Bringing Opportunity for Fitness Certification and Employment to Marginalized Communities
In July 2018, the M2E Service Trip reached new heights of programming, reach and sustainability. Our fitness program featured international Zumba® Jammer Henry Cedeño and an experienced team of Zumba® instructors, while our health literacy program underscored our commitment to educating locals on wellness and self care. Several visits to more than five schools ensured the fitness criteria required for the schools' NGO status, and Women's Support Groups benefited from testimonials, a presentation from Days For Girls on reusable menstruation kits, group exercise and a healthy meal. Most importantly, five candidates were officially licensed as Zumba® instructors and trained as M2E Community Reps, making their debut alongside M2E professional instructors at a MasterClass at the Sarakasi Dome in Nairobi.
MOVE TO EMPOWER returned from another important service trip to Kenya in June 2017. With the support of Zumba® Home Office, five Zumba® instructors joined our efforts to inspire the children of Kibera to strengthen their bodies and dreams. Even more exciting, we educated women in the area on how to seek licensing/certification as fitness instructors, with several women being awarded training scholarships. Encouraging women to build their skill set through fitness training is a hands-on way to build economic opportunities for individuals, which fosters community development and pride.
"We headed to outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, to a settlement called Kibera, which is the size of NYC’s Central Park and home to 1.6 million people. Approximately 700,000 of these human beings are children under the age of 12. And 1 in 5 children are not expect live past the age of 5. Our schedule was full of work at the schools; opportunity meetings with grassroots leaders, UN partners, sponsorship providers; and classes with Nairobi's leading Zumba instructors. Each weekly trip provided schools in Kibera with Fitness® classes for the kids plus construction, reading skills, first aid training and other professional skills the fitness instructors impart. In July 2016, our mission encouraged the unprecedented participation of local Nairobi instructors, which fostered a much needed way to build parental support groups, instructor skills and entrepreneurial business mentorship."
"In 2014, I had a calling. Working as both a successful Zumba Fitness® instructor and community program director, I joined a mission trip to Kenya which I financed by holding several local Zumbathons.
While visiting the poorest slum of Kenya, I was able to share my story of how group fitness classes brought me physical, emotional and financial relief, as well as daily joy and deep friendships. As I spoke with the women of Kibera who invited me into their homes, I found that many were searching for similar relief and meaning. The need to escape economic oppression, to build community support and to find joy is simply a universal and transcendent desire."