Serena Jameka Williams, American professional tennis player, is currently ranked number one in Women’s Singles Tennis in the world, a position she’s held on six separate occasions. Williams is widely regarded as one of the most powerful tennis players the world has ever seen. Born in Saginaw, Michigan, Serena and her sister Venus grew up playing tennis on the courts of Compton, and the foundation set by their father set them on a path to worldwide fame and success.
Recently, Williams has turned her attention to education. Two years ago, she opened a secondary school in Kenya called The Serena Williams Secondary School, which she has noted in her autobiography as one of the landmark events in her life. She has continued in her philanthropy through engaging in extensive humanitarian work in the country following the opening of her school.
The school was built through a partnership with the Build African Schools Initiative and Hewlett Packard; Williams visited the school in 2008 to officially inaugurate its opening. The schools were built and fitted with electricity, computers, and other teaching aids in order to promote a more efficient learning environment for the students whom represent exceedingly underprivileged in the region. The school in Kenya opened in November of 2008, with a second school also bearing her name opening in Uganda several years later. More recently Williams opened another school in Jamaica called the Salt Marsh Primary School late last year.
Williams’ non-profit organization, The Serena Williams Fund, partnered with Helping Hands Jamaica to build the Salt Marsh Primary School with a mission in alignment of the Serena Williams Fund to help “individuals or communities effected by senseless violence, and [ensure] equal access to education.”
While many celebrities have simply written a check, Serena Williams was thoroughly engaged in the construction of each school, hammer and nail in hand. She has played an active role in getting these schools up and running. We can only hope that more individuals of wealth and influence will focus on ameliorating education around the globe.