Proudly displaying her artwork
We are now in the middle of the second academic term at Kakenya Center for Excellence. This is the time when music and drama competitions take place, and our girls are performing in music festivals with students from other schools. There are several different categories for the competitions, including poetry, folk dance, choral chanting, and singing games. Each school is expected to present at least one category. As with athletics, the initial competitions are at a local level. The schools that perform best move on to district-level festivals, followed by regional and then county. The best two performances from each category qualify to go on to the next level.
The girls from Kakenya Center love to sing, dance, and perform. In their first competition, the KCE girls recited a poem by Maya Angelou entitled “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.” They did very well and qualified for the district-wide competition in Kilgoris. Many parents and people from around the community came to watch the performances, which included traditional Maasai dances and dances from other tribes, including Kalenjin, Kipsigis, and Luo.
Our 6th grade students have also recently been working on a special art project with our Advocacy Project Peace Fellow. The theme is Identity: Documenting Maasai Culture through Art, and the girls have completed a number of small art pieces that together will comprise the final project. So far, they have each written a short autobiography about specific memories, obstacles they have faced in their lives, their dreams, their thoughts on FGM/early-marriage, and when they learned specific Maasai traditions.
Each girl’s story is deeply moving and shows how much their education at KCE has impacted their lives. One girl, Damaris, wrote about how she was being pressured by her parents to undergo FGM, but through health and leadership camps at KCE and the friends she had at school, she had learned how to say “no”. In the end, her parents respected her educated response. She wrote, “I told my mother that F.G.M. is not good. She told me I would be circumcised. I told her that girls “say no to F.G.M.” - they taught us in camp.” The girls are drawing their stories into boxes and shapes and will be painting self-portraits, as well.
These kinds of activities enrich our program and our girls’ academic lives, and we are so grateful for the supporters who partner with us to allow them to continue. Thank you for believing in our mission to empower young Maasai girls to follow their dreams and to see the potential within themselves. Together, we are changing the lives of future leaders in Africa.
Autobiography in pictures
Class 6 hard at work on their projects
Performance of a traditional Maasai dance