By Amy Juelsgaard, Program Associate
On January 14, Team Kenya, one of the five 2016 TechWomen seed grant winners, began work on their action plan, One Desk One Child. Their initiative aims to provide desks to two marginalized schools with an average population between 200 – 400 students, reducing the desk-to-child ratio from 1:10 to 1:3 in Kajiado County. They plan to utilize local resources and artisans to build the desks, which will provide job opportunities in the community. Team Kenya said they expect to increase enrollment in primary schools by 20% and reduce the illiteracy level of primary school students to less than 10%.
As part of their work, 2016 Kenyan fellows Ndisha Mwakala and Lucy Mutinda initiated conversations with several teachers. The head teacher of Moipei Primary School, one of the schools they will work with, told the fellows about a female student who lacked the financial resources to pay for school. Although Caroline Mutheu is the top scorer at her school, she is not eligible to receive a scholarship since she is from a different tribe.
Upon hearing Caroline’s story, Ndisha and Lucy asked both friends and the TechWomen community for financial support to help sponsor Caroline’s education. “The main reason her story resonated with me is because I grew up very poor, and education is what helped me get myself and my family out of the slums – something I really hoped we could help Caroline do for herself and her family. I believe she deserved the assistance after all the hard work she put in,” Ndisha said. Friends of Ndisha and Lucy as well as TechWomen fellows and mentors rallied together to raise funds. Four days later, on January 18, Caroline was able to start school at Nakuru Girls School, one of the best performing schools in Kenya’s 2016 National High School Examinations, because of contributions given.
“Words cannot express our gratitude as we live the TechWomen mantra of uplifting one another,” Lucy said. “Caroline’s life has just been redirected to the right course and toward her dream.”