In 2022, Elimu suffered the loss of three of our dearest members. Diana Gwiyo (Programs Manager Entrepreneurship), Hadija Kuno (SSP alumnus), and Elizabeth Wambui (Nyumbani Kwetu Home for Children). All of these women died unexpectedly and have left a great hole in our hearts. Diana’s death was particularly hard to bear.

Diana Gwiyo was Elimu’s first Program Officer and our entrepreneurship guru. She had a huge heart for empowering girls and women with business skills. Her talent and energy built up our Elimu Sewing Project and set a high bar. Diana struggled with kidney disease, which finally took her from us unexpectedly.

Picking from her life, Diana was an everyday inspiration. She inspired hope, resilience, courage, and excellence in everyone she met. She was a big sister, mother, friend, mentor, and prayer partner to many people, and still had more room left. SHE SPENT HER LIFE INSPIRING!

“We are strong because you paved the way!”

As we grieved her passing and came to terms with the pain, we picked on the wonderful lessons of the lotus flower; that we all can emerge pure even when subjected to the murkiest of waters. When we think of Diana, we think of the lotus flower. She endured so much pain from the health complications, yet she remained a jewel in the eyes of those who saw her. She evinced such purity of heart that we will forever borrow from her.

We knew that as a team, it was our turn to carry on the torch. To inspire life and courage in more people around us, and to carry on with all the good work that she had started. That is why in October this year as we celebrated her memory with our Elimu-USA team and Canadian Board Chairperson, Jennifer Lavoie We chose the theme; IT IS MY TIME TO INSPIRE!

We are encouraged that because of the beautiful soul that Diana was, and the legacy she has left behind, this inspires courage in us to be strong because she has already paved the way.

This Memorial Day was special as well because for the first time since her passing our Elimu Girls Founder, Cindy Rodriguez had a chance to join the team at Elimu Resource Centre to mount a memorial image of our departed Diana Gwiyo. These two worked very closely to build the Elimu Girls movement. Over the years, their relationship had become that of sisters. Diana’s passing had hit her badly, and this moment, recollecting and sharing with the team was such a huge step for her healing process.

We read from Cindy’s story in her co-authored book, Authentic, where she notes, “We all want to be seen and heard.” Moreover, this is all Diana’s life had been about; making everyone she interacted with feel seen and heard.


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Elimu empowers learners to increase academic and digital literacy, improve school retention and encourage self-sustainability through employment planning and entrepreneurship. 

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