HELP ME CELEBRATE ONE VITAL VOICE
"It is my dream to bring the girls in my small Maasai village of Enoosaen, Kenya a future of hope. Since 2006, I have been working to build a girls' school in Enoosaen so that other young African girls might travel the same path I did- to education, self-realization and leadership".
These are very powerful words of Dr. Kakenya, a kenyan of Masai origin , from a humble background. she has a dream, and she has touched, changed and given hope to many young and promising masai girls in her home area who would not have had the opportunity to grow and develop and attain their full potential. she has a saf environment for the girls who run away from FGM and those vulnerable to early marriage according to the traditional practices in masai land. Dr. Kakenya has started a center for education of the girls and has/is sourcing education scholarships for them.she has made sure that the girls have basic needs met, and are counseled, supported and access normal learning, but in a very conducive environment. This is her way of giving back to the Enoosaen community in Kenya.
Dr. Kakenya from time to time educates her community on the importance of giving chance to girls to go to school and she has created awareness on the negative impact of the traditional bad practices and the issue of HIV AIDS.
this means a lot to the young and vulnerable girls and women of her community! I celebrate you sister Dr. Kakenya.
below fine the story of her background and her dream: Assist me to celebtrate this girl who has transformed the thinking, and changed culture from inside out.
The Academy for Girls: An Agent of Change
The Kakenya Center for Excellence is a primary boarding school focused on serving the most vulnerable underprivileged Maasai girls. The first primary girls’ school in the region, the academy focuses on academic excellence, female empowerment, leadership, and community development. Located in Keyian division of the Trans Mara district of Kenya, the Center opened in May 2009 with 32 students. The Center enrolled an additional 31 students in January 2010 in fourth grade. Our goal is eventually to enroll 150 students in grades four to eight.
Each grade in the school has its own classroom. The students are instructed in eight standard subjects – English, Swahili, math, science, geography/history, religion, the arts, and physical education. A health course will soon focus on educating the girls on female genital cutting, menstrual cycles, and sexual and reproductive health. The aim of this portion of the curriculum is to improve the girls’ awareness of HIV/AIDS and their roles and negotiating power in future sexual relationships.
Currently in the development stage is a unique feature of the academy - a leadership training program. Besides instruction in effective strategies for leadership, girls will get firsthand experience through student councils, student-run extracurricular activities, and community outreach. Living in this environment of personal involvement promotes self-confidence, something many girls may experience for the first time. The resulting empowerment will encourage the girls to speak up for their convictions and to assist in development of programs in their school and their communities.
Preservation of Culture
In addition to academic and leadership instruction, the school also promotes the preservation of non-destructive cultural and domestic values. Girls are taught the life skills of their villages so that their connection to their homes is maintained and strengthened, contributing to family traditions and productivity. Through education, they learn about the latest ways to improve their farms, the health of their cows, and their homes. Benefits to their families will be immediate.
Summer Leadership Workshops
The Kakenya Center for Excellence is committed to providing resources to every girl in the surrounding community. To that end, all girls will have the opportunity to attend summer leadership workshops starting in 2011. These programs will foster an inclusive relationship between regular students and local girls in the region.
My life was set to follow the traditional path of all girls born in the small Maasai village of Enoosaen, Kenya where I grew up. Engaged at the age of 5, I was to be circumcised by the time I became a teenager—an event that would mark the end of my education and the beginning of my preparations for marriage.
But I had a different plan. First, I negotiated with my father: I would willingly agree to be circumcised only if he would allow me to finish high school. He agreed. Then I negotiated with the village elders to do what no girl had ever done before: leave my village in south Kenya to go to college in the United States. I promised that I would use my education to benefit Enoosaen and the entire village collected money to pay for my journey.
I received a scholarship to Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Virginia. Once the girl who grew up without electricity, I became the student who wrote papers on international relations and political science on the computers at the university library. Currently attending the University of Pittsburgh, I expect to receive a doctorate in education in 2010.
Throughout my time in the United States, I have engaged in efforts to promote awareness of the issues affecting girls in my community. As the first youth advisor to the United Nations Population Fund, I have traveled around the world to speak on the importance of educating girls, particularly as a means to fight the practices of female genital mutilation and child marriage.
Today, I am working to fulfill the promise I made years ago: to return to my village and give back. Since 2006, I have been working to build a girls' school in Enoosaen so that other young African girls might travel the same path I did- to education, self-realization and leadership. This is my dream.