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.
Jun 6, 2013

Experiental Learning in Action

Friendships at Camp
Friendships at Camp

As we head into summer, many of us look back fondly on our summer camp experiences  -- adventures that took us out of our daily routine and into a place of discovery.  Studies have shown that camp provides children with experiences that cannot be duplicated in school.  Camp builds self-esteem, promotes community and friendship, and teaches leadership, critical thinking, and independence.  At camp, we are active.  We are encouraged to try new things, to look at life from a new perspective, and to truly engage in our surroundings.

Our Health and Leadership Camp provides girls with an experiential learning environment unlike anything else they have encountered. 

Maasai girls rarely have the opportunity to let loose and have fun with their peers.  With hours of chores awaiting them at home each day, girls who attend other schools in the surrounding community do not regularly benefit from the kind of supportive, girls-only environment we provide at KCE.  This August, we will host 60 girls in 6th and 7th grade from other schools at our week long camp.  These girls will join our KCE 6th and 7th graders, with all the campers living, eating, and learning together on our campus.   By bringing girls together from throughout the district, camp fosters new friendships, exploration of cultural differences, and a wider connection to community.

The Health and Leadership camp teaches the girls critical information on topics such as sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation, leadership training, self defense, and legal rights.   Through hands-on activities, we leverage music, dance, athletics, writing, and art to draw out the girls’ imagination and innate desire to learn.  Most non-KCE girls have never experienced these learning techniques before, and it pulls them out of their comfort zone and teaches them to express themselves in new ways.

We know that camp is having a lasting impact on our campers and their communities:

“Camp has enabled and encouraged me to work hard until I achieve my goals.”  Nasieku, 13

“We learned more about FGM and we will go and tell our friends back at home.”  Shura, 13

 “The camp taught us about the girls’ rights and self defenses.” Evaline, 13

In 2014, we hope to expand the Health and Leadership Camp by reaching into new schools and communities so more girls can benefit from this unique opportunity.

Thank you for your continued support of our Health and Leadership Camps.  Have a wonderful summer!

Self Defense Training
Self Defense Training
Team Building
Team Building
Campers in Constant Motion!
Campers in Constant Motion!
Night time storytelling
Night time storytelling

Links:

Mar 27, 2013

Updates from Enoosaen: New Uniforms and a CNN Hero

Girls receiving their new uniforms
Girls receiving their new uniforms

In January, a new academic year began at Kakenya Center for Excellence.  We were thrilled to welcome an incoming class of 33 fourth grade students to the school, bringing us to full enrollment with 155 girls in grades 4-8.  This year will be an exciting one for KCE -- our first class of 8th graders will graduate in December and go on to high school in 2014.  They are working hard to prepare for the national exams that take place at the end of the year and determine which high schools the girls will be eligible to attend.  They are performing among the best in the district, and we are so proud of how far they have come!

February was a flurry of activity.  Kakenya Center for Excellence had a special visit from the CNN Heroes crew, who came to see our school in Enoosaen, meet the girls, and talk with community members, parents, and teachers about the impact of the school in the village.  During CNN’s visit to KCE, we were able to provide all 155 of our girls with their new uniforms for the year.  The students also received new textbooks for each school subject.  Parents were able to attend this distribution as well, after coming to the campus for a parent meeting with Kakenya to be updated on their daughters’ progress.  It was a joyful time as the girls proudly donned their uniform shirts, dresses, sweaters, socks, and leather shoes.  For some of our 4th graders, this was the first time they had ever received brand new clothing.

… And in March, following the CNN crew’s visit to our school, our own Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya was recognized as a CNN Hero!  We are so pleased that her work has been honored in this way.  As more and more people learn about the struggles that many girls face to pursue an education, we are gaining momentum in our mission to end harmful cultural practices and provide all girls with educational opportunities.  We are so grateful for individuals like you who believe in our work and join with us to keep our girls smiling, dreaming, and growing into future leaders.

Parents listening to updates from Kakenya
Parents listening to updates from Kakenya
Kakenya
Kakenya's CNN interview
Handing out new textbooks
Handing out new textbooks

Links:

Mar 13, 2013

Girls are Change Makers in their Communities

Campers on Graduation Day
Campers on Graduation Day

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others”

 In December, the Kakenya Center for Excellence hosted our first Health and Leadership Camp reunion.    At the closing ceremony, more than 250 girls, along with their families, teachers, and tribal elders, gathered together to celebrate and affirm their daughter’s achievements and success.    The ceremony was marked with skits by the girls, motivational speeches, traditional Maasai dancing, and a large feast.

It was an amazing gathering that demonstrated clearly the wisdom in an old African proverb.  “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with others”

 In April 2011 the Kakenya Center Excellence began our Health and Leadership Camp as a way to extend opportunities to both KCE students and girls from throughout the Transmara West district with important information about topics such as female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual and reproductive health, child rights and leadership building.

 After four successful camps, we are starting to see the ripple effect that these girls are creating in their own communities.  As advocates of change, the girls are determined to teach their sisters, their friends, and their classmates about their bodies and their rights.

 When Shura was asked if the camp met her expectations, she replied, “Yes, because we learnt more about FGM and we will go and tell our friends back home.”  Another student replied, “I want to train girls that did not go to camp and teach them all I learned.”

 Sadly, in rural Kenya many girls continue to drop out of school by age 12 after undergoing FGM and are married off instead of continuing to pursue their dreams for the future.  However, mindsets are changing about these destructive cultural practices, and this change is reaching far and wide…  And it all starts with girls like Shura.

Thank you for your support of the Health and Leadership Camps.  Together we are training girls to become leaders throughout their community, the nation and the world.

Shura
Shura

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