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!
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!
Here at Kakenya's Dream, we are incredibly grateful to have passionate, enthusiastic teachers educating our girls. As one of our valued supporters, we wanted to introduce you to one of them today.
Mr. Nyambok teaches ninth and tenth grade students at our second school, KCE II. In honor of teacher appreciation week this May, we sat down with him to ask him more about his passion for teaching and his experience at our school.
Mr. Nyambok says he is passionate about teaching because he likes to encourage young people to discover and become the best version of themselves. “I get to help them become future leaders and achieve their dreams,” he says. Mr. Nyambok began teaching in 2017 after completing his BA in education. He started out teaching mathematics at a high school in Western Kenya and coaching PE classes, badminton, and tennis. He joined KCE II as a math and business teacher last May when the school opened and welcomed its inaugural class.
“It saddens me how common it is that students drop out of school in Kenya because of severe poverty and thus an inability to pay for their education, and of course the harmful traditional practices like FGM and early marriage that interfere with girls’ education,” he says. He was particularly inspired by Kakenya’s Dream because of our work to support the education of the most vulnerable children in our area. This led him to apply for a teaching position at KCE II. “I knew I would be proud to associate myself with Kakenya’s Dream and the great schools that they operate,” he explains “Education is important because not only does it instill critical knowledge in upcoming citizens, but it promotes self-awareness and a sense of independence in young people. Most of all, education transforms communities when young people use their education to give back to society.”
Outside of school, Mr. Nyambok loves spending time with family, playing keyboard, and listening to music. He also enjoys coaching our volleyball team after school.
Your support allows amazing teachers like Mr. Nyambok to educate and empower our girls to achieve their dreams. Our students are gaining the education they need to become change-makers in their community and in the world. Thank you for joining us to empower girls through knowledge and education!
In communities like Enoosaen, there are no local bookstores or public libraries, and most schools lack the resources to provide students with a variety of reading material. As a result, children do not develop the habit of reading for pleasure. At Kakenya’s Dream, we know that reading not only leads to improved academic performance, but is also key to building children’s vocabulary, sparking curiosity, improving critical thinking, and introducing them to new concepts, places, and ideas. Therefore, we partnered with Storymoja, a creative Kenya-based organization that creates and publishes African storybooks, to nurture a lifelong love for reading in our girls.
Storymoja offers a wide array of African children’s books, academic textbooks, career literature, and more. Storymoja also runs an innovative program called Start a Library, which supplies school libraries with all of these different kinds of books and trains staff on developing reading programs within the school. Through this new partnership, Storymoja will lead capacity-building workshops for students, teachers, and librarians at KCE I and II on library management, student career counseling, strategies for bringing books to life for readers, and more. Storymoja will also support Kakenya’s Dream’s efforts to establish after-school reading clubs for students and assist with expanding and diversifying KCE I and II’s library selection with career guidance literature and storybooks by African authors.
During the last week of March, the Kakenya’s Dream-Storymoja partnership kicked off with a career guidance session for our high school students and a two-day teacher training workshop on library management. During the career guidance session, our students took their first career aptitude test. The test results identified a handful of career opportunities that match each student’s individual skillset and personality. Having grown up in a very remote community, our students were not aware of many of the career paths listed by the test results. Stroymoja gave them literature and resources to learn more about the career fields they matched with. The girls were thrilled to be matched with jobs and career paths they hadn’t heard of before, and were eager to explore them and learn more!
In our second workshop, our teachers and staff worked with the Storymoja team to develop strategies to encourage students' interest in reading. Together, they practiced integrating storybooks into our teachers' lesson plans to teach life skills and important academic concepts. By using more storybooks in the classroom, our teachers will continue to foster our students’ desire to continue reading outside of the classroom.
For students like ours who live in a very remote part of the world, books hold the power to expand their horizons by exposing them to the vast diversity of the human experience outside of their community. At Kakenya’s Dream, we believe in the importance of filling young minds not only with academia, but with fairytales, folklore, mystery, poetry, and more. We hope to help our students find the literature that sparks a lifelong love of reading, and we look forward to growing our partnership with Storymoja to achieve just that.
Your support ensures that we can continue to nurture the love of reading in our students. Thank you for joining us to empower girls through knowledge and education!
In 2018, 33 girls completed 8th grade at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. This is a critical juncture for students in Kenya, who must all sit for the KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education). This exam determines their academic future, including what calibur of high school they will be qualified to attend. Our girls once again made us proud, with 80% of the class scoring well above the government’s pass rate. While only 17% of girls from their community are able to transition from primary to secondary school, all 33 of these girls joined high schools across Kenya in January.
We want to tell you about Mary, who was KCE’s top scoring student in the recent national primary school exam. Mary's family lives nearly 50 miles from KCE’s campus, in one of the most remote villages located in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Often, access to basic necessities in such a remote location is limited. Mary is the second-oldest of 17 siblings. Her father is a herdsman and makes a living selling cattle to support his family. “My wives and I never went to school but we know that education is important for all of our children. We encourage and support their studies because education will enable them to have better lives in the future. That is why we are proud of Mary’s hard work and good performance in school. She is a role model to both her older and younger siblings as well as other children in our village,” says Kaipai, Mary’s father.
Noolmirisho is Mary’s step-mother. She says her step-daughter loves to share what she’s learning with the entire family. “Last year, Mary had the opportunity to travel abroad with 3 other KCE students for an educational conference in America. She shared with us what she learned and about the wonderful experiences she had, including flying in an airplane and seeing snow for the first time. During her school breaks, Mary always informs us of new skills and knowledge gained at school and at Health and Leadership Trainings, and she even tutors her siblings in their weak subject areas,” Noolmirisho says.
Mary’s mother, Noolkisaruni, also shares the same sentiments as her husband and Noolmirisho. “I am proud of my daughter and grateful for her good performance. I wish her the very best as she transitions to high school and I trust that she will continue to work hard in school,” she says.
Mary’s favorite subjects in school are mathematics, English and Swahili. Having been inspired and excited after taking her very first flight last year, Mary aspires to be a pilot when she finishes school. She says that it was the support she received from Kakenya’s Dream and all of her teachers at KCE that contributed to her excellent performance in the national primary school exam. “I expected to perform well in my exams because I had been taught by well trained teachers who were committed to seeing their students thrive. I am also grateful to my parents for taking me to school and supporting my studies,” she says.
Your support ensures that we can provide these holistic services to students like Mary and her fellow KCE alumnae. Thank you for joining with us to make girls' dreams come true!
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