The 15th of September is a day that will be engraved in the minds of about 96 Pokot girls from St. Elizabeth Rescue Center in Morpus West Pokot. This is a day out of the norm since their community both men and women came out to celebrate their success. They were graduating from a program brought about by the Global give back circle.
The Global Give Back Circle provides Kenyan girls from disadvantaged backgrounds – many of them orphans – the skills, savvy, and support to escape the cycle of poverty and empower the next generation as well. Today, the Global Give Back Circle is the largest gender-based tertiary education program for at-risk girls in Kenya.
The day was filled with pomp and glamour as the girls came out dressed in their graduation gowns decorated with Pokot jewelry including big head and neck pieces.
Arrival of guests
St. Elizabeth Girls’ was started with the main intention to enroll girls who had been rescued from the plight of retrogressive cultures such as Female Genital Mutilation, early and forced marriages.
In attendance was Margo Day – The vice president, US Education at Microsoft. A lady they say with a glow of joy in their faces.
Margo Day – The vice president, US Education at Microsoft issuing a certificate to a graduate.
Margo Day visited the primary school in 2009 and realized that the rescued girls did not have a school to attend to after primary. She requested the head teacher to develop a proposal requesting for a secondary cum rescue center through the World Vision Kenya.
The proposal was honored and 14 rescued vulnerable girls were admitted in 2010. During the year, 15 other non-rescued students joined the school and the total enrollment was 29 students. The Visit by World Vision US donors led by Margo Day and other Donors was a Golden opportunity that was God given to the Vulnerable Girls.
The pilot group included a cohort of 42 girls who had completed secondary school.
A group photo of the graduates 2016.
In attendance too was Anti-FGM chairperson Lina Jebii Kilimo, principal Secretary -Ministry of labor Khadija Kassachoon, Associate Director Education and Protection at World vision Mary Mugo, World vision representatives, Global Give Back Circle representatives, and representatives from both the county government and the national Government.
From the left,Lisa Burns,Debby,centre-Margo Day-The vice president, US Education at Microsoft, Hon.Jebii Kilimo,Principal Secretary -Ministry of labor Khadija Kassachoon
Associate Director Education and Protection at World vision Mary Mugo- issuing a certificate to a graduate.
The key messages focused on the importance of empowering the girl child by educating her, freeing her from outdated cultural practices and giving the girl child the rights and freedom she needs.
Hon.Jebii Kilimo who pushed for the passing of a law on Anti-Female Genital Mutilation during the tenure of former president Mwai Kibaki, said she will spearhead for the budgeting of the girl child’s mentorship programs too.
Anti-FGM chairperson.Lina Jebii Kilimo
Some of the girls who graduated had a chance to share their success and moving stories that left some of the people with tears of joy.
They included Catherine Chelaa who is now in Kenyatta University, Macrina Kangsur who is in Kibabii University, Brigid Cherop in Moi University and Beatrice Chepkemoi in RVIST.
The graduates had beautiful messages to their younger sisters who were in attendance like:
“A place cannot change a person but a person can change a place.”
In life you shouldn’t go with a catcher’s mitt in both hands, you need to be able to throw back something’-Maya Angelou. With this, the girls promised to come back to their community and help the other vulnerable girls just as they were helped.
To organisations like World Vision, Global Give Back Circle and amazing people like Margo Day, what they do is priceless, and since God is no debtor, he will surely reward them.
Educate ‘HER’ and you educate the whole community.
Always remember, “As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.” Victor Hugo. Always feel free to help and support vulnerable girls in any part of the globe.
principal Secretary -Ministry of labor Khadija Kassachoon
For the West Pokot girls they say ‘Serenyowow’ (Thank you).