by Tracey Morrell, GoPhil Co-Founder
It is normal December day in rural Kenya and the Child Welfare department is calling on Hellen, director of Enkiteng Lepa School, requesting that she take in more girls rescued from female genital mutilation (FGM). This is the main time of the year for FGM and there are always more girls than available spots for them at the school.
FGM is a life-threatening procedure that was banned in Kenya since 2011. However, public ceremonies celebrating the illegal season of female genital cutting have been allowed to take place unchallenged by the authorities in some areas.
There are many challenges for Hellen and the school… political instability surrounding the October elections meant the Kenyan Primary Certificate Exam date changed at short notice and was brought forward a week even though results of this critical exam directly impact the students acceptance to high school. Results arrived yesterday and Hellen proudly tells us that Enkiteng Lepa ranks as the #1 school in the district again.
Meanwhile, the electricity company came to take away the broken transformer providing electric to Enkiteng Lepa school and two other nearby schools three weeks ago and have not returned. Despite these everyday issues, Hellen is as committed as ever to providing an amazing education for rescued girls and to educate boys alongside, maintaining the positive cultural aspects whilst redefining the harmful ones.
Hellen’s work has not gone unnoticed in Kenya and she was most fortunate to be recognized by Egerton University for a prestigious award for Gender Awareness day, recognizing her amazing perseverance and results.
2016 marked the first official class of Enkiteng Lepa to complete Grade 8 and go on to high school, even though Hellen had already taken in some older girls along the way and has five students currently attending University. All of these students are now completing Form 9 (freshman year in High school) and doing well. Getting that first class to high school was a bumpy road with lots of learning. Imagine filling out all the forms for school, scholarships and then not only finding funds for the school fees but the ‘back to school’ shopping for a whole class of students!
As the second class of 24 students prepares for high school, Hellen proudly shares with us that 8 of these students have sponsors willing to continue to support them and that she has applied for every child to partner organizations to mentor and look after these students through high school. She is crossing her fingers that she will have enough funds.
Hellen has built an incredible school and reputation for education, but with 25 new students per year, getting sponsors is always a challenge. General donations are used to fill the holes and support any unsponsored children attending the school.
There are currently 37 children at Enkiteng Lepa School without sponsors.
To learn how you can assist one of these aspiring young students, please review one of the following giving options from the GoPhil Holiday Giving Guide.
Maji Moto believes that girls should be given an education and not sold as a bride for 10 cows! Students at the Enkiteng Lepa (‘Purple Cow’) School in Kenya are given that very opportunity through the gift of amazing education thanks to Hellen and her team who have worked tirelessly to become one of the most highly ranked schools in the region. You can help a young girl receive excellent education as well as a healthy, more productive start to life.
More than 200 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation in countries where the practice is concentrated – mainly Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Maji Moto’s Enkiteng Lepa School, located in rural Kenya, rescues young girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) and early childhood marriage, where immediate care for rescued girls is always needed in the way of clothing, food, books and school supplies.