Happy New Year!
Last week our campus was abuzz with excitement as our school and our students welcomed 40 “little sisters” to the fourth grade class at the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) in Enoosaen, Kenya. Amongst the new students was a 10 year-old girl named Faith whose story remains in my heart.
I met Faith during our enrollment day in December. Our campus was filled with scores of fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles and grandmothers hoping to enroll their children at KCE for the 2016 school year. Girls and their families - more than 230 girls came to apply that day - were busy with the exams, paperwork and interviews necessary for acceptance to our program.
Faith, however, was all alone. No mother, father, aunt, uncle or grandmother had accompanied her that day.
Although Faith had successfully navigated much of the day, she began to cry as her interview approached when each girl and her family would talk about why she should enroll as an incoming 4th grader. As I listened to Faith, I was inspired by her grit and determination to seek an education for herself.
Faith’s parents had denied her permission to interview at KCE. Her father was very sick in the hospital, and her mother was working at a neighboring farm to provide food for the family. Determined to interview at KCE and get into school, Faith took an egg from her mother and sold it to purchase the pencil needed to take the KCE entrance exam.
Faith said: “I want to join this school, Kakenya. Please.” I comforted Faith, and assured her that she would attend KCE in January. Faith is exactly the reason I started this school – to help the girls in the most desperate situations go to school and dream bigger.
The next day, as I was walking to school, Faith came running towards me with a big smile on her face. She hugged me and stayed there a while – she did not want to let go! Faith had brought her mother to meet me. As we walked, her mother spoke. “Kakenya”, she said, “I do not have anything to send this girl to your school. I know Faith will need a mattress, a blanket, a uniform, food, books and much more. I cannot provide that.” I assured her that KCE would provide everything Faith needs to be successful. “All I need is for you to bring Faith to school on opening day,” I replied.
Last week, Faith and her mother arrived at school empty handed, but with hearts filled with promise and hope. Everything Faith needed was waiting here for her.
While Faith’s personal journey to join KCE is unique, her dream for an education is not. I continue to meet girls who are determined to seek an education at all costs. I am grateful that we are here to support, challenge and provide for these girls as they dream big!
Your financial support makes our school and our comprehensive approach possible. Thank you to all of you who have invested in Faith’s dream and the hopes of all our girls.