Global G.L.O.W. Alumni in Kenya Continue to Impact the Lives of Girls
I have been a Global G.L.O.W. Partnership Coordinator for just 11 months and in that time I have had the honor of hearing touching stories from NEWI alumni about all they learned during their time in Global G.L.O.W. clubs. The stories have made such an impact on me that I decided to create a special Alumni Association for graduates of Global G.L.O.W. programming.
The goal of the Alumni Association at NEWI is to continue the culture of mentorship and volunteerism, where girls are free to teach their peers about understanding themselves, personality development, having a voice, and knowing their rights and roles in society. As a practice, I have been inviting the alumni to be guest speakers during my club visits to give inspirational talks to the girls. This is a reminder to the girls that they can make it in life irrespective of the challenges they face. My ultimate vision is to strengthen the alumni association through networking, pairing alumni in similar career fields, forming alumni teams depending on the areas they come from to work with girls based on their unique challenges. My long-term objective is to establish a financial fund where members can donate to enhance their giving back to society through girl-led initiatives.
I am proud to share Global G.L.O.W. alumni Sylvia, Faith, and Iftar’s heart touching stories:
Sylvia is a 19-year-old girl from Got Rateng Secondary School, Homa Bay County. Growing up as an orphan, Sylvia was supported by a well-wisher in rural Kenya. During her grade 12 national examinations, she received adequate school fees and had a balance in her account. Upon realizing that her friend Jane could not sit for her final exams due to a lack of school fees, Sylvia transferred her extra money to Jane so she could afford to sit for her exams. The two girls both scored well and got admission to further their studies at local universities. A kind gesture that changed another girl’s life!
Faith, is a 17-year-old girl from Moi Nyabohanse Secondary School, Migori County who has been mentoring girls in her neighborhood, Awendo town, during their school recess. Awendo falls within the Sugar Belt Region and many girls here drop out of school due to teenage pregnancy and female genital mutilation (FGM), which is considered a rite of passage to womanhood leading to early marriage in Kenya. Faith is pained by the fact that teenage girls are constantly sexually abused in the sugar cane plantation. This inspired her to take action since most of them have absent parents and often have to work for their own livelihood. Faith is interested in continuing to mentor these girls so they realize their full potential. The only way to make Faith’s dream come true is to form an alumni association that will pay for her visits to support her initiative.
Ifta is 17 years old and from Parklands Arya, Secondary School, Nairobi County. She hails from the Muslim minority community in northern Kenya. Her desire to continue with the mentorship program came when she realized that a number of harmful traditions and beliefs practiced in her community are taking a toll on the future of the young girls there. The traditions encourage supporting and empowering boys while neglecting girls. Her community sees girls simply as a source of financial support. When she witnessed a girl her age being married off to an old man in exchange for camels (bride price), she felt the need to encourage the young girls to take control of their future by resisting such practices and helping them make informed decisions. Ifta is using the slogan GIRLS ARE THE WINNER, despite the challenges they continue to face.
Have you ever thought of what your alma mater can do?
Written by Levina Ondeng’e, Partnership Coordinator from NEWI in Kenya