May 24th, 2017 was the Dedication/Inauguration/celebration, of the opening of the Kitenga School For Girls. May 24th was an epic day.
Why? For so many reasons: Mother Nature rested her harsh rains; the new campus looked beautiful and the ceremonial tents, like a fairytale castle. The program demonstrated the girls’ passion, devotion and pride in their new school. From the science demonstrations to the arts performances that were practiced for weeks late into the night, guests witnessed a group of 59 adolescent girls putting their stakes in the ground- and holding on tightly and proudly to them.
It was also an epic day for another reason. On this day, the remarkable group of women devoted to helping the most marginalized improve their lives by escaping poverty and oppression, got to see their two decade old dream come true. And it became true because of their perseverance, the support of the surrounding community, and the collaboration between partners from across the globe. The Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa have had a number of partners along the way helping to actualize different components of the overall vision. A teacher from the mid-west funded the health clinic. Donors from Germany build the grist mill. A Buffalo Rotary group brought clean water. And so forth. From the beginning, Kitenga was a community development project that began to take shape as communities worked together for the common good.
GEC’s engagement with Kitenga follows in this tradition, and we are so proud and grateful to have played a pivotal role in the development of the secondary school. GEC is committed to being a partner with the IHSA through a collaboration that brings resources, expertise and thought partnership with it. We hope to journey with them until their dream has come to full fruition: a residential school-based experience for up to 1,500 girls, kindergarten through secondary. A school grounded in a robust academic program while surrounded with opportunities for girls to fully equip themselves and prepare for their futures. A school that educates, the Whole Girl.
As GEC grows, we hope to take this model to another community-led initiative, to empower girls through the power of a holistic education, but even when we do, our hearts will never leave Kitenga!
May 24th was an epic day because the world literally came together to support a vision that is changing lives. And those changed lives will change other lives. And over time, the world is truly a better place. What could be more epic than that?