Kellen's portrait

Kellen Msseemmaa

Born and raised in western Uganda, Kellen Msseemmaa is the first of six siblings. Her mother’s pregnancy during secondary school marked the end of her educational pursuits, instilling in Kellen the profound importance of education as the pathway to realizing one’s dreams. Kellen faced numerous obstacles during her own schooling, including violence and financial constraints; recognizing early on that education was her primary tool against poverty, she persevered and graduated from Makerere University in 2008 to become an economics teacher. With her first salary, Kellen began paying school fees for her siblings and relatives, sparking a ripple effect that saw them all attain university degrees. As a teacher, she observed the low participation and academic performance of girls, attributing it to underlying issues of self-esteem influenced by culture. Motivated to effect change, she started Empowered Girls as a school club which later grew into an NGO under her leadership. Passionately committed to creating a brighter future for all, Kellen is also a facilitator and mentor trainer for nonviolent communication. She resides in Arusha, Tanzania, with her husband and children.

Empowered Girls