Difficult Challenges

January 2020

Balancing school-work, distractions caused by technology, especially in this day and age,being influenced by peer pressure, lack of a support system that one would normally get from family or parents because not all students can talk to a teacher about their problems (especially kids who are in boarding school), causes a huge degree of social anxiety among today’s teens.Students are often forced to make quick friends, easy for some but more difficult for others. Some students face challenges when they encounter students from different backgrounds because it can be very difficult to find someone that connects with the student in a friendly, social and academic way.  Stealing has become rampant in schools. Some of the students come from very humble backgrounds. Their families painfully save money to buyschool supplies amidst all the other financial obligations required to enroll a student to school. It is very heart breaking when a student breaks into a fellow student’s locker and steals all the supplies one has managed to acquire. Needless to say, the theft causes anxiety and stress to the affected student. Replacing these items will be an uphill task.

Male teachers too frequently entice the girls to get into romantic relationships with them. When the girl is not agreeable, she will face a hard time. The teacher will pick on her and make her life in school very difficult.  There are enough issues to make a girl very uncomfortable in school without the overwhelming burden of a male authority figure acting with wrong intent. The young girls need all the support they can get from people who will understand them and not judge them. These are just kids who are trying to fit in; they will make mistakes along the way, but they will also adjust and learn to cope. Being in boarding school has a lot of challenges, but some girls would choose a boarding school any day over life in the village as they are, at a minimum, assured of a meal and a decent life. Putting in place mechanisms that can support the girls is very important. They need to know that they have a listening ear, and they can get help at any time when they feel like they are not coping well.

This was the topic for the last week as we engaged with the students in different schools who have just joined Secondary School and those that have been there for a while. It is an interesting time for all of them, and we wish them all the best.

The girls who were in our Scholarship Program are back at their various schools teaching and helping out in their communities. They are doing a tremendous job; we have received a lot of feedback from their parents. They were once outcasts in their communities. They ran away from home because they did not want to undergo the cut, they were shamed and sneered at and bullied. Today, they are the talk of their village. They dress well, they communicate eloquently in English, and they command respect. They have proven that where one comes from does not dictate where one will end up. They are each earning an income from their jobs and are able to support their families. Sandra, one of our girls, came to visit me over the weekend; we spent a good deal of time together. Her mother no longer brews nor drinks the local brew and two of her siblings are now in school. Now Sandra talks, and they all listen; she is the pillar in their home. Educate a woman and you educate a nation. When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous.

Sandra

Choice Club members at AIC NGONG enjoying their snack

Class in session at Njabini Girls school

Form 1 students at Njabini Girls, part of the Choice Club members. Their numbers have now gone up to 66 students in 2020 from the previous 15 last year!

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