What do you do when you start an after school club and 90 girls show up? You roll with the enthusiasm!
Term 2 just started at WISER and with it the annual collaboration with students from Duke University. A main project is building on our Lighting Up STEM Education project, part of No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project of the Clinton Global Initiative. Duke sophomore Jenna Peters went to Kenya this year to build on the sustainable energy project the WISER girls have been working on for a year. The girls have learned how to design circuits and test models for turning mechanical energy (shaking, swinging, cranking) into light that allows them to study at night and walk safely in the dark. In a community without access to electricity, light is a gendered issue, and light for boys is prioritized. With this motivation 100 flashlights or lamps have been built by the girls inside discarded water bottles and old peanut butter jars.
Why did 90 girls show up for Jenna’s first club session? The girls want to improve themselves and be change agents for community. Having never met a female engineer one WISER girl loved the career path the club opened, saying “I really like the knowledge and skills engineering club is giving me because it gives me the strength and courage of being an engineer.” Another girl said, “I want to learn how I can help the problem of electricity in my community by providing a cheaper way of getting light”. A third said she is now inspired to “come up with new innovations and invent other things.’
Working with WISER girls changes you. They inspire and humble you with their drive for change. We get caught up in the details and logistics of running programs and projects, but the girls never stop dreaming of ways to use their knowledge to change their world. They got game.
Mar 24, 2015
Who is the girl in the WISER picture?
By Sherryl Broverman - WISER co-founder and chair
Volca wants to improve health in her community
When you gave to WISER's project you saw a smiling young woman standing near the world map painted in the WISER meeting hall. But have you wondered who that confident girl in our photo is? Meet Volca, here shown in her school uniform. Volca was raised by her mother after her father passed away. While her brother finished secondary school, Volca’s sister was not able to continue her education and dropped out. Volca fears that without a scholarship to WISER she too would have to leave school.
When asked about her time at WISER Volca points out that "there is no caning and the teachers are friendly and supportive,” reflecting the emphasis WISER puts on a physically safe environment for learning and treating girls with dignity, not always found in this region. Volca also says WISER has brought community-wide change in how girls are valued: “Since WISER came many things have totally changed. Nowadays girls education is valued the same as boys.”
Muhuru has many health challenges, from HIV to malaria to high infant mortality. Volca is in her final year at WISER, dreams of becoming a doctor, and says she will bring a special empathy towards people who have struggled as she has.
With your help we are close to having enough funds to support seven more girls like Volca. We hope to raise one more scholarship and get up to 8 girls before the Challenge ends. Can you help us spread the word so more girls can get safe and effective education and stay in school and out of marriage?
Mar 20, 2015
Update #1 During Open Challenge
By Carrie Arndt - WISER International Board Secretary
Thanks to all of our supporters during the first few days of the GlobalGiving Open Challenge.
Please help WISER raise additional scholarship funds by sharing this project with your friends during the remaining 7 days of the Global Giving Open Challenge, which ends on March 27.
On Wednesday, WISER won the bonus for the most dollars raised in a day. The project has raised $19,541 from 117 unique donors in the first 4 days. The project is in second place for total dollars raised and third place for unique donors. There are bonuses at the end of the Open Challenge on March 27 for both categories, so please spread the word.
We recently received the results for the Class of 2014 (our second class of students) for their high school exit exam (known in Kenya as the "KCSE"). 100% of our students graduated from high school and 75% are eligible for university! We are so proud of our 32 graduates.
We will continue to provide frequent updates and are so appreciative of your scholarship support for the young women of Muhuru Bay, Kenya.