Helping Women Live, Learn and Be WISER
- On a day of bright sunshine and high hopes before thousands of supporters earlier this month, the Women's Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER) celebrated the opening of its Muhuru Bay, Kenya boarding school for girls. The LAFC Foundation partner, the creation of educators in Kenya and at Duke University, welcomed a headmaster, five teachers and 36 students selected from regional schools. Muhuru Bay sits on the banks of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake. The area has one of the area's highest rates of HIV and malaria and suffers from other problems common to impoverished rural communities.
- WISER co-founders Sherryl Broverman and Andy Cunningham from Duke, Kenya's immigration minister and representatives from Unicef and Kenyan educational organizations attended the opening ceremony, which included music, song and speeches. Many have followed the steady progress of the school, which is supposed to spearhead new educational and professional opportunities for girls in an area where they have been treated as second-class citizens – or worse. Classes begin February 1. The school hopes to increase enrollment to 120 students by 2013. "As a girl child, we are very proud of what WISER has done to build a school to enlighten girls who have always been behind," said Pendo Simon Warioba, a student from Muhuru Bay finishing secondary school in another part of the province. "In most communities, girls have been denied the right to education and exposed to early marriages. We are grateful for WISER. Let's join hands together and support WISER."
- The LAFC Foundation provided funding for the school. In subsequent months, the Pasadena-based organization will build a soccer field, donate uniforms and equipment and create Muhuru Bay area’s first girls soccer league. "We are thrilled to see this remarkable enterprise come to life," said LAFC Foundation founder and president Don Sheppard. "It has the potential to transform an area that has long been underserved. We look forward to helping WISER and Muhuru Bay for months and years to come."