Reading the news before class in the new library
In August, we told our wonderful supporters that the WISER Girls were writing Op-Eds about the upcoming campus expansion. Fifteen students wove their hopes and dreams for the new campus into beautifully-written prose.
And now that the expansion is finished, we've asked WISER's principal, Dorcas Oyugi, to relay her thoughts on the new campus.
Said Dorcas, “How can I put that much excitement in words?"
It seems that the new campus is a bit overwhelming for everyone at WISER and we wouldn't ask for it to be any other way.
The WISER campus now houses two science labs, a massive assembly hall, an all-new library, sixteen homes for WISER staff, and the best computer lab in the region. It's an amazing sight to see as what was once a dirt plot less than ten years ago is now home to a girls secondary school that rivals many Kenyan universities.
"The girls are so enthusiastic about their new spaces. The library, the science labs; they have our girls celebrating, but this is exciting for everyone," said Dorcas. "I've heard guests say that we are outmatching the giants - the top performing schools in Kenya - in what we have for our girls. It's unbelievable that these resources are available in a place that is this remote."
One such resource that has the students particularly excited is the computer lab, monitored by new WISER teacher Edwin Okongo. He believes that the computer lab is not just a sign of the expansion's success, but an opportunity to break a long-standing gender gap in computer science representation.
"In any area with poverty, you're going to see access problems. It kills the morale, the desire to understand technical sciences," says Edwin. "Society, on top of this, favors male students in access to computers, and even in the university statistics, most of those studying information technology are male."
"Giving this chance to the WISER Girls is a chance to expose a new generation of female students to computing technology that was denied to them."
WISER has always been about providing empowering opportunities for girls. This expansion, and the programs that accompany it, are just the latest step in our journey toward providing all of the resources a girl could need to be educated, healthy, and in control of her own life.
None of these opportunities that we've created along the way would be possible without your support. We can't thank you enough.
Because of WISER's supporters, even our youngest students have the opportunity to dream big. Joan is a first-year student at WISER, and just joined the campus a month ago.
Her aspirations are big, and that's right where all of us want them to be.
"Right now, I'm just starting," said Joan, "but learning computer operations is exciting. I'd like to be more connected. Maybe I will soon write and send letters to friends, and then continue to grow from there. Teacher Edwin says we will do photo editing, and I'd like to be doing that soon."
WISER Girls at work in the new Computer Lab
Computer Skills class time
New WISER Assembly Hall