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.
Oct 11, 2013

Kakenya Among 2013 Top Ten CNN Heroes

Kakenya with our heroes, the girls!
Kakenya with our heroes, the girls!

Kakenya Ntaiya: A Top 10 CNN Hero!

CNN announced its Top 10 Heroes for 2013 and I am extremely honored and humbled to be one of the ten.  I cannot even begin to express what this award means to the girls in my community and the issues that we continue to eradicate in our society.  Today CNN has elevated the voices of young girls who are forced to undergo female genital cutting and early marriages.  These are girls who are yearning for a better future but are denied an education when they are so young. I know because I was one of them.

I am motivated every day by girls like Lynn and Angeline who were orphaned at a tender age of seven and ten, but who now will achieve their dreams because we have given them an opportunity. But there is still much work to be done. 14 million girls are married each year before they are 18 years old and 3 million girls are at risk of undergoing female genital cutting. With your help, and that of people like you, we can put a end to these practices.

CNN is asking the public to select their "Hero of the Year", so I am asking you today to vote for me and the girls, to share this link on your Facebook and Twitter and to ask your family, friends and colleagues to do the same. While it is an honor to be among the top ten, which comes with $50,000 which we will put towards building more classrooms, being named the top winner would be the catalyst for us to help significantly more girls. The visibility that recognition would give to this issue, and the direct investments we could make with the $250,000 prize would ensure that we have transformed more girls into empowered individuals who will each make a difference in our world.

I want to thank CNN for believing in my dream and that of the many girls around the world. And I want to thank you, our supporters, for your continued support. Together we are changing the lives of girls in Kenya in a positive way.

I am grateful for your continual support and very thankful for your vote.

With warm regards,

 

Kakenya Ntaiya, PhD. 

Oct 11, 2013

Kakenya Among 2013 Top Ten CNN Heroes

Kakenya with our heroes, the girls!
Kakenya with our heroes, the girls!

Kakenya Ntaiya: A Top 10 CNN Hero!

CNN announced its Top 10 Heroes for 2013 and I am extremely honored and humbled to be one of the ten. I cannot even begin to express what this award means to the girls in my community and the issues that we continue to eradicate in our society. Today CNN has elevated the voices of young girls who are forced to undergo female genital cutting and early marriages. These are girls who are yearning for a better future but are denied an education when they are so young. I know because I was one of them.

I am motivated every day by girls like Lynn and Angeline who were orphaned at a tender age of seven and ten, but who now will achieve their dreams because we have given them an opportunity. But there is still much work to be done. 14 million girls are married each year before they are 18 years old and 3 million girls are at risk of undergoing female genital cutting. With your help, and that of people like you, we can put a end to these practices.

CNN is asking the public to select their "Hero of the Year", so I am asking you today to vote for me and the girls, to share this link on your Facebook and Twitter and to ask your family, friends and colleagues to do the same. While it is an honor to be among the top ten, which comes with $50,000 which we will put towards building more classrooms, being named the top winner would be the catalyst for us to help significantly more girls. The visibility that recognition would give to this issue, and the direct investments we could make with the $250,000 prize would ensure that we have transformed more girls into empowered individuals who will each make a difference in our world.

I want to thank CNN for believing in my dream and that of the many girls around the world.  And I want to thank you, our supporters, for your continued support.  Together we are changing the lives of girls in Kenya in a positive way.

I am grateful for your continual support and very thankful for your vote.

With warm regards,

Kakenya Ntaiya, PhD. 

Sep 19, 2013

Class of 2017 -- An Amazing Group of Young Women

8th Graders Enjoying Nairobi
8th Graders Enjoying Nairobi

KCE is committed to enriching our girls' academic experiences with opportunities outside the classroom.  For our 8th graders, who will soon leave our campus and move on to secondary schools around the country, these opportunities are especially important.  This summer, all 19 of our 8th graders traveled to Nairobi to visit the cultural and historic sites of the Kenyan capital.  This was the first time any of them had been to a big city!  They visited the National Archives, Parliament, Nairobi's international airport, and Nairobi National Park.  They were thrilled by all the new experiences, especially staying at a hotel with a full breakfast provided in the mornings -- nothing like their usual breakfast of millet porridge.  They were able to see the diversity of city life, from the VIP section of Parliament to Kibera, Africa's largest urban slum.  The trip was truly one of discovery and excitement.

Read what the girls had to say about this experience:

"The journey to the city was so enjoyable and we were all excited about the time we spent at Shalom House where we learned to use flush toilets and showers.  The entire journey was very exciting and enjoyable and we will work hard so as to join those secondary schools in Nairobi." -- Shura

"We went to the airport.  This was the most interesting part of the journey because we saw planes landing and taking off.  I was so happy to see a very big airplane.  I told myself that one day I'll be the one operating it." -- Peiyiai

"We saw very old animals in the animal orphanage and what seems funny is that the animals had different names such as Patrick.  The animals also had their own houses that seemed better than those of people in some villages." -- Yiamat

"My dream is to be a neurologist and I believe that one day I will fly overseas and save lives of many.  I promised myself to work hard since I wanted to be in such a place." -- Lepishoi

This September our 8th graders began their last term at Kakenya Center for Excellence.  It is hard to believe that 5 years has passed since these girls began at KCE. We are so very proud of these young women who now walk through our halls with their heads held high -- young women with not only dreams in their hearts, but the training and experience to achieve their dreams and goals.  

The 8th graders are diligently preparing to take their National Exams mid November.  This national test, which is a cumulative assessment  of all subjects learned in primary school, will determine what secondary schools the girls may apply to in Kenya.  Our girls have been reading, writing and reviewing with our teachers extensively.  To help our girls prepare, KCE welcomed 5 experts on campus to provide tips on how best to succeed on this important exam.   

These 19 young women never cease to amaze us at KCE.  Their spirit and enthusiasm create such a positive atmosphere throughout our campus and indeed throughout the community.  Their dedication to one another and their commitment to reaching their goals is inspiring to the girls that are following in their footsteps.  

Thank you for believing in our girls.  Your continued support is creating a new generation of leaders in Kenya.

 


An Expert Prepares the Girls for National Exams
An Expert Prepares the Girls for National Exams
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