Posts Tagged ‘friendsofkenyanorphans.org’
The Form II girls are the pioneers of St. Clare Girls’ Center. They have encountered many tribulations in their lives. I will try to give you a better understanding of their story and mine, for I am one of them.
Father Riwa, a missionary from Tanzania, built St. Francis Children’s Village to help street boys in Kenya. The news of this school spread like wildfire. Many orphaned girls used to go to St. Francis to ask Father if he would sponsor them. St. Francis was only meant for boys and Father would not mix girls with boys, although he had mercy on us girls. Whenever he saw us, he only thought of how girls who have no parents were being mistreated. This encouraged him to build a girls’ school.
In 2006, Father Riwa built St. Clare Girls’ Center to help orphan girls from different tribes. We were very lucky to be sponsored since many of us lived miserable lives. We came from different backgrounds. Some had gone to school but others had not. When we met here in 2006, we all started with class one work because our Father Riwa believed that “Repetition is the mother of learning.”
The school was not yet well developed in 2006. There were no dormitories, and only a few classrooms. We came to school every morning and returned home in the evening. Our relatives who didn’t like us to study would refuse to take us to school so had to start our journey at 5:00 in the morning to reach school on time. Dangerous wild animals could attack us on our way to school in the morning, but since we were devoted to education we had to persevere. We also had no dinning hall so we used to eat our breakfast and lunch under the trees.
Some girls ran away because of these difficult struggles. They said that they were too big to start in class one. They had no faith that one day everything would fine. After running away from school, some got married had children. They wished to come back to St. Clare, but it was too late. Those of us who remained decided to cope with the situation as we believed what is says in Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread till you return to the ground. For out of it you were taken, you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We did not lose hope as we were determined to put more effort into our studies. In that one year we covered the work from class one to class four. As the days went by, we became used to the school. We were provided with everything and we even began to forget the past lives that we lived.
The second year, 2007, the dormitories were built and we started sleeping at school. The dining hall also was built and we stopped eating outside under the trees. We were very happy to be in a comfortable environment. From there we started learning two classes per year. Everyday began with Mass at five o’clock offered by Father Riwa. What a wonderful school where pupils learn, freely guided by the Word of God from the Holy Bible. The school also developed a lot because of the many friends who provided enough money.
In 2009, we sat for our final exams in primary level. Everyone was surprised when the results came out, as we all had passed with flying colors. Nobody had below three hundred marks out of five hundred. We all made it to secondary level so Father added secondary level at St Clare. As a result, we did not struggle looking for schools. We worked hard knowing that education favors only the prepared mind. We all said, “YES WE CAN. NO IS NOT AN OPTION”.
Fourteen of us passed the Form One exam and were promoted to Form Two. We refused to look backward but only forward to a bright future where we could become the future leaders of Kenya. We have different ambitions, which I hope we will attain. We are role models in our school and so we have a big responsibility, which our teachers are helping us achieve!
Purity (bottom row, fourth from the right) is a Form II (sophomore) student at St. Clare Girls’ Center in Nchiru, Kenya.
When Sister Christa Marsik, one of the Adrian Dominican Sisters working at St. Clare, arrived, she brought with her professional counseling skills and set up a counseling program at St. Clare. The children at St. Clare have heroic stories that recount how they survived on the streets, how they managed to escape from early marriages and female genital mutilation, how they endured years of mistreatment, along with questions about their future, etc. Sister Christa is there to listen and help the children sort out these experiences so these events do not become obstacles to their growth and development. Here Sister Christa is talking with a Form II girl in make-shift office at St. Clare.
Last week Walsh University in Canton Ohio held a week of activities aimed at heightening global awareness and solidarity with the poor. A highlight of the week was the students took An Uncommon Walk for the Common Good where they wore flip flops or no shoes at all to simulate a connection with people in the developing world. Funds raised during this week were given to Friends of Kenyan Orphans with the specific purpose of purchasing flip-flops for the St Clare girls in Nchiru Kenya.
Without education in this developing world, you are limiting yourself. Education at St. Clare is unequalled.
Things at St. Clare are totally different from other schools from our uniform as we put on jeans, white blouses and navy blue pullovers to our beginning as a school.
When St. Clare started many people looked down on it thinking that the organization could not succeed. The school started with students learning under the trees since the building was not completed. This was not conducive to study because it was busy everywhere with construction. The teachers would dictate the notes for us since there were no appropriate places to place a blackboard. We found it difficult but since we had determination and the belief that education is the key of success, we had to persevere.
As the days went by and the school developed, more pupils who were really in need of education and could not find it elsewhere, joined us. We were now many pupils living in an environment conducive to study. Our director brought different teachers from different backgrounds to teach us. We really enjoyed the education since many of us could now read as well as write. Despite the right to education provided by law, many girls like us were denied the opportunity.
With time, the school curriculum was enhanced. The teachers started coming in the classroom at six o’clock in the morning and ending lessons at four in the evening. This is the type of learning that we now follow.
Right now, the teachers are devoted and working very hard together with the sisters to educate us spiritually, morally, emotionally, physically and psychologically. In addition to learning in the classroom, extra activities have been added. The staff members have come up with different clubs where students participate. The clubs include movement, drama, music, scouting, environmental and dancing clubs. Different teachers conduct these clubs and they nurture girls’ abilities and talents and help girls develop respect for each other.
Our teachers always tell us that successful people are not super human or endowed with certain abilities lacking in others. They are ordinary people with extra ordinary persistence and determination. The girls of St. Clare are very determined to achieve their goals by getting an education. We at St. Clare Girls’ Center have dreams that we want to make realities. There is no way we will become nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, neurosurgeons, teachers without this nine letter word “EDUCATION.”
Purity is a Form II student (sophomore) at St. Clare Girls’ Center in Nchiru, Kenya.
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