Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya

by Kakenya's Dream
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Support girls' education and end FGM in Kenya
Our new mentors undergo training
Our new mentors undergo training

Through its Network of Excellence, Kakenya’s Dream administers a mentorship program to provide our students with a safe space to build their self-esteem, develop their voices, and overcome negative peer pressure. Before COVID-19, we partnered with an external organization to find recent college graduates to serve as mentors by working with students at our campuses, holding sessions on personal and professional development, and communicating with their mentees throughout the year. 

This year, we adjusted our mentorship model so that over 200 of our current scholars will be paired with 46 KCE alumnae who are currently enrolled in college. Having once been in the shoes of our current students, our new mentors will be better able to identify with the challenges their mentees face. We are currently training alumnae to become front line experts, leaders, and positive role models for our younger girls, and, in the process, continue to challenge the outdated social and cultural norms in their communities. Following the training, mentors and mentees will meet every week to assist with schoolwork and provide support around communication, health, leadership, and job preparation.

Ann, who I remember from when she first enrolled at KCE I,  is one of our new mentors. Her time at KCE has motivated her to give back to her community and inspire future generations:

“The mentorship program at Kakenya’s Dream is important because I am learning how to guide my peers and those who are younger than I. Previously, we were mentored by people who we did not even know, but now we can mentor younger girls in our program since we can relate more with them. I will be able to empower my mentees to avoid the harmful cultural practices in our community...I will be able to tell them the importance of education in their lives and the dangers of getting married at an early age.”

We can’t wait to see how women like Ann will impact current KCE students. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping us inspire a future generation of changemakers in rural Kenya.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year,

Kakenya

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Receiving a solar radio in the Angaza care package
Receiving a solar radio in the Angaza care package

Our planned activities for the year have, of course, taken an unexpected turn with the reality of the global health pandemic. With the spread of COVID-19 and school closures around the world, many aspects of Kakenya’s Dream’s operations - including our Health and Leadership Training - have been delayed, suspended, or otherwise modified. Kenya's schools have been closed since March and the government recently announced that they will remain closed through the rest of the year. Our girls do not have access to any kind of learning materials in their homes without Kakenya’s Dream support and, if left unaddressed, this would cause them to fall behind their peers in more resourced locations who are able to continue learning through radio programs, Whatsapp, and other media. We also know that in addition to missing academics, girls are lacking medical care, counseling, and reproductive health attention and information that we provide. Unfortunately, the longer our girls are away from school, the greater their risks and challenges are when they finally do return. 

Our team has quickly pivoted our planned activities to immediately address these concerns and have been busy implementing new measures to protect and support our girls through this time. In May, we launched the Angaza Project, meaning “shine” in Swahili. Through the Angaza Project, our team is providing care packages to our students and their families that include the basic necessities they lack at home, such as soap, feminine hygiene products, and food staples. We also purchased solar-powered radios to allow the girls to access the lessons being delivered through national and local radio stations by the Ministry of Education, as well as solar lights, story books, textbooks, and other learning materials. We will be regularly distributing supplies as long as the crisis continues and hope that this support will mitigate some of the challenges our girls are facing while at home.

Additionally, COVID has only exacerbated the already alarmingly high rates of teen pregnancy in our region. Even before the pandemic, our communities have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the country, currently at 40% - over twice the national average of 18%. Our team recognizes we need a stronger prevention strategy to combat early pregnancy and provide training on healthy interpersonal relationships. Beginning this fall/early winter, we plan to launch a community advocacy radio program to educate teenagers and young adults about how to be in control of their bodies, avoid unintended pregnancies, and learn about responsible family planning. We look forward to sharing more information in the next upcoming report - in the meantime, please sign up for our newsletter and connect with us via social media to get the latest updates!

Thank you for your continued belief in our work and your unwavering support of our girls. We are in this together.

An eighth grader with her Angaza care package
An eighth grader with her Angaza care package

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KCE 4th grader
KCE 4th grader

We hope you are staying safe and healthy as we all face unprecedented challenges. 

Thanks to your support, we started our school year off with lots of exciting activities. We welcomed new classes of 4th and 9th graders, our handball team came in first in the zonal competition, and our girls participated in a sub-county wide science fair. Then the global health crisis put everything on pause.

In times of uncertainty such as this, I see the best of our community emerge. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all who have asked, “How can we help?” As one of our most important supporters, I want to tell you how the pandemic has impacted our girls.

Like in many parts of the world, all schools in Kenya are closed until further notice, including our two campuses. The reality of a global health crisis is particularly devastating for vulnerable populations. We are more concerned than ever for the wellbeing of the girls we serve, as they will be more susceptible while at home to female genital mutilation, teen pregnancy, and early marriages. Our schools provide them with physical safety as well as nutrition and mental health services.

