March 16 2009

Kenya meets Berlin

12/03/2009 - Yvonne Mwende represented the SOS Vocational Training Centres at the opening of the world's largest travel trade show at the ITB in Berlin, where she met mayor Klaus Wowereit.

Photo: MK
Klaus Wowereit is giving an autograph to Yvonne - Photo: MK

Twenty-four-year-old Yvonne Mwende, who grew up at the SOS Children's Village in Nairobi, met the mayor of Berlin at the opening of the leading travel trade show on 11 March. Yvonne, who finished training to be a chef at SOS Vocational Training Centre in Nairobi two years ago, travelled to Berlin to represent SOS Children's Villages.

She and another cook held the ribbon that Klaus Wowereit cut to mark the opening of the show. Afterwards the mayor gave her an autographed bear - the symbol of Berlin. "A really exciting experience", said Yvonne.

Yvonne was very lucky. A few months after she had finished her course she found a job in the restaurant of the Lenana Mount Hotel in her home town. Her greatest dream is to run her own little restaurant.

The 24-year-old has big plans: "I want to go independent and open my own restaurant. I want to use my skills in preparing food. The restaurant would serve another type of cuisine, probably Italian, because Italian food is what interests me the most. That would be good to stand up to competition."

Photo: Hilary Atkins
Yvonne is best at the kitchen - Photo: Hilary Atkins

At the end of secondary school, Yvonne was given a place on the chef course at the SOS Vocational Training Centre in Nairobi. The director of the SOS Children's Village tried to secure this training position when he discovered just how passionate about cooking Yvonne was. "I've wanted to become a cook since I was a child. I've always liked cooking", explains the young lady.

Yvonne will also get the opportunity to show her skills and tell her life story at the travel trade show in Berlin. She and apprentices from the SOS Vocational Training Centre in Berlin are preparing international dishes and cocktails at an SOS Children's Village stand. The stand also has a display on SOS Vocational Training Centres. It's slogan is: "Taking control of our lives".