Mariéme Jamme, who received no education until she was 16, is now a technology entrepreneur with a mission to train young women. Mariéme is one of 16 World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders (YGLs) on a visit to Kakuma, Kenya.
She’s traveled to several villages in north-western Kenya to meet refugees and host communities as part of a YGL education team.
“I chose this group so that I can encourage young people to focus on education,” she says. “Education opens doors and a whole new world to people.” Kakuma and its neighbouring town have a combined population of nearly 250,000, refugees and local people.
A Senegalese-born technology entrepreneur, now based in the United Kingdom, Jamme was abandoned by her mother and grew up in an orphanage in Senegal before being trafficked to France. There she befriended a Moroccan woman who became her mentor and encouraged her to apply for a migration programe to go to the UK, where she has lived since she was 19.
Mariéme, now 44, received no formal education. At the age of 16 she taught herself to read and write.
“I went to the library every day,” she says. “Then I read every material that came my way. I have now registered to sit GCSE and A level exams next year.” (The GCSE is the British equivalent of the American GED.)