Kakenya's Dream

The Kakenya Center for Excellence seeks to empower and motivate young girls through education to become agents of change and to break the cycle of destructive cultural practices in Maasai Kenya such as female genital cutting and early forced marriage. We believe in impacting one girl at a time, one community at a time, until all girls in Africa have the opportunities they need to thrive as individuals. These future women leaders will improve their communities, their nation, and the world.
Jun 17, 2015

Our Graduates are Spreading Their Wings

Dear Friends,

While there are millions of things about Kakenya Center for Excellence that make me smile every day, one of the greatest joys for me has been to watch the girls graduate from KCE and continue into high school.

55 girls have spread their wings and left our nest!

They are succeeding academically, physically, and spiritually in high schools around Kenya. To witness this transition has been an extraordinary experience for me.  I’m in awe of them all!

Our graduates, who are now part of our Network for Excellence program, were recently back on the KCE campus for 10 days of academic review, leadership training, and of course, fun. We provided a structured and nurturing environment where they could study and reconnect with old friends. The girls shared stories about their high school experiences with each another and with our 7th and 8th graders.  In addition, they finished homework assignments and worked with tutors on weak subject areas.

Here is what some of the girls said when asked, “How did KCE help you prepare for high school?":

  • I have gained self confidence. I can say no or yes and mean them.”
  • “KCE has improved my communication skills and enabled me to stand on my own principles.”
  • “KCE has helped me to be an excellent leader in my community.”

When asked about the Network for Excellence program, students replied:

  • “It has helped me because mentors have been teaching us how to cope with the situations in our daily lives.”
  • “I have older people to share ideas with about my future and get advice.” 
  • “It has helped me to know how to give back and to know the kind of friends I have.”

Thanks to the concerted efforts of our trained staff and mentors, our girls are truly supported and continue to thrive. Navigating high school can be hard for anyone, but especially for girls who may be the first in their family to go to high school. We recognize this challenge and are committed to providing extra support and guidance to these girls throughout their high school education.

 

Thank you for your support! Have a wonderful summer!

May 26, 2015

Adapting to Meet the Needs of All Girls

Girls in our April Camp
Girls in our April Camp

Dear Friends,

In April, we hosted our week-long health and leadership training camp on our campus. Our 6th grade girls were joined with 60 girls from other schools throughout the Transmara region. The trainers from I’m Worth Defending in Nairobi and our local trainers exposed the girls to different topics from FGM and legal rights to sexual health and prevention.

These trainings are a reality check for our staff and team. It reminds us of the tremendous need for health education, self-defense training and empowerment building outside our campus walls. The reality is that in Kenya, 85% of all sexual assaults occur in the home with someone the victim knows. Several girls that come to our camp have been violated and have never spoken about it or received any counseling. Our program continues to adapt to the needs and challenges of all the girls we serve. In addition to teaching girls how to protect themselves we are now in the process of hiring a certified counselor to work with girls who have already been victims of sexual assault.   I know this counseling will be a tremendous support for many girls.

 The days at camp are not completely filled with “structured time.” Every day the girls gather informally to simply share stories about life in their villages and to “compare notes” as all girls across cultures and continents do!  I was thrilled to be in Enoosaen for the spring camp. I shared my early childhood experience with the girls who were very excited about my accomplishment and felt personally challenged to do the same. The girls shared with me some of their own challenges but also their hopes and dreams for their homes and community. I left campus feeling motivated and determined to continue advocating for them and all girls in Kenya.

Thank you for supporting this Health and Leadership Training program. I feel blessed to have so many people validating our efforts through your continued support.

Sincerely,

Kakenya

Posters from Self Defense Training
Posters from Self Defense Training
Mar 20, 2015

Strengthening Foundations & Cultivating Community

New Uniforms
New Uniforms

The Kakenya Center for Excellence campus is located in Enoosaen, a Maasai village of about 10,000 people located 250 miles west of Nairobi. In 2009, on land donated by community elders, we built our two-story classroom that became the anchor for our first class of 32 students. Today, with 183 girls enrolled at KCE, our campus has become a foundation in the community. We are not only changing the lives of the 183 girls that live on our campus, but are changing the social norms around educating girls in Enoosaen; and challenging our community members to reconsider harmful traditional practices such as FGM and early marriage that endanger the lives of their daughters.

Living on campus is a tremendous benefit to our girls, which I cannot begin to emphasize enough. Our campus provides a safe space for girls to live and study. Living on campus gives the girls more hours to focus on schoolwork, greater access to teachers, and enables them to form lasting friendships with classmates. Perhaps most importantly, our girls have an overwhelming sense of pride about our school campus.

As our student enrollment and community involvement grows, we continue to dedicate energy and resources to our campus infrastructure. Recently the dorm walls were freshly painted inside and out, new mattresses were purchased, a local carpenter built additional classroom chairs and tables, our teachers moved into new housing, and we broke ground on another academic building. I'm proud to have new accommodations for teachers that provide every teacher with a private space on campus near our students.

On February 18th community leaders, parents, teachers and students held a groundbreaking ceremony on campus for the new classroom building which will house 3 classrooms and a library. We are excited about the new library, which will provide a dedicated space for our books and e-readers, and a quiet space for teachers and students.

While the structural foundations of our building continue to grow and strengthen, we continue to nurture the personal foundation of all our girls at KCE as well. Leadership building, health education and preservation of culture are integrated into our curriculum at all levels.

Thank you for your steadfast support as we continue to strengthen our foundations and cultivate community!

New Teacher Housing
New Teacher Housing
Kakenya shares plans of the new academic building
Kakenya shares plans of the new academic building
 
   

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