"Investment in girls education may be the highest return investment in the developing world."
Lawrence Summers - Chief Executive , World Bank
The girls of rural Kenya face a stunning number of challenges as they attend high school, yet they remain determined and hopeful that education will bring a better life for them and their future families. As in much of the developing world, there is conflict going on right now between those that want these girls to remain beasts of burden, and those that promote the enlightenment that education brings. We stand behind these girls and the local leadership that supports the growing number of them that hunger for education. They walk miles and miles to school. They are young and vulnerable and are often preyed on by men and boys. They even face attacks by wild animals. They try their best to study by dim kerosene lights. They deal with the added burden of menstruation where water is scarce and sanitary products are unheard of.
Miriam studying by dim kerosene light Flora - scarred from elephant attack public pit latrine
Many of the girls live in squalid quarters, away from their families, where they can remain close to school.
They have to share a common latrine with other people in the area and they can only get clean in a rough enclosure where they have little privacy. Many of them miss school due to malaria and other serious illnesses that plague them because of their living conditions.
We are currently working to raise the funds to complete a dormitory that will house 165 girls at the Samburu Secondary school. This is a vitally needed project. This dormitory will literally change the lives of hundreds and hundreds of girls, as they live there through the years. It will offer them safety, light, water,food, access to books, and a matron that can oversee their wellbeing. The total cost of this project is just over $100,000 – a small sum to make such a difference for so many girls!
The Lynn Woodbury family of Salt Lake City very generously donated $25,000 in matching funds towards the first half of the Samburu secondary school. The other $25,000 was donated by countless others, including school children. It’s construction is well under way and should be complete, housing 80 girls, by the time the Kenya Keys team arrives in May, 2012.
As with all Kenya Keys projects, the local constituents will be providing 10% of the cost for this project. Remember that because Keys is an all volunteer organization, every dollar you send will go directly to the project.
DORM UPDATE: In October 2011 the first phase (housing 80 girls) of the Samburu Girls Dormitory was officially opened! It was a grand celebration, with the Provincial Director of Education coming to offer his congratulations. Girls began moving in. Excitement ran high. The construction was superb and will serve the girls of Samburu Secondary School for many years to come.