I was born Esther Muthoni Passaris on 20th October 1964 to a Kikuyu mother and Greek Father. I grew up in Mombasa attending Aga Khan Academy for both my Primary and Secondary education.
I hold a Diploma in Law from the University of London and I am an alumna of Strathmore University where I completed an Executive Business Program. I am currently pursuing a Bachelors in International Business Administration at the United States International University, Africa here in Nairobi as well as a Law Degree (LLB) from the University of London.
Without government funding, I lit up Nairobi to the tune of 500M shillings. The improved night-time visibility saw trade and security grow substantially whilst a sharp reduction in crime and road carnage was recorded.
Most people know me for my social initiatives and successes in the private sector. In 2002, I founded Adopt A Light Ltd., the award-wining, multi-million US dollars organization which is behind the street light initiative that has provided necessary infrastructure for development, security, and road safety within Nairobi. Currently I serve as the chairperson of Adopt A Light Ltd.
I am also a founding member of Starehe Girls School and in 2007, I founded the ‘One in a Million’ campaign, a non-profit charitable organization whose goal was to better the lives of those living in slums by tackling the issues of poverty and unemployment and promoting development.
I am a firm believer in the need for progress, socio-economic development, and equal rights and opportunities for all citizens. It is because of these beliefs that I have decided to run for Nairobi Women Representative under the Orange Democratic Movement Party, led by our auspicious leader the Right Honorable Raila Amollo Odinga. I believe strongly in the vision being created by the National Super Alliance of which ODM, Ford-Kenya, Wiper Party and Chama Cha Mashinani have formed a coalition that is determined to bring Kenya back to its glory days. NASA sees a new beginning and a future that is inclusive for all Kenyans regardless of tribe, race, creed, religion or social standing. Together we can unite a fragmented society facing deep challenges and hoping to rise to become a middle-income country by 2030. Mambo yabadilika is our slogan and our pledge to the nation is that indeed change is here and we are the national leaders to steer this country towards a great future, where there is prosperity, peace and justice for all.
Although I had begun my political journey towards the 2017 elections with the hope of running for Governor of Nairobi county (county 47), I have since found that my ambitions were not to be realized in time for the IEBC deadline on nominations. Among other reasons, my challenges included difficulty in registering my own political party, the Harambee Democratic Party, as well being limited by funding constraints. My dream to provide leadership that has integrity, commitment and self-sacrifice has now been realized through the ODM party nomination to Nairobi County Women Rep, of which I am greatly honored and grateful to serve.
The position of Women Representative was created by article 97 of the constitution stipulates in section (1) (b) that the membership of the National Assembly also consists of 47 women, each elected by the registered voters of the county, each county constituting a single member constituency. This position is absolutely necessary for the furtherment of the rights and interests of women within the political sphere. Article 100 recognizes that women constitute a special interest group and article 27 guarantees women equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunity, in the political sphere.
The roles of the Women Representative, thus includes all the duties specified to all other members of the National Assembly as contained in article 95 of the constitution and this includes budgeting (allocation, expenditure and oversight of national revenue), determining the conduct of State officers, overseeing state organs, and approving declarations of war and states of emergency.
But the role of the Women Representative goes beyond the roles of other MPs. Women Reps are representative of women in political office and as such are expected to encourage affirmative action groups within the county to present projects which will access the National Government Affirmative Action Social Welfare Fund. In this role, my mandate includes gender equality as part of the millennium development goals, youth empowerment and job creation.
I have always been a social entrepreneur and focused businesswoman, and I will combine my skills and interests as Women Rep to serve Nairobians. Social businesses work to maximize profits and opportunities from the grassroots within the county government as well as the National government.
My dream is to successfully launch the #TwendeKazi initiative which is a social enterprise which targets 1 million young people and 1 million women in the biggest SME fund in Nairobi County, ready to turn around the fortunes and circumstances of Kenyans. Among the projects we aim to accomplish under the TwendeKazi initiative include infrastructural projects such as development of tiered markets, pavements and affordable housing, legislation on education within Nairobi county, and the development of rehab and feeding centers and safe houses for women fleeing domestic violence. One of the most immediate contracts that TwendeKazi will be looking at will be the collection of Garbage and waste disposal within the city, to be done by Nairobi’s youth. Progress cannot come through my efforts alone however. You and I must be united and work together for a better Nairobi.