Stories from Young Changemakers: Marcus’ Changemaker Journey
As a 13-year old, Marcus is a writer, artist, creator, student, leader, and changemaker. He is inspiring his classmates to discover their unique talents and skills for everyone to grow up practicing empathy and embracing their agency. Today, he is the leader of two social ventures that spark his peers’ creativity and power. Marcus shared his story with Ashoka to inspire other young people to be changemakers.
This story was written by Marcus.
I started Skills for Kids Now because as a kid, my mum used to quarrel with me and was always shouting "Marcus! Stop watching TV. Go do something else," but I didn't have anything else to do. And what I thought of doing was not as interesting as watching or sometimes she would give me tasks that I didn't like to do except going outside.
And during this season, I broke free from that problem when I was introduced to a programme called the 100 Days Challenge by my mum. This [challenge] taught me a lot through the motivational videos it sent me every day and it led me to self-development, and I detached myself from cartoons and games.
I discovered things I could do that I never knew I could do, like website making and video editing, that I could have never done if I had spent most of my time playing games and watching TV. Plus, my mum stopped bugging me on what to do because I always had something to do that improved me and developed me. And all the rules in the house were lifted because I was responsible. I thought, "Kids my age could be going through the same issue with their parents.
What if they could do something productive that will improve them that they like? This will get their parents off their case and they will get to develop themselves and learn new skills!” (My mum gave me this idea right after the car washing business, I had started to achieve my goal had been closed.)
And so, Skills for Kids Now was born. Because of this, I had to learn how to create a website and to make and edit videos for the business. Skills for Kids Now is an online e-Learning platform aimed at helping kids spend less time on TV and electronics and to spend more time on self-development and discovering and developing their gifts and talents.
On the day of launch, I got nine subscribers. That was huge for me. And at the end of two days, I had almost 35 subscribers. We now do weekly meetings to discuss and learn about business.
I have also started a group called envicomics. This is a group where kids gather together to brainstorm, write and make books and comic books and after we sell the books, we put some of the money aside so we can go round different places of Nairobi, cleaning up the streets and giving the poor food and teaching them on how to earn money and the dangers of doing the things they do that cause the degradation of the environment and climate change. I had this idea just a few days ago and so the group is still young, but we are growing.
I thought of Envicomics when in my PSHE (Personal Study and Health Education). We were talking about choosing a hobby and my friend Andrew’s hobby was writing books. And he is working on a book which is on a futuristic theme where there is all this advanced technology. Andrew shared the story he was working on, but the story did not have a name. So, my classmates and I brainstormed on a name and the class felt so lively.
So I thought, “Why can’t I make a group with my classmates whereby we brainstorm and write books and comics and when we sell them, we put aside some money which we will use to do environmental work and give knowledge and food to the poor. Maybe other kids might be interested in the same.” I formed a group with some of my friends from school and one from church and Envicomics started.
Right now we are not so active because of our exams next week, but after that, we will be working on my friend Andrew’s story and a comic called Ion Man. Ion man is this person who was really into science and while he was doing a science experiment, his city was bombed by an atomic bomb and the chemicals from his experiment mixed with the chemicals of the bomb which gave him superpowers.
This story has been edited for length and clarity.