Ghetto Classics

5 lessons smart women can learn from Ghetto Classics success

Learning from experience is cool and all. But the better alternative is learning from the experience of others. And you should not only focus on the bad stuff.

You’re an entrepreneur. You’re optimistic. This means you should emphasize more on everything positive. The trick is that a positive mindset is only useful for the low moments.

Where can you find these positive stories to learn from? Here, and you must start with these 5 valuable life lessons from Ghetto Classics – a woman-led community initiative.

Be a boss

Three words, it looks easy. Yet, confidence can be a real hurdle for women entrepreneurs and others in administrative positions. Founder of Ghetto Classics, Elizabeth Njoroge had such a moment. Someone noticed her passion and talent then urged Ms. Njoroge on. She says, “For one week, I really thought I was going for it, but I did not have the guts.”

Have the guts. Speak up, negotiate harder, and set the agenda. If you lack confidence or will to control your business, work and life you will not make the right decisions.

Make the difference

Have we talked about what Ghetto Classics does? Back in 2003, Elizabeth Njoroge saw that music education was reserved for a few of the upper echelons of Kenyan society. She told New York Times, “I think at that time the Nairobi Orchestra had one black person in it.” Driven, she first held recitals for her pals. Later, she borrowed a few instruments and started teaching a few kids at a community center in Korogocho.

Learn that you are good enough to do something important. Today, she is using music education to transform the lives of over 600 children in the country.

Sky is the limit

Ghetto Classics would have taken much longer to get to where it is today, without support from Safaricom. Elizabeth recalled, “I have had tough days. I have had to develop a thick skin because of some of the situations I have seen in the course of running this program.” She continued by saying she’s been “completely blown away” by support and achievements that followed. Proceeds from Safaricom International Jazz Festival helped Ghetto Classics get instruments, afford tutors and take care of children in the program.

“sky is the limit”

Learn that you can go from A to B. You’ll have to be a little patient and show much perseverance but an end result awaits you. Ghetto Classics not only introduced jazz to urban slums but they’ve gone as far as entertain the President and the Pope.

Success is “why” not “what”

It’s a worthy culmination to see children from neighborhoods we like to write-off like Korogocho, Dandora and Huruma put a performance at the Safaricom International Jazz Festival. We would say that they’re not even supposed to listen to jazz. Forget that. Through efforts led by Elizabeth Njoroge, the children have gotten life openings they never knew about. One orphaned-girl, Mary, was supposed to lose out to teenage pregnancy but she fought back and is now in high school. Ghetto Classics “looked for a home for her baby and then set about looking for a school for her.”

Many people get caught up in what they want from life but not how to get it. Your work is to be a “labour of love” as Ms. Njoroge puts it. The passion is what makes you give the extra effort for result.

Help others

Ghetto Classics has cast its net wide. It has satellite programs as far as Mombasa. Maina, 17, is only in class 7 instead of Form 3. Moreover, he has to do casual jobs to supplement income at home. He doesn’t enjoy the privileges some of us take for granted. A silver lining in his life is joining Ghetto Classics. He says, “playing music makes me forget my problems, albeit temporarily. It also helps me keep away from bad behavior and bad company. Music has also made me more confident.”

There is always something you can do to help others. Your effort may not be as transformational as Ghetto Classics, which is taking on the cycle of poverty. Still, your time can uplift others and your ideas can inspire other people.