On September 18th, Global Education Fund’s annual Fall Fundraiser took on a fresh new look at the Museum of Boulder. And what a wonderful event it was.
Guests enjoyed cocktails, traditional Indian music, and amazing cuisine from renowned chef Biju Thomas, of Biju’s Little Curry House. The walls were lined with beautiful silent auction pieces; photography exhibiting live and beauty in Kenya, India and Guatemala. Across the room was a generous display of hats donated by the Wallaroo Hat Company, with all sales going directly to GEF.
Cafe lights were hung, music was played, and cocktails were served as passionate conversation filled the room.
But, an event is nothing without the guests who fill it, so thank you for attending. It is only because of our motivated and generous supporters that Global Education Fund has created a legacy of positive impact. And, because you all gave so generously we were able to raise nearly $100,000 net at the 2015 Fall Event.
The program was full of inspirational words that filled the room from Kathy Bartlett, GEF Executive Director, Liz Berry Gips, former GEF Executive Director, and special guest, Daniel Masawi of Global Education Fund Kenya.
Daniel spoke passionately about the work he and his team are doing in Embakasi, Kenya.
"Coming Home" - Daniel Masawi
Global Education Fund Kenya works in the slums of Embakasi, in the eastern part of Nairobi. Embakasi is home to nearly 2 million people (about 1/2 the total population of Nairobi).
Daniel Masawi joined Global Education Fund-Kenya as Executive Director just over one year ago. Daniel was excited to accept this position because of GEF-Kenya’s focus on youth, and for the chance to return home to the neighborhood he grew up in, Embakasi. But this time, ready to make a difference.
The slums of Embakasi are marked by concentrated poverty, crime, academic failure, and gang violence. Daniel spoke of his parents’ high expectations for him to attend school, and to complete his education. It is because of their support for his education that he was able to leave Embakasi and take control of his own life. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many of his peers, nor is it the case for many young girls and boys living in the slums of Embakasi today.
Educating students across Kenya is a challenge. While the government provides free education through primary school, after 8th grade individuals and families must cover 80-90% of costs of secondary education. As a result, over 50% of Kenyan youth who should be enrolled in secondary school, are not. This problem is magnified in impoverished areas, such as the slums of Embakasi. The good news is that despite working in an area with low enrollment and even lower graduation rates, Global Education Fund Kenya scholars experience a 100% graduation rate!
The GEF-Kenya Young Leaders Program goes far beyond simply providing scholarships; ensuring that the poorest students have access to secondary education. But, as Daniel noted, perhaps the most important part of their work happens through the leadership and entrepreneurship camps and the ongoing mentor-ship between current young leaders and alumni. The camps and activities encourage young leaders to plan and think about their future while providing a safe space for personal growth.
To date, 111 youth have graduated from the GEF-Kenya’s young leaders program, and 29 are currently involved. In addition, based on high local interest, GEF-Kenya is piloting a new after school program to involve even more youth. The new pilot program is reaching 135 additional young students from six nearby secondary schools. And, 15 alumni are being trained as co-facilitators – creating opportunity for young leaders to give back to their communities.
From Daniel’s humble beginnings, to his academic and professional achievements, he has always been driven and motivated by his passion for positive youth development. Since coming on to the Global Education Fund Kenya team, he has been able to empower the organization to achieve remarkable things, and will continue to do so for years to come.
We couldn’t have done it without you!
A very special thank you to our amazing event committee Jacquie McKenna, Christine Ellison, Lisa Drake, Juliette Remy Jeffrey, and Maya Waldstreicher. We are also extremely grateful for our Volunteer Manager and Intern, Allie McKelvey; and to all of our volunteers who helped throughout the night. Thank you to the Bolder Events staff, and finally, to our remarkable event planner, Nina Sharma, who helped to make this great event a success!
Also, many thanks to our amazing auctioneer, Shelly St. John of the Auction Diva’s, whose passion and ability to lead a room is unmatched.
What would an event be without amazing food? Chef Biju Thomas certainly did not disappoint.
A very special thanks to:
Jim Butterworth and Sallie Smith
Lisa Drake and Scott Woodard
Leslie Sosnowski, Boulder Shares, INC
Jay Keany, Vista Photography
The Auction Divas
Lighting and Design by Scott
One Thousand Design