Over the past several months, many new and exciting developments have taken place at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Currently our school has 123 students in grades 4 through 7. The new term has begun and the girls continue to make great progress as students and leaders. They are as excited as we are about the programs we have implemented in 2011 at our school in Enoosaen, Kenya. A few of these are highlighted below:
Health and Leadership Camps: Beginning in April 2011, Kakenya Center for Excellence expanded leadership opportunities to all girls in the community through special summer and holiday camps. In these camps, regularly enrolled students act as peer educators and role models for the girls that are not enrolled at the school. Kakenya Center for Excellence girls are required to follow up with their peer mentee during the school holidays. The camps’ creative activities foster personal empowerment and leadership skills, catered to twelve- to fifteen-year-old girls. The camps in 2011 were able to reach 130 girls from around the community. Our goal in 2012 is to reach 200 girls.
Field Trips: Most Kakenya Center for Excellence students had never left the village before they enrolled at our school. With this in mind, we began a program of field trips in conjunction with our academic curriculum in social and environmental studies. In April, the students at Kakenya Center were able to go on their first field trip ever. The girls in grades 4 and 5 traveled to Rusinga Island for a day, and the girls in grade 6 went on an overnight adventure to Lake Nakuru National Park and the surrounding area. These trips help the girls see beyond their own community, broadening their horizons and giving them opportunities they had never had before. The students had a wonderful time and are looking forward to their next field trip in 2012.
Spelling Bee: In August, we held our first school-wide Spelling Bee. The girls studied lists of 100 English words for a month in preparation for the competition. The Spelling Bee took place on a Sunday afternoon. All the girls who took part in the competition received ribbons of participation and the top ten finishers won bigger prizes. This was a fun way to motivate our girls to excel academically.
Technology: Facilitated by a donation from Hewlett-Packard earlier this year, our campus is now equipped with a computer lab. Our students and staff are taking part in IT classes, learning typing and computer skills. We plan to open a computer lab for the community, as well, allowing many people their first opportunity to access the Internet and use online resources. Our goal is to prepare the girls for their computer science courses in high school. Usually, this course is offered to boys and not girls because of the cultural assumption that girls do not perform well in science courses.
Quilting and Beading Projects: The art of beading represents a non-destructive Maasai cultural tradition, and our aim is to preserve this positive practice by educating our girls about the Maasai history of beading. It also provides a therapeutic and creative outlet for girls who may not have other ways to express themselves, and it raises awareness about the oppression of women in our society through images. In order to document the historical oppression of women, the project was done in partnership with the Rehema Widows Group. The women from this community group and our girls depicted scenes of their lives and experiences to share with one another. The girls in fourth and fifth grade are starting their art project by making beaded bracelets, another Maasai tradition.
The girls at Kakenya Center are so grateful for the opportunities that are available to them because of all of your generous support! Thank you for joining us on our journey as we seek to end the cycle of destructive cultural practices and allow Maasai girls to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential. We hope you will continue to change the lives of these beautiful girls with us as we enter a new academic year!
With so much going on, we omitted a critically important report: In April, we opened the first leadership and health camp at KCE! For the one-week holiday while girls in grades 4 and 5 had gone home, specially selected girls from other district schools joined our 6th grade girls for the full boarding experience. Please see Charlotte Bourdillon's report for details.
The other news is that we're gearing up for the next camp in December. But to support this effort, we ask you to please go to our sister project page here on Global Giving:
This project has been selected to participate in the Girl Effect Challenge on Global Giving. You can see additional details there. Please consider even a small donation to that project to help boost our number of donors. Even $10 donations are welcome! The top 6 Girl Effect projects with the most donors and the 6 projects selected by a special Girl Effect committee will move on. Thanks for your support!
Brazilian Advocacy Project Fellow Cleia Noia brought a slice of Americana to the Maasai girls at KCE: a good old-fashioned spelling bee! What a way to hone their English skills! The fact that the words were taken from the girls themselves, noted from actual lessons, makes them even more meaningful. No obscure words generated by a teacher or a school system that one is unlikely to encounter again. Kudos to Cleia for organizing this successful event! And don't miss the photos in her attached report.
In case you have forgotten, the dormitory at the Kakenya Center for Excellence was desperately needed. Girls were walking long distances from their homes, subject to human and animal predators. We converted empty classroom space into a makeshift dorm so the girls would not have to endure these dangers and to provide them precious time for studying. As one student reports,
My life change in the school and I improved in my education, I was walking to school for a long distance. I had came to [KCE] and I have been in boarding school. We had been taking good food and sleep well as well as learning. At [KCE] we had been given uniform, school shoes, [athletic apparel,] and school materials.
Attached you will find two articles describing the dorm and the excitement of the girls. We hope you will share in their excitement.
A huge thank you to all our donors and friends who supported this grand effort!
Community leaders and parents of KCE students have come together on their own to prohibit students from undergoing the female genital cutting "coming of age" ritual (FGC/FGM). This is an amazing piece of investigative reporting from Advocacy Project Peace Fellow Charlotte Bourdillon, who is spending 6 months at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. She probes into one of the most sensitive social issues in Maasai Kenya. Don't miss this, then consider a donation to support KCE.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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