health products and reproductive health information.

Games of change

“I am passionate about the youth. I believe that if you equip them with the skills and knowledge to live their best lives, the effects are far reaching.

I have organised virtual online engagements such as learning events, workshops, conferences and capacity building events that are focused on building youth skills and capacities on matters to do with youth empowerment, policy, health and human centred design.

I have also developed online and offline games on  meaningful youth engagement and health rights such as games on  gender based violence and teenage pregnancies hosted on Atingi website.

Of course before the Covid-19 restrictions came about, we used to have physical games where we would have mentees in sports camps,” the 23-year-old emotively elaborates.

She talks of the need to keep the youth engaged whether it is through online games or empowerment forums, and how she plans to continue curating new ways to keep doing exactly that in the foreseeable future.

But doesn’t she get tired or emotionally drained from giving so much of herself?

“I keep doing what I do because I am passionate about advocating for meaningful youth engagement of young people as I believe they’re the leaders of today and tomorrow.

I also continue to be at the forefront of advancing the sustainable development goals and the 2030 agenda as it calls for inclusivity and leaving no one behind irrespective of socioeconomic background or gender.

Being passionate about change means taking breaks to replenish your energy and getting back in the field.

For me, being a change agent and seeing the impact I have on people directly is reward enough. I could never stop doing this,” she emotes.

For anyone looking to be a change agent, Vicky’s advice is to just start. She encourages one to start small, where they are and start immediately whether by empowering that neighbour or relative who is in need then scaling on the go by adding another neighbour or another mentee. 

“If we all try and change the things we would like changed in society just one small thing at a time, we can slowly curate the society we would like to see,” Vicky says in ending.

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