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 14, 2012

Our biggest holiday camp yet!

Camp group photo
Camp group photo

“I love my body, I say NO to FGM!”  This chant rang out across Kakenya Center for Excellence’s campus during our most recent Health and Leadership Holiday Camp.  Girls proudly declared the empowering phrase, reflecting the sense of self confidence and strength they cultivated over the 6-day camp.  From April 23-28, we hosted 120 girls in grades 6 and 7, the largest camp we have had so far!  As in previous camps, we invited half the participants to come from over 24 schools across the Transmara district.  This gives us an opportunity to build mentoring relationships between our KCE students and girls from the rest of the neighboring community, spreading our hopeful messages and important health and leadership information to girls who do not usually have access to our programs. 

The week was filled with fun activities, starting with a full day of training by I’m Worth Defending, a group based in Nairobi that teaches girls to defend their bodies, to say “NO!”, and to have greater self esteem and confidence.  The girls practiced moves and techniques to protect themselves from physical violence as well as positive self talk to empower them as individuals.  Throughout the week, the girls participated in trainings by several other health and human rights professionals, learning about sexual and reproductive health, life skills, healthy relationships, children’s rights, and other topics. 

The campers also benefited from group and individual counseling sessions, reinforcing these lessons and providing them with a safe space to voice their feelings, questions, and concerns.  This type of open communication allows the girls to seek help for the often serious problems they are facing and for us to gauge the greatest needs of adolescent girls in the community.

Our camps continue to grow in numbers and in impact.  We hope to hold another camp in December 2012 that will reunite the participants from all of our previous camps – 300 girls altogether!  These camps are one of the most exciting, effective, and fun elements of our program, and we are so grateful for the supporters who partner with us to allow them to continue.  Thank you for believing in our mission to empower young Maasai girls to follow their dreams and to see the potential within themselves.  Together, we are changing the lives of future leaders in Africa.

Girls practicing self defense moves
Girls practicing self defense moves
Big group activity outside
Big group activity outside
Life skills and decision making
Life skills and decision making
Happy camper
Happy camper

Links:

Apr 4, 2012

A few highlights from the past 2 months at KCE

grade 4 girls in computer class
grade 4 girls in computer class

Kakenya Center for Excellence has been filled with activity throughout the current academic term.  We now have 124 students enrolled in grades 4 through 7, and the girls continue to grow into confident young women, excelling academically, socially, and physically. Over the past few months, the exciting events at Kakenya Center have included spelling bees, athletic competitions, and computer classes. 

Spelling Bees: Each class of girls at KCE participated in grade-level spelling bees over the past week, one grade level per day.  On the same four days that KCE held spelling bees, the local public primary school also organized competitions, with support from Kakenya Center.  At both schools, all participants received pencils and the top three were given larger prizes: a backpack, a notebook, and a storybook.  The top ten finishers from each grade level at KCE will compete with their counterparts at Enoosaen Primary School this week.  The first place prize will be an Oxford dictionary!  The girls love these competitions and spend weeks preparing by studying lists of words. 

Volleyball Champions:  Spring is the season for athletic competitions in Transmara District.  Kakenya Center’s volleyball team has had lots of success this year, winning the Transmara West District Championship last week.  They competed against over 100 other girls to achieve this impressive accomplishment.  Next, they will go to the County Championship to represent the entire district against girls from the surrounding area.  We are so proud of them and thrilled at their confidence in their physical abilities.

Computer Classes:  Unlike other primary schools in the area, KCE is fortunate to have a computer lab on our campus.  This allows our girls to learn important IT skills that will be crucial for them to succeed in secondary school and beyond.  Though we run into many challenges with keeping the computers healthy and properly functioning, the girls have been able to learn to type, practicing how to use both hands, compose letters, and write stories.  It has also allowed the girls to become familiar with the internet and the kinds of resources it provides.

We are now looking forward to our next health and leadership holiday camp, which will take place from April 23-28 during the academic break.  The camps give us an opportunity to invite girls who attend other schools in the area to come to our campus and join our own students for a week of training, laughter, and new friends.  Topics for the camp will include self-esteem, health and hygiene, sexually transmitted infections, children’s rights, and volunteership.  The girls are excited for another fun-filled holiday camp.

The highlights above provide only a few snapshots of what your support allows us to do.  We are so grateful for the individuals who believe in our mission of empowering young girls to reach their full potential and to pursue their dreams.  Thank you so much for partnering with us to change the lives of Maasai girls in Kenya!

KCE volleyball player jumping to score a point
KCE volleyball player jumping to score a point
spelling bee contestant
spelling bee contestant

Links:

Mar 27, 2012

Upcoming Health and Leadership Holiday Camp

KCE girls playing together
KCE girls playing together

With a fast-approaching holiday break from classes at the end of April, we are excited about the next Health and Leadership Holiday Camp that we will host at Kakenya Center for Excellence.  The upcoming camp will be held from April 23rd to April 28th.  As with previous camps, we will invite girls from schools in the surrounding area to participate in the trainings alongside our KCE students.  In the past, we have held the camps for 6th grade girls only, with 30 of our students and 30 students from other schools.  This time, we are increasing the number of participants from 60 to 120, inviting 7th grade girls to join, as well.

For the 7th graders, we are developing new training topics and curriculum.  These will include stress management & dealing with depression, child rights and sexual abuse/rape, and volunteership.  As in previous camps, topics for the 6th graders will include basic leadership skills, health & hygiene, and sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDs.  We will bring in trained professionals to work with the girls and run their sessions, including a police officer who will instruct the girls about their rights and what to do if they are physically attacked.  We also will have a counselor on site throughout the entire camp who will be available for both group and individual counseling sessions.  As always, we look forward to a week filled with lots of learning and laughter.

Our Health and Leadership camps are some of the most enjoyable times of the year for the girls who participate and for all of us at KCE.  We are so thankful for your partnership as we plan, implement, and improve upon each holiday camp.  As we reach more and more girls through these camps and have opportunities to equip them with crucial skills and information, we know that we could not accomplish this mission without wonderful support throughout the process.  We will keep you updated with highlights from the April camp!

Engaged in a classroom activity
Engaged in a classroom activity

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