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.
Dec 26, 2012

Holiday Greetings!

Naanyu
Naanyu

We started the year by welcoming 30 amazing young girls to our family, bringing our total enrollment to 124 girls. These girls' lives will forever be transformed because of your kindnesses and support. Twenty years ago, I was just like the girls at our school, and I can tell you personally that when the door of promise swings open it brings with it strength, hope, and fearlessness with the knowledge that anything is possible!

Naanyu, a fourth grader at KCE, is one of these girls.  After losing her mother when she was only four years old to domestic violence, her father abandoned her and her five siblings, leaving them destitute and homeless, with no one to care for them and no hope for an education.  Naanyu's uncles and grandmother took the children in, struggling to provide for their needs.  Last December, Naanyu's grandmother brought her to KCE on enrollment day to seek support for her education. Because of the kindness of so many, we were able to open our arms and accept Naanyu as a student.  KCE absorbed all her educational expenses, including school supplies, meals, health care, uniform, and toiletries.  Today, Naanyu is an eager student, excelling in her classes.  She loves mathematics and science and works hard at her studies. She says, "At KCE, I am learning about my rights and health. I want to be a doctor so that I can care for the sick and vulnerable and orphans like me. I know that if I can continue at KCE, my life will not be the same."

As we look forward to the coming year and get ready for our incoming class of 30 girls, we do so with great excitement and enthusiasm in the knowledge that, though we have much to accomplish, we do so from a foundation built strong by your generosity and by the innate potential of all young girls to make a difference in the world. Your gift helps us deliver on our mission by ensuring that our girls are equipped to learn -- with school uniforms, desks, beds, learning materials, and the nurturing attention that will help transform them into smiling and hopeful young women who are well prepared to shape a better world. 

From the bottom of my heart, I say thank you for all you have helped us accomplish for the girls at our school and the community of Enoosaen. On behalf of these girls and of all of those we touch through the Kakenya Center for Excellence, I extend my deepest gratitude. I hope that you will continue to help transform the future for these girls into one of hope and possibility.

Warmest wishes for the holiday season and a joyous new year.

Kakenya and the Girls Sharing a Meal
Kakenya and the Girls Sharing a Meal

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Dec 11, 2012

Three Cheers for our Graduates!

Our First Health & Leadership Graduation!
Our First Health & Leadership Graduation!

Last week our Health and Leadership Training kicked off with more than 100 girls from throughout the district joining 50 students from the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) for an exciting week of camp. All 157 girls stayed on the KCE campus where we integrated vital trainings and workshops with fun activities such as movie night, relay races, storytelling and dancing.

The first two days of camp centered on health topics such as female genital mutilation (FGM), HIV/AIDS, menstruation and hygiene,  and sex and sexuality. The workshops provided a safe space for girls to get accurate answers to some difficult questions and issues.

Days 3-5 were focused on self-defense and safety.  Once again, KCE partnered with  I'm Worth Defending, a Nairobi organization that focuses on self -defense and preparedness.  These trainers really engaged our girls and got them excited about protecting themselves and saying "NO" to assault and FGM.  During the camp, a woman in the market asked what was being taught at KCE.  "All I hear," she said "is No! No! No!"

Our last day of training was focused on leadership and the importance of education.  The girls learned about opportunities in our community and how to be successful in achieving their professional and personal goals.

The week culminated in our first Graduation ceremony, which brought together 230 past participants for a day of reflection and celebration.  Our campus was brimming with parents, teachers, and community leaders who all came to cheer on our daughters and applaud them for their accomplishments and success.

At a time of year when many girls are forced to partake in traditional circumcision ceremonies, this graduation highlighted what is possible when our girls are supported, educated, cherished and empowered.  It was a very moving rite of passage indeed.

What a Celebration!
What a Celebration!
Girls Enjoying Camp
Girls Enjoying Camp
Sep 24, 2012

Anna's Story

It is hard to believe, but we have begun the last term of the year at the Kakenya Center for Excellence.  The girls are happy to be back together, and are ready and eager to learn!  The teachers and staff are thrilled to have the classrooms filled once again with energetic, smiling faces.Many of our students have overcome great obstacles to pursue an education at the Kakenya Center for Excellence and truly appreciate and understand the real gift of KCE in their lives. “Anna’s” story below provides a glimpse into how the Kakenya Center for Excellence is empowering our students and strengthening our community.  It is a reminder how communities can change, one girl at a time.

Anna, now a 7th grader at KCE, was born in the village of Sikawa, an hour long journey from the KCE campus in Enoosaen.  She is the second youngest of five children --- four girls

 and a boy.  Anna’s parents divorced bitterly when she was very young.  For many years, Anna and her siblings endured hostility and cruelty from their father. Both of Anna’s older sisters were forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), a Maasai tradition that marks a girl’s passage to womanhood and early marriage. Encouraged by her mother and siblings, Anna applied and was accepted to the Kakenya Center for Excellence. With Anna’s tuition, uniform, and school materials fully funded by KCE, Anna has begun a new chapter in her life.  Anna will be spared from undergoing FGM because her mother wants her daughter to pursue a new path through education.

Since beginning at KCE, Anna has blossomed.  “I learn about self-esteem, confidence, and about FGM… I learn about FGM and the effects … I feel empowered.”  When asked about her relationship with her father, Anna starts to cry.  She is saddened by the rift in her family and the suffering of her older sisters.  She cries, too, when asked about how the Kakenya Center of Excellence has impacted her life --- but these are tears of joy.  Anna is keenly aware that her mother is not able to pay for her education, and she is deeply appreciative of this opportunity.  Anna now dreams of becoming a policewoman and supporting her community. “Education can help me learn more things and to help many people in my country.” 

The transformation that has occurred in Anna’s life would not be possible without the support we receive from our generous friends.  On behalf of Anna, and all the girls we serve, thank you!

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