Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty

by Global Interfaith Partnership
Vetted
Mercy
Mercy

Hear Mercy's story, told to us directly from Kenya by Ashley and Sarah, our Field Interns:

Just this week, we had the opportunity to visit the home of Mercy, a seventh grader at Kawino Primary School. Mercy is a total orphan, and one of six children who live with their grandmother. When we visited, we were warmly received with tea and avocados from the tree outside the family home. Mercy’s grandmother sells avocados to help provide for her grandchildren, and she expressed her gratitude for the maize and beans provided to the family from the Umoja Project.

Mercy is a good student, and when we asked her what she wants to be when she grows up, she said she wants to work for the Umoja Project—she wants to go all the way through school and then help others do the same. When we asked her to describe herself in a word, Mercy said, “honest.” She helps at home to care for her younger siblings.

Mercy is one of 19 girls from Kawino who regularly attend GET UP sessions at a nearby school. These girls meet on Saturday mornings to be mentored and taught by local female leaders. They receive snacks, sing songs, and most importantly learn about their rights as girls to be safe and pursue their dreams. The Link Teacher at Kawino Primary spoke about the impact of the GET UP program on the school, saying that now girls were becoming top performers in their classes, and the rate of drop out from pregnancy has been drastically reduced from an average of 6-7 a year to only the occasional drop out. When we met with the GET UP girls at Kawino, we talked together about how girls can succeed and be independent, just like boys. The girls spoke about the strengths and gifts they saw in themselves. 

We are excited to see Mercy step into her 8th grade year! Her hope is to receive high enough marks to continue on to secondary school, and eventually to be able to help her family and community. The support she receives from Umoja—daily lunch at school, a uniform, and food for her family at home—is helping her to chase down these dreams.

Mercy and her family
Mercy and her family
GET UP girls at Kawino Primary School
GET UP girls at Kawino Primary School
Lorite in secondary school
Lorite in secondary school

We first got to know Lorite when she wrote the following letter in 2010:

I am Lorite. I am in Standard Seven in Bar-Anding’o Primary School. I want to appreciate [Global Interfaith Partnership] because of its benefits to us. It has provided us with blankets, lunch, school uniforms, and sanitary towels for girls.

I really appreciate the project because of its benefits to us. If you come to our school, you’ll realize that there is a great change since it was introduced.

I leave requesting you to continue helping us. May you continue doing good deeds to us. We are yours and you are ours. So if you can please don’t stop to help us. If you stop, we will nowhere to be seen.

Yours faithfully,  Lorite

Since completing primary school and attending Mawego Girls School, Lorite has participated in our GET UP programs.  These programs have helped Lorite to stay focused on her goal of attending university someday. 

We've just gotten the results from the national exam Lorite had to take last November when she finished high school and Lorite achieved her dream!  She has been awarded direct entry to the university with government support, an achievement that would never have been possible without your support. 

We are so proud of Lorite and other girls like her who are supported through GET UP.  On their behalf, we thank you for your commitment to their success!

Lorite in Class 7
Lorite in Class 7

Links:

Hildah
Hildah

Nothing touches me more than receiving letters from our students.  Please take a moment to read Hildah's letter of thanks for your support for the GET UP program. Truthfully, without your support it is unlikely Hildah would be going to university, fulfilling her dreams and creating a better life for herself and her family.  Many thanks for all you do to make a difference in the lives of so many young students like Helida!

Hello

I am Hildah, a student and a beneficiary of GET UP. I am grateful to you for having helped me through my high school studies till now that I am about to join a university for further studies.

I am happy for you having arranged for the GET UP. It has helped in bringing us girls together. It makes us share our problems and as usual problems shared are half-way solved. Many girls get to know how to deal with challenges in the adolescent stage and cope with them.

We also get encouraged by the people who have made it in life. GET UP also makes the ladies believe in themselves and know that nothing in life is impossible. I love all the teachings in GETUP, as all are encouraging.

Continue with the heart of helping the ladies through GET UP and all girls will improve in their studies due to the new things they learn. In everything that I will always do, I will live to remember you for the concern shown to help me.

Yours faithfully,

Hildah

Girls enjoying recent GET UP retreat
Girls enjoying recent GET UP retreat

Links:

Girls on the GET UP retreat
Girls on the GET UP retreat

Recently our high school girls had their annual retreat. For three days the girls left their school and family obligations behind, headed off an adventure away from home, and spent time learning, sharing, and laughing together. For these girls who have had few opportunities to just relax and have some fun, this event is a highlight of the year!  We received touching notes of thanks from many of them and below are excerpts from just a few.  On behalf of all the girls, thank you for your support which makes this nurturing event possible!

 

Hi, I am Hellen from St. Barnabas Girls School in Form 2 [10th grade]. I hereby want to thank Global Interfaith Partnership for supporting us by organizing for us the August retreat. We are working hard towards our goals in order to get a better future and become future leaders. I wish you well in your daily lives.  Hellen

 The programme has enabled me to be where I am now, since I used to admire the other girls in colleges when I was in high school, and this made me work hard to be like them. I am now happy since I am joining university soon. The same way the other girls in high school are learning from me and therefore this is motivation for them. I believe that the guidance we get from the facilitators is of high value to us and we live to be focused in our endeavors. Thanks for GET UP and God bless you since we are being prepared to be all round citizens in future. We appreciate you.  Maureen

 Hello, I am Helida, a student and beneficiary of Global Interfaith Partnership. I am grateful to you for having helped me through my high school studies til now that I am about to join a university for further studies.  I am happy for you having arranged the GET UP. It has helped in bringing the girls together. It makes them share their problems and as usual the problems shared are half way solved. Many girls get to know how to deal with challenges in their adolescent stage and cope with them.

We also get encouraged by the people who have made it in life. The project also strengthens the relationship among the girls as thy get to know each other better. It also makes the ladies believe in themselves and how that nothing in life is impossible. I love all the teachings in GET UP as all are encouraging.

Continue with the heart of helping the ladies through GET UP and all girls will improve in their studies due to the new things they learn. In everything that I will always do, I will live to remember GET UP for the concern they have shown to help me.

Yours faithfully,
Helida

Maureen
Maureen
Helida
Helida

Links:

GET UP secondary school girls
GET UP secondary school girls

It often is a challenge to come up with objective measures of success when working on issues affecting girls' empowerment. One of the measures GET UP has focused upon is increasing the number of girls who complete their secondary education and perform well on the national exam required at the conclusion of secondary school. The grade a student earns on this comprehensive exam dictates eligibility for college or university, and in turn whether one is prepared for stable employment.

It has been difficult for our students to do as well on the nation-wide exam as the students who have not faced so many obstacles to academic success. However, through the years we have seen steady improvement in the test scores our students have achieved. Through the GET UP program (Girls Empowerment Team of the Umoja Project) the goal has been to help girls overcome the additional challenges they face as young women, such that they perform to the best of their ability on the national exam.

We are excited to say that the girls who sat for the exam this year did exceedingly well! For the first time, 6 girls earned direct admittance to the university with government support.  Congratulations to Caroline, Maurine, Helida, Emily, Carolyne, and Risper!

We are so proud of the accomplishments of these young women.  They have encountered so many challenges, yet persevered.  Your support for GET UP helped to make their success possible, and we thank you. 

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Global Interfaith Partnership

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.globalinterfaithpartnership.com
Project Leader:
Ellen Daniels-Howell
Indianapolis, Indiana United States
$28,022 raised of $35,000 goal
 
 
1,060 donations
$6,978 to go
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