St. Mary’s Primary School, Kenya
When we first encountered St. Mary’s Primary Boarding School for girls in 2006, the school exuded all the characteristics of what would be a fruitful partnership: visionary school leadership, committed teachers and a supportive community that sought to elevate opportunity for their youth. St. Mary’s became one of the first schools to partner with us, and over the course of time, our partnership has witnessed incredible milestones.
Create Safe and Healthy Learning Environments
Our first joint project with St. Mary’s addressed the desperate need for a dormitory that would provide 38 girls with room and board. At the time, the school’s rural location was serving more students than they could accommodate. Since that initial project, toilet facilities have been installed to address adequate sanitation for the unique needs of the girls. As the school and its student body continued to grow in 2011, we also funded a 100-bed dormitory project.
Strengthen Teaching Quality and Enhance Learning in Schools
2012-st-marys-primary As our partnership with St. Mary’s developed, it was apparent that the school’s unmatched leadership under Sister Celestine was a magnet for passionate and innovative teachers. Joel Korir, a math, science and geography teacher, became one of only two teachers to be awarded an Asante Africa Foundation scholarship, in a 2008 pilot program. When Joel received his Bachelor’s degree in Education in 2010, he returned to St. Mary’s to continue his teaching career. Since then, he has “paid it forward” by sharing knowledge with his colleagues and motivating both them and his students through new teaching techniques and knowledge.
Provide Education Through Merit-Based Scholarships
Awarding merit-based student scholarships is a critical element of improving access. A scholarship helps alleviate the burden of school fees, boarding, meals, uniform and personal effects; these costs are among the greatest barriers of keeping children in school. Four young ladies at St. Mary’s Primary were among our first scholarship recipients in 2007. All have now transitioned into top-performing, competitive secondary schools and are changing the perception of what girls are capable of in their communities. Naishuro was admitted to Starehe Girls Secondary School. Mumbres and Naisiae were admitted to Ole Tipis Secondary School. Yiamat was admitted to Sister Mary Stephen Nkoitoi Secondary School.