STEM camp happened last month, read all about it!
What does it take for a village girl to earn a degree in STEM in a community where most women don’t finish high school, often experience gender violence, get married young, and earn about $1 US dollar per day?
What does it take for a village girl to earn a degree in STEM in a community where most women don’t finish high school, often experience gender violence, get married young, and earn about $1 US dollar per day? It’s not easy, but Lifunga girls have the necessary determination and grit. What we can help them with is exposure to STEM, teacher training, college scholarships, and paid work experiences.
The Nursing Promise, led by our partners at Matibabu College of Health Sciences, is building a pathway to help girls earn a college diploma and start a professional degree that earns 15 times more than what women typically earn—plus an opportunity to give back to their own rural communities where there is a shortage of well-trained nurses.
We are thrilled to share our first step in this endeavor- – the Lifunga Girls STEM Camp! Led by amazing volunteer educators Rebecca Girard and Abiya Quai from Notre Dame Belmont in California, the STEM camp nurtured scientific curiosity through hands-on experiments and teamwork – all essential experiences for the 120 budding scientists in the 11th and 12th grades. Witnessing the students’ excitement as they delved into the world of science, technology, engineering, and math was truly heartwarming for me as a former teacher. The enthusiasm was palpable!
During the week, Rebecca and Abiya also collaborated closely with Kenyan teachers to foster engaging instructional techniques that transcend rote memorization. Following the camp, 15 Kenyan teachers started a two-year fellowship to improve instructional methods in partnership with TeachUnited from Uganda.
Each participating fellow has received a laptop generously donated by Chris Robertson of Life 360 to recognize the teachers’ commitment to the fellowship.
Meanwhile, as part of the afterschool program during the STEM Camp, Aminta Steinbach, a passionate instructor from Kajukendo Hand to Hand Self Defense in Oakland, trained 40 Boda Girls to teach self-defense classes. In small groups after school, the Boda Girls taught all 250 girls at Lifunga School how to “Think, Shout, Run, Fight, Tell” and say “NO!.” It was amazing to see the impact of these classes on women’s safety and confidence. The Boda Girls plan to add these lessons to the reproductive health classes they teach to 2,000+ girls in the community.
On the last day of camp, we had a fun celebration for the students and their parents, and we planted 22 avocado trees in honor of all Kenyan and US teachers and a tree for each class. We wanted to mark that something significant was taking root.
The Nursing Promise pathway has four main components:
- Annual STEM Camp
- Teacher’s 2-Year Fellowship Program in Instructional Methods
- Full college scholarships at Mary Ann van Dam School of Nursing ($1k per year for 2-3 year programs)
- 6-month paid internships and mentoring with Matibabu Hospital
Together, we are making strides in shaping a brighter tomorrow for these young women. We ask for your support with connections, volunteering, and especially scholarship funds. We thank you for helping Lifunga girls achieve their full potential. Let’s do this together!
Executive Director – Tiba Foundation