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
Student & teacher in library
Student & teacher in library

Thank you so much for your support of our work in rural Kenya. This summer, we have been reflecting on the reasons we believe our holistic education is so crucial. Children are directly and indirectly affected by the decisions made on local, national, and global scales. Too often, they are left out of the conversations about their lives and wellbeing, even though they have a right to participate.

In 1989, the UN General Assembly passed the resolution for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This Convention, as well as the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, protect a child’s right to grow up in a healthy, safe, and nurturing environment. The Convention also describes children’s right to their own opinions, to be listened to and respected by adults, and to be involved in matters affecting them.

At Kakenya’s Dream, we have seen that educating youth on their rights has empowered them to join the conversation in our community and to become their own advocates.

We center our curriculum around the needs of youth, specifically girls who are most marginalized. Oftentimes, before girls enroll at Kakenya's Center for Excellence (KCE), they are unaware of the issues that violate their rights. Typically they do not have a full understanding on their rights as a whole. So we start from the beginning with our girls. 

At KCE, we reflect on the individual needs of each girl. Through a holistic and girl-centered approach, we meet those needs. Both inside and outside of the classroom, we teach our girls about their rights, health, safety, and culture. As they develop greater awareness in these areas, we empower them to be advocates for their rights and the rights of others. We also recognize that community and family is essential for the growth and development of a child, so we invite parents and community leaders to join their daughters in this journey. Their involvement and support is essential for lasting change.

At Kakenya’s Dream, children are at the center of everything. We listen to them, believe in their potential, and we empower them to achieve their dreams. To learn more about Kakenya's Center for Excellence, visit our website.

Again, thank you for supporting our girls' rights to education and engagement. We couldn't do it without you!

Girls raising awareness about their rights
Girls raising awareness about their rights
Girls learn FGM and other abuses are illegal
Girls learn FGM and other abuses are illegal
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Sharon's family brings her to the Nairobi airport
Sharon's family brings her to the Nairobi airport

Sharon, age 18, is one of the 24 pioneering Kakenya’s Dream students who graduated from high school in December 2017. As part of the first class to enroll at the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE), Sharon represents the power of education, holistic support, and passion to transform lives.

Sharon grew up in a polygamous family with 25 siblings and three step-mothers. Sharon is the second-youngest of her mother’s nine daughters. With her very traditional family, especially as one of many daughters, it was very unlikely that Sharon would be able to continue her education beyond primary school.

That all changed in 2009 when Sharon joined the KCE’s first class. She finished grades four through eight at KCE and was then accepted to a prestigious national high school. In November 2017, she took the national high school exam and did extremely well. Her performance earned her a scholarship to study at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Starting in July of this year, Sharon will pursue a degree in Health Science.

After completely her studies in Australia, Sharon plans to become a pharmacist and return to her community, where she would like to help increase access to medicine and quality healthcare.

In March, Sharon visited UTS for the first time. She met faculty, visited classrooms, and even spoke at a presentation with campus stakeholders. We are so proud of her accomplishments and know she has a bright future ahead!

Sharon and Dr. Ntaiya visit UTS
Sharon and Dr. Ntaiya visit UTS

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In November, all 8th graders in Kenya sat for their KCPEs, the national primary school exam. The KCPE tests students on material from the past five years of primary school and the exam results determine the students' high school placement. Getting a high score on the KCPE is vital if a student is looking to attend a nationally ranked high school, which all our students aspire to. This year, we had 32 8th grade girls who all took the KCPE. They spent the months before the exam diligently reviewing the material and getting extra tutoring in subjects they struggled with. Our teachers, program staff, and parents all rallied together to support the students as best they could, encouraging them and printing practice test after practice test to help the girls familiarize themselves with the test's format and question style.

After three long days of exams, the girls waited anxiously to get their scores back. They, their parents, and the entire community was delighted when we finally received the students' reports, which showed that the Kakenya Center for Excellence once again achieved scores much higher than the national average. Only 25% of students nationally scored above 300 points on the exam, while all but 4 of our students scored above that mark (with the other four only missing the 300 point cut off by a few points.) In addition, 5 of our students scored above 350 points, which placed them in the top 7% of students nationally. With these scores our students have qualified for nationally ranked high schools and the community is celebrating their successes. I'm excited to see what these young women accomplish in high school and beyond, and can't wait to tell you about their future achievements.

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Last Wednesday, October 11th, marked the 6th annual International Day of the Girl. The United Nations has recognized this day since 2012 as a way to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. This is a special day for Kakenya’s Dream, as it gives our students a chance to connect with other girls in the community, to learn about the importance of advocacy, and to lift their voices together in support of girls' rights.

This year, we celebrated by hosting over 500 local girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. The girls lauched the celebration with an art contest. which allowed them to conceptualize and creatively represent their vision for a bright future. The girls dream of becoming doctors, nurses, pilots, judges, engineers, journalists, and teachers and more, and they painted beautiful pictures of these dreams.

Later, the girls and teachers were joined by parents and members of the community. Together, they marched through the streets and market in the local village to raise awareness and to demand better opportunities and conditions for girls in Kenya and around the world.

Following the march, the participants shared a meal together on our campus. Cicilia Maito, a member of the county executive committee of Narok County and the first woman to lead the Trade, Industrialization and Cooperative Development committee, challenged the girls to be financially independent and to live up to their potential through hard work. County assembly member Mark Mukut addressed the group, as well, and pledged to invest in more opportunities for local girls.

By the end of the day, there were many of pledges and commitments by the girls and community attendees. Our collective challenge now is to hold ourselves and others accountable to these promises, to invest in girls and bring about systematic change for girls in Kenya and everywhere.

Thank you, as always, for being a fellow supporter of girls' education and empowerment. We could not do this life-changing work without you!

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I hope you have had a wonderful summer! Our girls in Enoosaen continued with their academic schedule through the summer months, with a three-week holiday period in August. As they return for their final term of the year, I am thrilled to share some exciting news with you.

Last November, I spoke with more than 250 girls hoping for one of the 40 spots in 2017’s fourth grade class. Most of these girls would be the first in their families to finish primary school. My heart breaks turning any girl away, knowing that without our support, they will undergo female genital mutilation and early child marriage. This reality motivates me to dream bigger. As we look toward the rest of this year and into 2018, I am thrilled to announce that Kakenya’s Dream is launching an expansion campaign to reach even more youth with life-changing education and training through our three programs.

We are building a new K-12 school campus, tripling the number of girls we are able to enroll each year. Construction will begin soon, and our first class of 9th graders will enter our new high school program in early 2018. These girls will have access to high-quality secondary education, with state-of-the art science laboratories, a computer lab, and a large library. The campus will also include a youth-friendly health clinic, ensuring adolescents across the community can access vital services and resources. We will create three early childhood learning centers, one on the new campus and two in neighboring villages, giving hundreds of young children from kindergarten through third grade a solid academic foundation. This will be a locally-sourced, eco-friendly campus incorporating community members and local businesses in its construction.

As always, thank you so much for your support. Your gifts are truly changing the lives of young girls in Kenya and providing them access to quality education and a bright future.

With Gratitude,

Kakenya

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Organization Information

Kakenya's Dream

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
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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