Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TED Talk Opportunity

Over the years, most of you have heard me talk about the Founder of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, Abdul Kassim.  He is one of the most incredible people I have ever met and is one of the largest reasons that the KGSA Foundation even exists today.  He inspires, challenges, and empowers everyone around him and has gone on to create the only free, all-girls high school in the Kibera slum, and provides educational, artistic, and athletic opportunities to some 130 girls every year.  It is an amazing, wonderful place filled with talented, driven and world-changing young women and the men and women who teach them.

In a well deserved stroke of luck (and a lot of hard work) Abdul got to present at the TED@Nairobi Talent Search. His talk was so excellent, he's eligible to be a TED Fellow, which would be an incredible opportunity for Abdul, but more importantly for the girls he's devoted his life to helping.

In order to make this happen, we need his video to be the most watched/commented upon video by August 31.  I know that these types of "asks" can seem like a burden but this is incredibly important.  PLEASE, take a few minutes to watch this inspiring video and share it with your family, friends, and colleagues.  We need votes and comments and if Abdul wins, he'll be on the 2013 TEDTalk series.  This could be the moment that drastically blows the door down (in a really good way) for these young women.

here is the link:

Thank you!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Input & Output

It has only been a month so far that Ive been back in Kibera at the school, and already I have witnessed so much growth as an organization on the ground and in the students of KGSA. Recently Ive been thinking a lot about the idea of input and output and how sometimes you never really know when youll see the results of your labor and intention. Every financial decision, every decision to expand, every decision to bring staff on board that Abdul has made since 2006 was intentionally to strengthen the schools ability to provide quality education. He had the idea to pay our teachers to return to school for diploma courses, to recruit a university graduate to serve as principal, to craft strong extra-curricular activities for the students to expand their studies, he pushed for a dormitory to provide safe housing. We are now at a point where after all of that input into KGSA, we are seeing the beginning of that output, and it will only grow into something more effective as time goes on.

Many of you probably read that one of our recent graduates from KGSA, Linnet, was accepted into Baraton University, Nairobi. This will be the first time that this has happened for a KGSA student. It’s been great to talk with her about her thoughts, expectations, and fears on entering university because I had all of the same thoughts when I left for college too. Every one of her peers is extremely proud of her; she has single-handedly raised the bar for each and every one of them and they love her for that.

Our most recent graduates also have a lot to brag about. The number of students that received a C- or higher rose from two in 2010 up to nine for the 2011 class. Because of this score, they are eligible to pursue a two-year degree in August. Four students have already looked into their programs and will be getting diplomas in mass communications, finance, and business management. This is obviously increasing the amount of money we thought we would be spending in 2012 but this is a good problem to have. After talking with Abdul, Christine (the principal) and Teka (Programs Manager), we decided that they best way to raise the overall performance of the school is to offer financial scholarships to any student with a C- or higher. We will need to find a way to pay for this additon but it is important that we create a system that can allow for the “full cycle” as Abdul puts it (from secondary to college). If case you are wondering how much money we’re talking about, a two-year diploma costs $635.00… that’s right, only $635.00 for two years and each individual student will have a greater chance at employment, leading to an independent, sustainable, healthy life.

Interested in supporting our efforts? Click HERE

There is more to come… so much more. For now though, please spread the word about our work, pass on our website or this blog, and donate if you can, or else encourage others to do so. As always, thank you for your support.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time to do so is now.”