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Engineering student wins French singing competition in Kiambu

Natasha Vaati Kyalo, 21, has clinched a coveted ticket to France, after her outstanding performance in a French singing competition, courtesy of the French Embassy in Kenya.

The third-year civil engineering major from the Kenya Institute of Highways and Building Technology won the competition, aimed at highlighting the synergies between education, language proficiency and international opportunities.

The competition was organized by Mitahato French Village located in Githunguri constituency in Kiambu County and drew participants predominantly from local educational institutions.

Chris Mburu, the founder of Francophone Network of Kenya (FNK), is the brain behind Mitahato French Village, where he converted his house into a library, where he teaches children and adults French language “for empowerment and network building” at no cost.

Many Francophone speakers have travelled from as far away as Paris, France, to visit the village library that only stocks French books.

The visitors bring donations of French books for the library, and get the opportunity to interact with curious children of the now famous Mitahato French Village, who teach them kikuyu traditional songs in exchange for French songs.

Speaking during the Competition, Mburu encouraged young people to learn other languages, in order to stand a chance in the ever-changing world, where only the ready will capture great and unique opportunities.

“We are appreciative of the French Embassy for their support in providing the grand prize and the opportunity to showcase Kenyan talent in the French language,” stated Mburu.

While announcing the winner, Dunn Porter, representing the Mitahato French Village in France, emphasized the event’s role in unveiling potential opportunities for young French speakers in the county.

“This initiative aims at encouraging more people, especially children to learn the French language as it will help them relate easily with the rest of the world… the French Ambassador to Kenya has so far helped over 40,000 Kenyans, who are beneficiaries of a programme of studying French locally and abroad organized by the French government,” Porter said

Natasha, this year’s winner was among five other contestants, shortlisted to participate in the finals, where winners were given five key words to use when composing their songs.

“I am thrilled that all the hours I spent struggling to find an original and most authentic song from the words provided has finally paid off,” she said.

The event, not only provided entertainment, but also fostered a deeper understanding and appreciation of French culture among the locals and participants.

By Grace Naishoo

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