Western Kenya is one of the poorest sections of the country. This rural area has little access to electricity or clean water. The HIV/Aids epidemic has created a 19% infection rate among people over age 18, thus leaving thousands of orphans. Most girls leave school after 8th grade since there is no money to pay the fees. Girls miss one week every month because they don't have supplies for their menses. AIDS widows try to support their families with little training, resources or support.
This project provides microfinance loans and year-long training for women to start their own businesses. When one group repays the loans, another group of women gets a loan. Women become self-sustaining and can provide for their families and help train others. Girls in our schools get reusable sanitary pads so they don't miss one week of school every year. The school feeding program provides nutritious meals for all students and the villagers learn how to provide food for their children.
Empowered women can change the future. By developing and running businesses through microfinance loans, women not only help their own families but become teachers for other women. Girls who are educated are less likely to get pregnant and more likely to finish secondary school and be able to support their families. This year, when the girls in all of our schools were given reusable sanitary pads so that they didn't miss school because of menses, they outperformed the boys in the national exams.