EXAM RESULTS

Today we received the exam results for two of our Valvisions Scholars. They have done very well. We’re so very proud of them!   Enjoy Africa Random pictures that we take or find that we would like to share with you....

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GRADUATION CEREMONY!

We held our first graduation ceremony for the Choice Club 2019 at A.I.C Ngong School. The club members were so happy to have graduated from the club. It is the first time the school experienced such an activity; the school administration was very grateful to Valvisions Foundation for offering the mentorship program. When we first began the program, many girls were curious to know what it was all about. We selected about 40 girls but by the time we graduated we had almost 50 girls. They kept coming and joining the club after they heard from their colleagues about the topics being taught. We had to make up classes for those who had missed the initial topics, but by the time we reached graduation, everyone had caught up. The school has a large group of the Masai community who would, otherwise, not be at school due to FGM and early marriages. It is encouraging to see that the Masai girls are now joining schools because their parents are starting to see the benefits in their acquiring an education. The Masai girls used to be very quiet in the initial stages of the program, but with time they have opened up and became very interactive in the club. Our guest, Miss Violet, gave the girls words of encouragement. The Form 4’s sit their exams in a month’s time. The school administration said they have seen a lot of improvement with the girls in the club. We had all the girls in Form 1 who had just joined the school as club members; they were very timid and most had low self-esteem. The 9 months we have been with them, they have become much more empowered. Those that were shy initially have really opened up. Most of the topics we cover focus on the issues that one needs to address as a student and helps them know what to do, who to go to for information. Other topics gives offer the girls skills on how to carry on with life to avoid getting entangled in detrimental situations that will ultimately cause the girls harm. Peer pressure was a good subject to discuss with them; if the girls can manage peer pressure now, they will have an easier time at school without getting into trouble due to bad behavior and attitude. We had a good day recapping all the topics we’ve covered....

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FGM EXPERIENCE

We continue with teachings on the dangers of FGM at the Choice Club in the various schools. We had a debate at Shiners School where we were happy to learn that most of the girls at the school do not believe in the practice. Our Scholarship girls attended the Choice Club meeting. Being former students of the school, everyone was happy and very eager to hear their story of escape from the ‘cut’ and how they excelled in school. One of the Scholarship girls narrated a sad story of how she was forced to run away to a Rescue Center when she learned there was a plan in action to have her ‘cut’ and married off to an older man. She bravely told a story of running away in the night, afraid she would meet bandits on the way who would harm her. She was tremendously afraid of venomous snakes that freely roam in the night. She hid in a bush, and at the crack of dawn, started her journey again, finally reaching the Rescue Center. It was very difficult for her to be away from her siblings and mother, but that was the only option she felt was left to her. She had watched her elder sister married off at a tender age, and she was determined to escape when her time came. The girls listened in horror when she told them how girls as young as 9 years of age would be hauled to the river very early in the morning. They would be escorted by an elderly woman; they were stark naked.  The circumciser would find a rock by the riverbed where the girls were told to sit after bathing in the cold water. The circumciser would ‘cut’ the girls, then tie their legs together at the thighs. Afterwards, she would walk the girls slowly away covered by a shawl, then find a bush where they would stay until nightfall. The circumciser would then walk the girls home in the dark because they could not be seen by men. At home they would find a room that had been spread with leaves. They would sit on the leaves and stay there till they healed. They would be escorted to the toilet at night by a female relative. Our Scholarship girl is very conversant with the Pokot culture, and her story was very captivating. This prompted one...

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STOP FGM

Female Genital Mutilation, otherwise, known as FGM is a topic that elicits mixed emotions every time it is brought up. Two of the schools where we offer the Choice Club mentoring program has a huge number of students from the Masai community. This community practices FGM on girls as young as 9 years old. The fight to eradicate FGM has been very strong from the government of Kenya. Many innocent lives have been lost due to this atrocious practice. The cut is done in secret, and when severe bleeding occurs, the perpetrators quickly abandon the girls and ran away fearing arrest; they dare not take the girls to the hospital. One of the girls at the Choice Club program confided in us how she was convinced by her mother to undergo the cut. The mother told her that it was their way of life and no man would marry her unless she was cut. Afraid, naïve, and with no one to help her, she underwent the cut. She says the pain thereafter was unimaginable. She went through moments when she could barely leave her bed, but her parents would not take her to the hospital because they feared being arrested. After many agonizing weeks of pain and discomfort, she was finally able to go back to school. She says the image of the old lady who cut her never leaves her memory. She breaks down many times and wishes she had run away from home before she was circumcised. Messages of hope for such girls keep them going. They feel violated and don’t like remembering what happened to them. Many of the girls who were cut have fallen pregnant along the way. They feel so hopeless. They get carried away when men show them attention. They are bitter with life and don’t talk much; they only feel comfortable amongst other girls who have also been cut. The teachers will tell you that the ‘cut’ girls are very hostile towards their fellow students and even teachers. They are quick to pick quarrels and even get into fights at the slightest provocation. Some consider the girls that have ‘not been cut’ as inferior, and they won’t sit near them. They will not share a shower cubicle with the uncut girls, they stay in groups and are hard to manage. A lot of counseling is needed for these girls to understand that...

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BACK TO SCHOOL

There was a beehive of activity in most of the supermarkets and uniform shops this weekend. Schools officially opened today for the third term. This term is very crucial; Standard 8 students sit their final exams, and in January, they join Secondary School. Those that have performed well will gain admission into top government schools; this is every students’ dream. The Form 4 students will also start their final examinations in November. They will get their results in January, and by February will be admitted into universities and colleges depending on their performances. This is a very stressful time for parents as they have to spend a lot of money sending the children back to school. Those that have been paying school fees in installments have to make sure they clear the tuition arrears, otherwise, the children will be sent away from school. Some parents in the village will be forced to sell their cows, sheep and other domestic animals, so they can pay the tuition fees for their children. Those in the city will be applying for loans for tuition fees. Poverty causes many students to miss the opportunity to go to school. When a little money is available in the families, there are so many needs to be met like food, health, payment of rent, amongst others. Buying school uniforms is very expensive, transport to and from school is also very costly. Public means of transport are very unreliable which forces parents to put the children on private means of transport, this hikes the cost. It is, therefore, very sad when a parent sacrifices all they have to send a child to school and in return, they fail. Some of the students don’t take the parents efforts seriously; some are involved in the abuse of drugs, some skip classes and hang out in the shopping malls during school hours. Boarding schools are embraced by most parents because they keep the children away from a lot of distractions like TV, social media, drugs, early pregnancies and marriages, as well as negative peer pressure. It is sad to know that despite all the efforts made to keep the children safe, drugs are still finding their way into the schools. The school administration has a hard time keeping the drugs out of school. When the students report back to school, they are thoroughly screened, but somehow the drugs still find...

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