Oct 25, 2016

WISER Girls Excited for Nearly-Finished Expansion

Third-year student Valary
Third-year student Valary

Like any other Sunday on WISER’s campus, a group of girls have walked to the front of the WISER assembly hall to lead their classmates in fellowship through song and dance. Only today, instead of looking out on girls huddled together in the cafeteria, they are looking out on the vast expanse of the largest hall in the entire sub-county.

The songs each Sunday might have to be a little louder from now on, and the WISER Girls are just fine with that.

Over the last few months, WISER’s campus has been home to a team of contractors helping to make WISER’s largest-ever expansion possible. In January 2017, WISER will have all-new STEM lab spaces, a computer lab, renovated dormitories and classrooms, and new housing for our teachers and their families. These new spaces will allow WISER to double the number of girls that join us each year.

Even before this happens, however, WISER Girls are getting to enjoy the completed assembly hall and larger living spaces. They’re planning ahead for new computer-based programs and projects that might be completed and brainstorming ways to welcome their new classmates.

Sheila, a second-year student, is excitedly awaiting the expansion, to say the least.

“Nothing could be more exciting than this expansion project. This impacts WISER, Muhuru, and me all very positively. This is not only an increase in student population, but a great opportunity to interact with new people!”

Valary, a third-year student, sees the nearly complete expansion as a sign of promising things to come. “The new WISER expansion will create opportunities not only for more girls, but for my sisters, my cousins, and maybe even my own future daughters,” says Valary, “Maybe they will have the chance to be WISER Girls.”

As we near the completion of our largest-ever expansion, WISER staff and students alike are reflecting on what this means for our organization. In just a few years, WISER’s campus will host twice as many girls looking to be empowered through education and health. And just a short time ago, this growth seemed far-off.

Luckily, the WISER Girls are supported by a crucial group of people – you. The global family of WISER supporters has taken our hope to one day reach more girls than ever and made it a current reality. We can’t remember a more hopeful time on campus, and we can say earnestly that this is thanks to all of you.

In the next few months, Valary, Sheila, and all of their classmates will come back from their end-of-year term break to a very different-looking home, and they wouldn’t want it any other way. Thank you, as always, for being a part of the global network that provides that hope, optimism, and growth. We couldn’t do it without you.

WISER contractor at work
WISER contractor at work
Assembly Hall construction before and after
Assembly Hall construction before and after
Aug 19, 2016

WISER Girls Reflect and Write on our Major Expansion

Valary puts the final touches on her Op-Ed
Valary puts the final touches on her Op-Ed

Valary sits and looks around at the Deputy Vice Principal’s office. Normally, a trip to the principal’s office might signal trouble. But today, Valary has been invited to use the space to put the final touches on her Op-Ed outlining her opinions on the WISER school expansion.

Suddenly, with a knowing look, Valary grabs her pen and writes her closing point:

“WISER has improved the lives of many Muhuru girls, and I am proud to be among the Muhuru girls given this opportunity. The new WISER expansion will create opportunities like this not only for more girls, but for my sisters, my cousins, and maybe even my own future daughters. Maybe they will have the chance to be WISER Girls.”

Powerful words from a future journalist.

The WISER campus is a busy place right now! We are happily in the middle of our largest-ever expansion and new buildings are popping up all over campus. A new dining hall, dormitory renovations, science lab, and computer lab will all provide the space necessary for the 120 additional students WISER will add to its regular enrollment over the next four years.

But in the midst of the hammering and sheet metal a much quieter practice is going on this month.

Third-year student Valary and eleven of her classmates have just completed a 10-session Op-Ed workshop to learn new writing skills and express their opinions about the events unfolding around them.

This month’s most popular topic? The upcoming expansion.

“Nothing could be more exciting than this expansion project,” writes second-year student Sheila,“This is not only an increase in student population, but a great opportunity to interact with new people.”

Through the Op-Ed workshop, WISER Girls are learning how to articulate their feelings on current events ranging from the 2017 Kenya national elections and nationwide education policy to the local fishing economy and of course, WISER’s growth.

Four of the girls in the workshop are first-year students, and are experiencing for the first time a platform through which they are asked to confidently express an opinion, however controversial it may be. They’ve risen to the challenge beautifully.

“WISER’s expansion changes the history of our community,” writes first-year student Snaider. “The current WISER Girls have a new opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with more girls than ever… this is an idea that helps all girls- the girls from Muhuru Bay and the girls from across Kenya too.”

While a number of amazing stories and arguments have emerged from the Op-Ed workshop, we’re most excited to see one thing: confidence.

These WISER Girls are proudly and emphatically writing on the issues that matter most to them and doing so without the fear of being discouraged or dissuaded.

We’re proud to offer the environment in which the confidence of young women can grow. But more than this, we’re thankful to all of you – the global family of WISER supporters – for making this environment possible.

As said before, our campus is a busy place right now, and we love it that way. So thank you, for helping build our programs and expand our campus and for empowering the WISER Girls that live, work, and write there.

Two WISER Girls review each other's writing
Two WISER Girls review each other's writing
Jul 28, 2016

Lucy's Story and the WISER Class of 2015

Lucy, WISER Intern and c/o 2015 alumna
Lucy, WISER Intern and c/o 2015 alumna

“During graduation, I was unbelievably happy. When my name was called, I felt so proud of myself. My family knew that moment was the end of a lifelong goal, and they were proud of me too. My sister immediately told me that she wanted to study, to learn, to be like me – to be a WISER Girl.”

When Lucy first came to WISER, she had ambitious goals. She wanted to be the first in her family to finish high school. She wanted to be the first in her family to pass the Kenyan national exam. She wanted to be the first person in her entire village to join a university.

Four years later, she’s done all of those things.

After graduating #2 in the WISER class of 2015, Lucy is getting ready to begin her studies at Kenyatta University, where she will pursue a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Yet even before beginning college, Lucy is finding ways to give back to WISER. She is currently an Intern at the WISER school, and while she enjoys her job responsibilities, she enjoys the chance to be a role model to other girls even more.

Recently, I asked Lucy: “Do you think you can be a role model to other girls?”

Her answer made it clear:

“Not can be. I am. The comments I get in my village are wonderful. Some girls are asking me, how did you make it? They want to go to school, my sisters want to be like me. I’m an example to my community. I’m the first in my village to get a degree! I’m the first to go to university. So everyone looks to me and I’ve become the role model I wanted to be. Now, I can encourage girls everywhere.”

Lucy is only one of the incredible success stories to come out of the WISER class of 2015 that graduated this June. All 27 graduates qualified for university admission and 16 WISER Girls have received full government scholarships. WISER Girls have been accepted to programs in everything from Agricultural Economics to Electrical Engineering and many of them will be the “first in their family” – just like Lucy.

Stories like Lucy’s are dreams coming true, and none of these dreams would be possible without you. When you provide support, you make dreams a reality, and you help build a network of driven, successful, brilliant young women.

 So while we at WISER are certainly thankful for your support and dedication, we’ll let you hear it from Lucy in her own words:

“WISER gave me more than I can say. Finding an opportunity like this is hard, but to actually be given it is a blessing. My siblings didn’t go to high school because of poverty. WISER and the people that support WISER opened the door for me… I’m so thankful to WISER supporters. I hope they find the kind heart to help other girls in the same way that they helped me.”

The WISER Graduating Class of 2015
The WISER Graduating Class of 2015

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