Education Should Be A Right… Not A Luxury
In the developing world, we take education for granted. It’s a given here in the US that everyone will go to school from Kindergarten to High School.That’s not the case in third world countries. For example, High School isn’t free in Kenya, and the cost to go is a struggle for most families and orphanage directors. And if you are a girl, the odds of you going to school, let alone finishing, are very small. Take a moment and watch To Educate a Girl from Talking Drum Pictures to get a better idea.
This became real for us in 2007 after meeting the girls of Saint Monica Children’s Home for the first time in Kenya. We wanted to change that and the Gift of Education Program was soon born in December of the same year. This program was designed to help the girls not just achieve their goals, but to dream bigger ones. And we believe education is the key to that.
We started out in 2007 with sponsoring a small handful of the High School girls for the 2008 school year. As the girls grew older, more and more entered High School. For the 2009 school year, we sponsored ten High School girls. For the 2010 school year, we raised almost $15,000 for the nine girls who were currently enrolled and for those starting High School.
Things changed drastically for MFFO in April of 2010. The girls were moved into a new location, under a new director, and MFFO took on the financial responsibility for all the girls educational needs. We had to make quick changes and loftier goals. We knew the fundraiser for the 2011 school year was extremely important. We raised over $32,000 in one night for all the girls at Saint Monica’s and we were able to send each and everyone of them to school that year. For the 2012 school year, with the help of sponsors and the Gift of Education Fundraiser, we raised enough money to put all 35 of Saint Monica’s girls into private schools. In 2013, we continues supporting all of Saint Monicas children, and are happy to say that six more girls graduated high school. In 2014, we had 51 children in total. Our youngest is in preschool and our eldest, Mary, graduated form the University of Nairobi in December of 2014. We are awaiting final results for our High School graduates and we will see what their future holds.
Here is our timeline:
2008 Started the Gift of Education with the Sponsorship of Four High School Girls
Underwear for Africa – Program of giving out over 5,000 pairs of underwear to orphanages and refugee camps throughout Kenya.
2009 Inspire the Child was created with the hopes of better living environment for SMCH
2010 Moved the girls and home to a safer environment. Partnered with Kenyan
NGO, Sister’s Arise and Perpetua Gatome.
Renovated new home
2011 We had our first girl graduate from high school, Mary Mararo
2012 Provided Education costs for 35 girls and provided help with operating costs of the home.
Irene Mwihaki, Anne Wanjiru, and Margaret Njoki complete High School and await final results for college entrance in 2013.
2013 Provided Education costs for 43 children and provided help with operating costs of the home.
Irene Mwihaki and Anne Wanjiru start college
Damaris Wangechi, Mary Wanjiru, Racheal Wanjiru, Elizabeth Wanjiku, and Maureen Wanja complete High School and await final results for college entrance in 2014.
2014 Providing Education costs for 45 of the 51 children and providing operating costs of the home.
Jessicah Wanjiu, Margaret Atieno, and Catherine Kiai started High School
Damaris Wangechi, Mary Wanjiru, Racheal Wanjiru, Elizabeth Wanjiku started college.
Our first college graduate, Mary Mararo, graduated in December 2014 with a degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.
Anne Wanjiru received a Certificate in Early Childhood Development in December 2014
Ann Magiri, Jane Wacu, Margaret Gathoni, and Jackie Wambui completed High School and await final results for college entrance in 2015.
Ruth Wangu and Lilian Ndanu to start High School in 2015.