Kenya Self-Help Project 
Strategic Partnerships in Education & Community Development April 2009
In This Issue
'Women to Girls' Panties Project
Out to Make a Difference
Closing notes . . .
Quick Links
Quick Links
returnOne woman's quest to help girls in Kendu Bay opened a flood of giving and returned 500 girls panties for our Girls Empowerment Dignity Kits.  A Colorado small town with a big heart is the vortex of a countrywide campaign to give panties to girls and help keep them in school.
Read more in 'Women to Girls' Panties Project
No income?  No problem.  Young philanthropists are finding their own way to make a difference.  Three California teenagers bent on helping Kendu Bay students have discovered it's their own determination that inspires others to join them.
Read more in Out to Make a Difference
Thank you to everyone for your support.
Kathleen Dodge, Executive Director
women 'Women to Girls'  Panties Project

A KSHP volunteer's story touched the heart of a Colorado woman - and the 'Women to Girls' Panties Project was born.                                                           Mrs. O

Deb Lathrop, La Veta, CO sprang to action after reading how many Kendu Bay schoolgirls can't afford underwear.  Deb emailed several friends . . and her town (population 900) rallied behind her.  "Every girl should have panties to wear under her skirt!" echoed the call.  The local bakery wants to make fancy decorated Panty Cookies as a fundraiser; La Veta's Community Music Night plans to feature her 'Panties Project' drive; and the Knit for Peace ladies want to help too during their crafts sales at this summer's Art-in-the-Park fair.
Word spread like prairie fire and within days, panties and friends' donations poured in from near and far.  Last count, Deb packed close to 500 girls' panties for delivery to Kendu Bay through the help of Val Botta.
Kenya schoolgirls wear dresses or skirts as uniforms. The embarrassing issue of lack of underwear isolates poor girls and keeps menstruating girls home from school a week each month.  Now, a pair of $1 panties will empower girls who most need an education with a way to stay in school
Reached through KSHP Girls' Empowerment program, needy girls in grades 4-8 receive Dignity Kits containing 2 panties and 2 sets of reusable sanitary pads (4 pads in each set).  The pads are handmade by local women on donated treadle sewing machines.  Production is in full swing these days on Mrs. Opondo's front porch.  Kendu Bay's 'Voice of the Youth' ladies, as they call their enterprise, want Dignity Kits ready and waiting.  
Soon, 500 Fruit of the Loom 'Women to Girls' panties will arrive in Kendu Bay and the front porch ladies will tuck them into new Dignity Kits for Girls Club distribution.
To join the effort, see Girls 'Stay in School' program  
Return to top
lessonsOut to Make a Difference:
Teenage Philanthropy 
Watch out, world!  These young women are on a mission.  With little more than their own voices and a wish to help others, our featured teen partners are finding ways to change lives and help students in Kendu Bay. 
Girls with a Plan: Shannon & Grace O'Hara
La Cañada High School, CA
                                                        O'Hara Girls resized
Shannon and Grace O'Hara, ages 15 and 17, returned from a family safari in Kenya with a deeper view of the world and a new ambition.  They want to help keep rural Kenya girls in school.  The sisters learned that 70% of Kendu Bay girls don't finish grade 8 due to lack of hygene supplies and private latrines.  Shannon and Grace decided this "would not do" and set out to find a way to build girls' latrines at local primary schools.  They raised nearly $1,500 making and selling sets of photo note cards and speaking at area service clubs.  Their efforts have paid off.  Construction of  TWO new girls' latrines is now underway at Pier Got and Ongalo Primary schools.  Our Kendu Bay team reports, "We are working with some seriously experienced fundis, so the latrines should be finished in no time!"  Both girls say they've just begun.  Their aim this year is to build yet one more latrine at new partner school.  "Eventually we want to see girls' latrines built at all 23 schools!"  says Shannon.  They are on their way! 
To inquire about their sets of wildlife photo note cards, email  Clean Latrines for Smart Teens

Sweet Sixteen Scholarship: Katherine Ring 
La Cañada High School, CA
Mrs. OKatherine's travels with her family in Kenya last summer touched her heart.  She learned about the challenges teenagers there face to get an education - and came home resolving to find a way to make a difference.  Katherine wanted to sponsor a Kenya girl's education.  Not for just one year, but for all four years of high school.  How did she succeed?  Katherine turned her 16th Birthday party into a no-gift fundraiser and invited friends and family to donate toward her wish: to create a KSHP scholarship for a destitute girl in Kendu Bay.  Katherine's hope was fulfilled.  Her Sweet Sixteen initiative created a 4-year high school scholarship for Turphosa Achieng, who is now a grateful freshman at Rangala Girls High School.  Thank you, Katherine!  Your gift of an education will have far-reaching effects.
An extra year of primary school boosts girls' eventual wages by 10% to 20%.  An extra year of secondary school: 15% to 25%. 
     [Psacharopoulos & Patrinos, "Returns to Investment in Education" World Bank Policy Research Paper, 2002] 
When a girl in (Kenya) receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. 
     [United Nations Population Fund, 1009]
When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families, as compared to only 30% to 40%  for a man.
                                    [Phil Borges, Women Empowered, 2007]                                   
Turphosa Achieng, age 14
To learn how you can help girls, see Girls Empowerment  

Closing notes . . .

"The people of Kendu Bay are not farmers, traditionally.  They are a fishing people.  But these days, the number of marketable fish in Lake Victoria has declined severely.  Fishing is no longer a viable and profitable profession.  So, many of the people have turned to farming, but they lack the know how to make the most of their land.  Now Neale can teach them that.  There is no doubt that she will impact this community in wonderful ways."

Kate Connell, anticipating the arrival of new KSHP volunteer, Neale Mahoney

Return to top