Primary and secondary education in Kenya is progressing, but it continues to leave inequalities unaddressed between boys’ and girls’ in regards to schooling. Because of social and domestic norms, girls are expected to stay home more often than boys. Additionally, in impoverished countries like Kenya, any money that may pay for schooling is typically allocated primarily for the boys in the family — a reality that too often results in a lack of education for girls in Kenya.
The Importance of Girls’ Education
In Kenya, girls account for 44 percent of children not enrolled in school and 51 percent of the illiterate population aged 15-24. This lack of education for girls harms the country’s progress towards a better educated and economically stable populous.
Educating women is the key to decreasing poverty. As girls’ education increases, population growth, fertility and infant/child mortality rates fall and overall family health improves. When girls are more educated, they are more ready and able to enter the labor force, which brings money back to the family and betters the economy in which educated women live.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), women on average reinvest up to 90 percent of their earnings back into their households. When women have better education, and therefore higher earning power, they are able to spend more money on their households. That money is typically spent on nutrition, food, healthcare and education. All of the aforementioned categories in which women typically reinvest their money are keys to raising families and communities out of abject poverty.
The Light of Hope Girls’ School
In an effort to continue to make progress educating girls in Kenya and to ensure that the school teachers are equipped with the knowledge and confidence they need to bring an end to poverty, Boni and Sandy Karanja established The Light of Hope Girls’ School in Naivasha, Kenya in 2005 with only six students. In 2013, its first class of girls graduated from the school, and in 2015, the school had grown large enough to accept 160 students.
The Light of Hope Girls’ School in Kenya seeks to bridge the inequality between boys and girls education by educating girls in Kenya. Not only does the school offer a proper education for girls with otherwise no access to it, it also provides housing, healthcare and emotional support to their students. Many of the girls live at The Light of Hope Girls’ School due to poor or dangerous home lives. Leaving situations such as abandonment, abuse or abject poverty, the girls are able to find a home and get a proper education at the school.
Beyond the standard schooling, The Light of Hope Girls’ School seeks to empower girls to become future leaders for change in their communities. The staff at the school work to ensure that the environment at Light of Hope is one of peace and love, a place where the girls can find “refuge, restoration and redirection.” By instilling confidence, leadership skills and compassion into each of the students, the school teaches those girls how to take what they have learned and pass it on to someone else.
– Savannah Hawley