Shine A Light: Girls in Kenya Lead the Way

Last year, WUSC Local Committees and supporters raised funds for the Shine A Light campaign. In total, they raised $10,000 for solar lamps and $23,000 for an after-school program for girls in Kenya. Over 300 lamps were delivered to girls at primary and secondary schools to help them study at night. Six girls share one lamp. But what difference can a single lamp make? The same difference a ray of light makes in the darkness. It reveals a whole new world of possibilities. From January to December 2010, WUSC partner Windle Trust Kenya (WTK) hired teachers to offer after-school programs and school supplies to nearly 500 girls at the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps. Most of these girls were in grade 8, working hard to pass national exams which would allow them to enter secondary school. With high enough grades, the girls could earn scholarships. The pressure was on for them to improve their marks and to focus on their studies.

Filsan Abdullahi Hassan says the remedial classes helped her. She says, “I was given (various) textbooks and a solar lamp, which are instrumental to my education. The (after school) instructors also teach differently from the teachers in our schools and helped me acquire more knowledge on the subjects in the syllabus. I have come to believe that I have the potential just like the boys.”Another key component of the program is community mobilization. Community workers talk to parents and teachers about the importance of education for girls. This has helped strengthen the support needed to keep girls in school.

Hodan Mohamed Abdi, 17, says she notices a difference in her family after the awareness sessions. “My parents have become very supportive. They encourage me to go for the remedial lessons and they don’t engage me in household chores as much as before, so I have more time for my studies.”From the group of girls who passed the national exams to enter high school, WTK provided three girls with scholarships to study at private secondary schools. These limited opportunities are small rays of hope for girls.

The after-school programs raised the overall average grade score for all the girls who were enrolled. Angelina, who received one of this year’s scholarships, is the third child in a family of four, and the eldest daughter.

She states: “I want to set a pace for my younger sister and other girls in the community. My dream is to become a lawyer in the future and represent the oppressed people in my society.”WUSC is working to raise $100,000 for after-school programs and scholarships for girls. In the meantime, Windle Trust Kenya is working in consultation with CARE, UNHCR, Lutheran World Federation and the World Food Programme, which provides meals for the girls to help them concentrate during the after-school program.

 

Support WUSC's Shine A Light campaign and offer more educational opportunities for girls in Kenya.

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