I graduated from college yesterday. In about one month I board a plane to Kenya. (I am also taking the GRE between now and then). I think about all these things and I have to laugh and cry and remind myself to breathe. Now that graduation is over, my real preparation begins.
On June 16th I leave for Muhuru Bay, Kenya, a small fishing village off the coast of Lake Victoria. I will live at an all-girls secondary school, WISER (the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research.) My project is based on researching and documenting how the WISER model of education is creating an enabling environment for empowerment for young women (in hopes of the WISER model being replicated in other Kenyan communities).
Again and again, I have answered the question: “Why would you go to Kenya?” This question has has been asked in different forms and through different frames — sometimes out of genuine curiosity, sometimes out of deep concern, and sometimes simply out of confusion.
I think I can better answer the “Why Kenya” question by answering this one: “Why are girls’ rights important to you?” This issue is important to me because it is important to our world. Girls having equal opportunities to choice, to education, and to resources provides better economic, social, and health outcomes for girls and boys, for men and women, for everyone. It is important because it is a human rights issue. Because every girl deserves to be seen, to be heard, and to be known. Because I am girl. Because I have been celebrated for being a girl from the moment I took my first breath.
I am privileged. My privilege is all over me. Irreversible, irremovable. I wear it on my skin. I display it with my freedoms. I can hear it in my voice, my words. I carry it with the diploma I received yesterday. I live it with the choices I make for my life. Privilege is not the reality for most women and girls on this planet. Without change, without movement, and without support for education it never will be.
The best way to support me and to support this project is to tear down the political and geographic barriers that we often subconsciously put up when we think about global issues. Donate to WISER and educate yourself on girls’ rights around the world. Follow me, travel with me, and learn with me.