Kakenya's Dream

The Kakenya Center for Excellence seeks to empower and motivate young girls through education to become agents of change and to break the cycle of destructive cultural practices in Maasai Kenya such as female genital cutting and early forced marriage. We believe in impacting one girl at a time, one community at a time, until all girls in Africa have the opportunities they need to thrive as individuals. These future women leaders will improve their communities, their nation, and the world.
Apr 10, 2014

KCE Girls: Strong, Healthy & Active

The 2014 school year is off to a great start at Kakenya Center for Excellence!

Our new fourth grade class has settled into life at KCE, already standing taller and holding their heads up with confidence.  This incoming group brings our total enrollment to 170 girls in grades 4 through 8, the biggest student body we have ever had!

In February, KCE Board and staff welcomed students, parents and community leaders onto campus for our annual distribution of textbooks and school supplies. Each student received their very own textbooks in all 6 core subject areas:  Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Kiswahili and Religion; and teachers received guidebooks and resources to supplement their instruction.  While it may seem like a small gesture, our book distribution is unique and significant in Enoosaen, as many of our neighboring schools share only a handful of books amongst an entire class. Our girls are keenly aware of this reality and treat their books with care and respect.

Last month 170 uniforms were distributed to an eager student body at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Thanks to the support of donors such as you, all KCE students received leather shoes and socks, a skirt, two blouses, a sweater, a tie and athletic shorts and t-shirts.  

Our uniforms give our girls a sense of community within the school and create an atmosphere of belonging.  In addition, our uniforms provide the girls with the privilege and responsibility of representing the school, the student body and their teams throughout the wider community.

KCE currently has two competitive team sports, volleyball and soccer. Both teams are coached by KCE teachers and practice regularly after school. The teams compete against 42 other schools throughout the district.  

In addition to team sports, KCE maintains an active and healthy student body through a daily fitness regimen.  At the end of each academic day, the girls participate in a run followed by group stretching and games.  Though the terrain is rough and sometimes muddy, the girls look forward to the end of the school day when they get to don their gym clothes and simply release all that energy and enthusiasm.

KCE girls are learning important life skills on the fields.  Through athletics, they are building self-confidence and learning the rewards of patience, perseverance, good sportsmanship, discipline and teamwork. 

The term has been busy as always, filled with dynamic learning experiences and new adventures and we are so thankful for your continued support!

Text Book Distribution
Text Book Distribution
Volley Ball!
Volley Ball!
New Uniforms
New Uniforms
Daily Fitness at KCE!
Daily Fitness at KCE!
Jan 10, 2014

Happy New Year!

Neipamei after one year at KCE
Neipamei after one year at KCE

Happy New Year! 2013 was a wonderful year at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Your support of our school and education programs has forever changed the lives of our girls, their families and the community itself. We are enormously grateful to you for all you have helped to make happen for our girls this year!

We began 2013 by welcoming 33 new girls to the KCE family, bringing us to 155 girls in grades four to eight.  Neipamei was one of these girls, and we want to share her story with you.  She was only 9 years old when she lost both her parents to HIV/AIDS. She and her 11 orphaned siblings were split up among several relatives and families in the village. When one sister was married off at 15, Neipamei became afraid and sought refuge with a pastor. Then, in December, 2012, the pastor brought Neipamei to KCE on Enrollment Day. Since then, a new life of possibility and hope has opened up for Neipamei, now a KCE fifth-grader who loves social studies and mathematics and studies very hard. After losing her parents and experiencing fear and great risk, Neipamei sees a future of hope and dreams of becoming a doctor so she can “take care of sick people so that they don’t die.”

In 2013, we also had our first class of graudates! Twenty-three KCE eighth graders earned the Kenya Certificate of Primary School and are preparing to join high schools around the country this month. What a different life trajectory they now have thanks to the education that your support realized for each one of them!

This January, the Kakenya Center for Excellence welcomes another 32 girls to our school and we will carry out several transformative Health and Leadership Trainings.  With your continued support, these girls will also avert many health risks and avoid early marriage.

Thanks to KCE and you, our girls will learn and grow and discover their dreams, and one-by-one they will emerge on wings of hope and opportunity—full of anticipation, resilience and knowledge—ready to make a difference in the world they are inheriting.

Our graduating class on a trip to Nairobi in 2013
Our graduating class on a trip to Nairobi in 2013
Our happy girls
Our happy girls

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Jan 10, 2014

Another Successful Health and Leadership Camp!

Caroline addressing the campers
Caroline addressing the campers

Happy New Year!  It has been a wonderful year at Kakenya Center for Excellence, and we are so thankful for the support you have provided over the past year.  Your generosity has allowed KCE to host two successful Health and Leadership camps.  At our most recent camp, in early December, we had a total of 133 girls in grades 6-8.  As in past camps, our good friends from I’m Worth Defending, a Nairobi-based non-profit, came to teach the girls self-defense moves as well as assertiveness, boundary setting, and other skills for keeping themselves safe.  Training sessions on subsequent days focused on FGM, sex and sexuality, leadership, HIV/AIDS, and other important health information.  The final day of the camp was a Career Day, allowing the girls to explore potential paths to achieving their dreams for the future.  For non-KCE girls, this was an unfamiliar exercise that allowed new dreams to take root.

One of the most fulfilling elements of our camps is the relationship that forms between the campers and their high-school aged counselors.  These counselors are hand picked from nearby schools and trained as mentors and leaders.  At each camp, we give these young women an opportunity to share wisdom and encouragement with the campers.  Caroline, one of the counselors who shared at our December camp, had a particularly compelling story.  She explained to the campers that she joined high school very late after having finished primary school because her family was reluctant to allow her to continue with her studies.  Undeterred from achieving her goal of completing secondary school, she recently finished her final year of high school and took the final exams at the end of 2013.  She urged the girls to take their studies seriously. In secondary school, her reputation as a hard worker earned the honor of serving as her class president.  Caroline hopes to attend college in the coming years and to study medicine so she can become a doctor.  The girls listened attentively with faces of visible admiration.

We are honored and excited to be able to host these training camps.  Year after year we see how the girls who attend are transformed.  We look forward to three more Health and Leadership training camps in 2014 and hope that you will continue to join with us in our mission of empowering young Maasai girls!

Counselors with their girls in the evening
Counselors with their girls in the evening

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