This year’s Annual Gathering, themed “Ready, Willing & Able”, was held at Surly Brewery on Monday, November 13. It was a huge success thanks to the many who came to hear an update on the program, the success of the students and meet Maureen Mulievi, Ngong Road Children’s Foundation Program Director who was visiting from Nairobi.
Paula Meyer, Friends of Ngong Road Founder and President, highlighted the success of the first ten years of the organization that is proven through the organization’s own data. 91 percent of students who have completed their post-secondary education are employed or in internships on their way to employment. This compares to an estimated 60 percent employment rate in Kenya and only 15 percent for young adults entering the labor market for the first time. Paula noted that this organization is “Ready” to continue transforming lives going forward.
Maureen Mulievi, Program Director in Kenya, then shared about her background growing up in rural Kenya in a large family. Her father was a teacher and farmer and believed in educating girls. At the time, the popular belief in the rural community was that educating a girl was a wasted investment as the girl would marry young and only enhance the new spouse’s family, not her own. Maureen recognizes how lucky she was to be raised in a home that believed in education for girls, and she has carried that passion into her work.
Finally, Evan and Meghan Feige, young professionals from the Twin Cities, talked about their experience launching a pilot life skills program in Kenya In January 2017 and their plans to return to Kenya in January 2018 to launch a comprehensive life skills program for all secondary students and recent graduates with the support of Rotary International.
As always, the gathering was a reminder that the mission of transforming lives is only possible because of the committed and diverse community of people who care about providing access to education for children who otherwise would not have a chance.
If you did not get to attend the event, we invite you to listen to the Illumini Podcast produced by longtime volunteer, Steve Kotvis. Steve has interviewed Paula and Maureen and plans to publish a third interview with the Feiges to give those unable to attend the Annual Gathering a better taste for what was said. It is fun listening for anyone new to or already familiar with the organization. Check it out!