Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya

by WISER International
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Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Empower and Educate WISER girls in rural Kenya
Meet Carol
Meet Carol

WISER International is a nonprofit 501c3 community development organization that supports education, health, and economic development activities in Muhuru Bay, Kenya with the main focus of empowering girls. Our flagship program is a secondary boarding school for girls.

Why WISER?

WISER’s mission is to empower girls through health and education.

Before WISER, only one girl from Muhuru Bay in 30 years attended a university. Now, 85% of WISER alumni attend higher education and many have the opportunity to study in STEM fields. WISER is committed to high quality STEM education for girls and our students outcompete boys.

WISER takes a holistic approach to the boarding school environment. Unlike other schools in the area, WISER provides everything a girl needs to be successful including – clothes, books, safe housing, female role models, leadership training, healthy food, mosquito nets, HIV education, and essential medicine. The program includes psychological support and counseling, as one third of our students are orphans. In addition, sexual abuse is common in the Kenya education system and many students have histories of trauma. Teachers, staff, and administration live on campus with the girls, providing them with guidance and support throughout the year.

WISER has also implemented community health programs including – information about sexual and reproductive health, HIV testing and counseling, sanitary pad provision to over 400 girls, sustainable gardening, and clean drinking water for 5,000 people.

WISER girls have all the tools to become empowered and successful global citizens.

What Is Happening Now?

The WISER boarding school is under construction to double WISER’s enrollment from 120 to 240 and provide — a new science lab, more student and teacher housing, and an event hall to host community events.
 
WISER is also expanding its Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs and planning additional outreach into the community. 
 
WISER’s Impact

85% of all WISER girls attend college or university.

WISER has had three graduating classes since opening its doors in 2010.
 
30% of the WISER girls are orphans.
 
Unlike the 70% attrition due to pregnancy in neighboring schools, the WISER secondary school has had zero attrition.
 
Despite taking low performing students, the WISER secondary school is ranked in the top 5% of private secondary schools in Kenya.

In 2016, the first class of WISER girls will be graduating from a university.

Meet Carol

Carol was fearful she would never go to school due to the death of her father and her mother’s long-term sickness. WISER has made her hopeful again.

“I want to go out and get a job, a successful one, and bring my siblings back to school,” she said.

Meet Christine

Christine is a member of WISER’s second graduating class.Currently a student at Kenyatta University, Christine is the first member of her entire family to attend a university.

She hopes to one day become a teacher.

Thank You Donors!

On behalf of the WISER Internatiaonl board of directors, we would like to thank you for your loyalty to the WISER girls. Because of your donations, girls have access to everything they need to succeed. Their success is your success! Thank you!

Meet Christine
Meet Christine
Purity enjoys spending time in the school garden.
Purity enjoys spending time in the school garden.

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Carol and Velma, class of  WISER 2019,
Carol and Velma, class of WISER 2019,

Getting to know two of WISER’s newest faces!

And... WISER Match at 9am ET tomorrow!

March 7 is the Global Giving UK's "We Believe in Girls" 50% Match Campaign. Can you support Carol and Velma then? Donations help us receive bonuses! Give the same way you do in the US, but matches only happen via the UK site. You can give all that week, but matching day is only March 7 (UK time.)

On March 7 starting at 9 am ET go to the Global Giving UK site to help us get bonuses and matching!  WISER Global Giving UK

Meet Carol and Velma.

There may be nothing more intimidating and miraculous than the opportunity to begin a life-changing experience. For Carol and Velma, two of the newest students at the WISER school in Muhuru Bay, Kenya, the start of the new school year is the start of a new way of life: one in which they will find ways to escape poverty, and to help their families. Both girls have experienced hardship at home and in their studies, and upon reaching WISER, a sense of excitement and appreciation drives them to take control of their own education. “It has always been a dream,” says Carol. The sentiment is echoed by Velma who says, “without WISER, I would not know what to do. I would be waking up, planting in the field, coming back… it would be so hard.”  WISER is delighted to have these young scholars on-campus and learn about  their journeys and their dreams.

Before Carol came to WISER, she, like many girls in Muhuru, found herself constantly in and out of school due to a lack of school fees. This led her to fall behind in class, as she was sent home again and again to retrieve money she did not have. “My fellow students went on with the class syllabus, and I was way too slow. It was hard,” said Carol. To make things more challenging, Carol was faced with the death of her father at a young age. Speaking of this time, she said, “my father was the backbone. He was encouraging us to live. My brother loved my father very much… it was terrible for my mom, she was always crying. I felt like committing suicide.” It was just after this taxing time that Carol received a scholarship from WISER, and while she is nervous she feels like she has already reached a goal: “I’m in a good life now, and I want my friends and family to be there too. I will help them.” Carol hopes to be a lawyer, and says she believes law has the power to change Kenya’s direction for the better. When asked about what she hopes for her time at WISER, Carol thinks of what the school means for her and her family, saying “I want to go out and get a job, a successful one, and I can finally bring my siblings back to school.” For a girl that spent so much time in an unsure state, WISER has provided the stability that enables Carol to learn and live while gaining the skills necessary to support the family she loves.

Like Carol, Velma spent a considerable amount of time being sent home by teachers to retrieve schools fees that she could not get from her parents, who are currently unemployed. Velma says her family has had some hard times, and that her sister, who did not finish school, is currently “married to a bad man- he is travelling and has no money… all the time.” Velma also struggled to balance her family life, lack of school fees, and her education, explaining that “my father was extremely sick. I was told to go home instead of attending school… education was running out of my hands. The teachers and students were ahead and I was struggling to catch up.” But finally at WISER, Velma feels a sense of belonging that she has been missing: “When I came to WISER, I was recognized. I was accepted.” Particularly, Velma has fallen in love with the teaching style at WISER, saying that “the way they are teaching- it’s quality. In public schools, the teachers were always absent. Teachers here have passion. I know I’m going to pass because I feel ready with them.” Velma is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her aunt, who is a former WISER girl herself, and encouraged Velma to strive to be at WISER. Velma hopes to be a nurse, because she believes that helping patients is the perfect way to bring gratification into a life. All in all, Velma is ready to take on the challenge of being a WISER girl, and says that, although she has only been in school a short time, she is impressed: “they are treating me well, they give me everything I want. People always know what they are doing here at WISER.”

With your support we have educated over 200 girls like Carol and Velma, and are expanding to take in another 240.

Can you ally with these hardworking girls on March 7 during Global Giving UK's 50% Match? Do you believe in girls?  WISER Global Giving UK

Your donations bring in matching funds and bonuses for the girls!

Warmest wishes.

Sherryl

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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.
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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

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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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Organization Information

WISER International

Location: Durham, NC - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @WISER_Intl
Project Leader:
Emily Dake
Durham, NC United States
$577,561 raised of $600,000 goal
 
7,066 donations
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