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Dec 1, 2015

WISER and Giving Tuesday

See how far your donation can go!
See how far your donation can go!

It's Giving Tuesday! Small donations from you can make a big difference for girls at WISER. And if you set up a recurring donation up to $200 will be matched! Take a break and change a girl's life.

Listen to what Lucy says about how WISER has changed her and her community:

Sometimes when I sit down and flashback, I think… Life is so funny! I used to wonder why I was created a girl in Muhuru-Bay—a place where there is gender discrimination. In a real sense, it was seen as a waste of time for girls to be educated. After all, they would only leave the area and get married somewhere else. This belief gave boys the upper hand in education.

Since I had witnessed what other girls in my neighborhood faced, I knew too well that I was on the same path. So, like any other girl in the community, I did not value education much.  However, before it was too late, a light descended upon Muhuru girls. The light was WISER secondary school.  All the girls learning at WISER are on full scholarship and this is driven through the generosity and love of our international and national donors. Through WISER, Muhuru Bay in Kenya has realized the potential and capabilities of girls; thus, promoting gender equality. WISER has created a new era in Muhuru Bay—an era of progress, not discrimination.

As a member of the class of 2015, I believe that I am going to graduate soon as a self-reliant woman leader prepared to make an impact in the world.

I love the WISER school and welcome all to WISER—a nice place to live, learn, and be—which gives you a fresh meaning of life.

 

Lucy (who just finished her final exams!)

Lucy reflecting on her life.
Lucy reflecting on her life.
Nov 30, 2015

WISER School to Double in Size

Look at how Floviance has grown!
Look at how Floviance has grown!

WISER is expanding. Come grow with us!

A generous partnership with The Social Initiative of Sweden is allowing WISER to expand our campus and double the number of girls we serve. Campus construction will begin this winter and in January 2017 WISER will enroll twice the usual number of girls, eventually getting us up to 240 students! This is a remarkable change from before WISER opened when there were only 40 girls total in high school in the community.

And what happens when WISER opens doors? Girls charge through.

Two days before Thanksgiving I received the most wonderful message from Floviance, one of the first girls to enroll at WISER. When I first met Floviance she was 15 and already in love with learning, though it had been a tremendous struggle to stay in school. Floviance’s father left when she was five years old, taking her brother with him, but leaving behind Floviance and her little sister. Her mother died when she was ten leaving Floviance in charge of the family. Floviance told me she had to work at night helping fishermen in order to support her sister and herself, while still going to school all day. Floviance remembers the struggle to get enough food for just one meal a day. Despite these conditions, she excelled in primary school. After her final exams Floviance qualified for a good high school, but her father refused to pay her school fees and told her to get married instead. She was 14. However, Floviance says that “I knew I would keep learning and not get married” so she repeated her final year of primary school and in 2010 WISER opened and gave her a full scholarship. Floviance graduated in the top of our class and was one of the first girls from Muhuru Bay to go to university. Remembering how hungry she was as a child Floviance is studying how to improve agriculture in her community. In our conversation just before Thanksgiving Floviance proudly told me that she was one of the three top girls at Moi University and that she had been elected as class representative. To hear such good news said so joyfully a few days before Thanksgiving was such a gift and reminded me to be thankful for the amazing community of students, teachers, friends, and supporters WISER has built.

And now WISER is building more dormitories and classrooms. Floviance has graduated, but her little sister is now at WISER and soon another 240 girls will join us. Girls with passion, intellect, and drive who just need us to open doors for them. We are spending this year expanding our campus and building those doors. Will you help us open them? We are doubling our school. Giving Tuesday is tomorrow December 1, can you double your gift? 

Many thanks and best wishes.

Sherryl

Sep 16, 2015

When you give birth to a daugther you have no child.

Rose at graduation
Rose at graduation

“When you give birth to a daughter, you have no child.”

I recently heard this comment when talking to Dorcas Odhiambo, the principal of the WISER school. Dorcas’ mother had given birth to six daughters, so she had no children worth counting.

But Dorcas had a spark in her, went to school, and earned scholarships. Now Dorcas has reached the pinnacle of education, having served on presidential commissions for education reform in Kenya. And Dorcas is paying it forward. Instead of an easy retirement she moved to rural Kenya to open WISER and help a community believe that when you give birth to a girl, you have a child full of talent and potential.

In July Dorcas and I joyfully celebrated WISER’s second graduation. Once again 100% of our girls passed the national exam and 80% are going to college or university. A third of our girls scored so high that they have full government support! And some of those high performing girls are girls who were abandoned by their families as not worth investing in. Girls who were born and grew up, but were not counted. Now they are.

WISER girls are showing the world that even the poorest girl can be successful. And their families and communities are rallying around them. At WISER’s graduation over 1,000 people came to celebrate the success of their girls. All around our field girls were being hugged and adorned with garlands. I love the photo above of Rose and a supportive community member after graduation. She is glowing, proud of her accomplishment, and he is holding her close, cherishing her. Here is a girl who is counted and will pave the way for more girls to matter.

WISER alumni are now attending 23 different universities and colleges across Kenya. One of our alumni was selected as a MasterCard Foundation Scholar and has full funding to study in the United States. These girls are fighting the odds and winning. They are pioneers in their community. Ally with them. Join Dorcas, Rose and the other 180 WISER girls who are paying it forward. They all count.

Today, September 16, please show your support for WISER on Global Giving and we will receive a 30% match. Up to $70,000 will be given out as matching funds, but that money could go fast and we are competing with other groups. Can you do your part to steer that bonus to the WISER girls? Please consider a donation, of any size, today to create more joyful, game-changing alumni, like Rose.

Matching funds are only available today. Please donate at this link:

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/keep-girls-in-school-and-out-of-marriage-in-kenya/

 
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