Another major threat we currently see is the spread of misinformation and knowledge gaps. Most of our girls’ parents are illiterate, and none have access to the internet. My team and I are actively looking for ways to continue to support our girls and their families as we navigate this difficult time. Aside from your amazing financial support, if you are looking for ways to help, here are some ideas:

  • Share our work: While we are physically distanced, we can still connect socially. Continue to spread the word about Kakenya’s Dream and share our work with others who care about educating vulnerable girls.
  • Create a fundraiser: Visit our website to learn how you can create your own fundraiser or host a virtual party for Kakenya’s Dream.
  • Communicate: Although our staff is working remotely, we are still available and want to hear from you, our Kakenya’s Dream family.

Please remember: YOU make our work possible. Thank you for standing with our girls in good times and these difficult times.

We will get through this together and continue to build a better world for girls everywhere.

In solidarity,

Kakenya

KCE II 9th graders
KCE II 9th graders

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Greetings from Enoosaen!

As 2019 comes to a close, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you have helped us accomplish this year. Both inside and outside of the classroom, our girls continue to thrive. Your support is truly making a difference.

One of the most exciting events in 2019 was our International Day of the Girl celebration on October 11. It was our largest celebration yet! Over 1,400 local girls, teachers, parents, and community members gathered at the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE I) to commemorate the 8th annual International Day of the Girl.

Since 2012, October 11 has been marked by the UN as the International Day of the Girl. Each year, the celebration acts as a call to action to bring awareness to the needs and challenges girls face around the world. It promotes girls’ empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights.

To mark the day, Kakenya's Dream hosted special guests from the Kenyan government and over 1,400 parents, teachers, students, and community members - more than double the attendees we’ve ever had at our annual event! Participants marched together through the streets of Enoosaen in a parade to raise awareness about the challenges girls face right here in our community and to demand better opportunities and conditions for girls everywhere.

The special guests at our annual event included two inspiring keynote speakers, Bernadette Loloju, the CEO of the Anti-FGM Board of the Kenyan Government, and Safina Kwekwe, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Gender. To highlight this year’s celebrations, Ms. Kwekwe powerfully stated, “It benefits us all to support more women in positions of leadership to serve this country at all levels. It behooves all of us to support girls and to nurture and grow their leadership abilities so that they can ultimately claim these positions of leadership.” We couldn’t agree more.

At Kakenya’s Dream, we know well that when girls are given the resources and support they need to avoid FGM and early marriage and stay in school, they thrive. Our girls are raising their voices against gender inequality, injustice, and violence, and demanding that their rights be respected by all.Thank you for supporting our girls and believing in our dream of a Kenya free of FGM and early marriage. You are helping us create the safe space that will allow our students to grow into the leaders and global citizens they will become as adults. 

Have a wonderful start to your new year and we look forward to updating you  throughout 2020!

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Greetings from Kakenya’s Dream!

We are so grateful for your support for our holistic education program that educates and empowers young girls in rural Kenya. I would like to tell you the story of one girl whose life has changed thanks to your support.

In August of last year while running excitedly home from school, Sylvia tripped over a fallen branch and landed on a large rock, breaking her left femur. “The pain I felt was so excruciating I could not move,” Sylvia recalls. She was taken for treatment at the nearest hospital, over 20 miles from her home. Her injury proved more complicated than the doctors at the hospital felt equipped to handle, so she was referred to another hospital for access to better care. Sadly, her family was unable to afford the recommended treatment, so the doctors dressed her wound and sent Sylvia home to recover.

Without proper care to fix her badly broken leg, Sylvia was left with a permanent disability. She was determined to continue her education no matter what, but she knew that the long daily treks to and from her day school would no longer be an option with her injured leg. She realized a boarding school like KCE was now her only hope to continue her education. “If I could get into KCE, I knew I would be in a good school that would support my education and I would not struggle to walk long distances with my disabled leg to access school,” she says. On the morning of Enrollment Day, barely three months since her accident and still on bed rest, undeterred, Sylvia made her way to KCE. She was among the first prospective students to arrive on campus.

In January, she joined 38 other girls as members of KCE’s new 4th grade class. Sylvia says she is happy to be at an inclusive school that provides her with the accommodations she needs to thrive inside the classroom and out. She says she never planned to let her disability keep her from reaching her dreams, and now that she’s at KCE and has all the support she needs, she knows it won’t. Sylvia’s favorite subject in school is English, and she aspires to be a kindergarten teacher when she grows up.

Thank you for helping us ensure girls like Sylvia continue their education! 

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Organization Information

Kakenya's Dream

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @KakenyasDream
Project Leader:
Kakenya Ntaiya
Founder
Arlington, Virginia United States
$23,108 raised of $35,000 goal
 
345 donations
$11,892 to go
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