Beyond our Expectations...

2016 is off and running and school is back in session in Guatemala, India and Kenya. We are all excited about the great work that is already underway and exciting things planned for this year.

Many amazing things happened in 2015; GEF saw huge improvements in our core programming and are more confident than ever in the great work that our partner organizations are doing.

Kathy Bartlett, Global Education Fund’s Executive Director, recalls her proudest moment of 2015 in the great work and progress she witnessed while visiting our partner, Global Education Fund – Kenya with former GEF’s Executive Director and current board member, Liz Berry Gips.

 

Liz and Kathy had the opportunity to visit GEF-Kenya last November, where they witnessed countless demonstrations of the incredible work, changes and impacts of GEF Kenya over the past few years.

Since joining GEF Kenya in 2014, Daniel Masawi has been shaping the GEF-K program, offering innovative ideas and solutions to improve the program.

One of the most powerful changes to the GEF Kenya program is the creation of the alumni group. Since GEF-K started, over 100 students have graduated. Now, the alumni have an opportunity to stay involved in the core programming and continue to create positive change in their communities.

During Kathy and Liz’s visit they were able to meet with a group of the GEF-K alumni who now are peer-mentors and co-facilitators for the GEF-K after school clubs, which is an expansion of the existing leadership program. The group represents graduates from 2010-2014 and one of the graduates was with the program when it started in 2006! This was the first opportunity for GEF executives to sit down with the graduates and hear, first-hand, how the program provided life-changing experiences.

Here’s what four program graduates had to say about their experiences with GEF-K:

“I’m so proud as the experience with GEF has made me the person I am today and will be.  I faced many challenges before joining GEF- K and I almost had to drop out [of school].  All of the GEF-K camps helped me to become confident.” – Peggy

 

“GEF-Kenya was so helpful because it helped me stay in school by paying fees. Now with Daniel here it has given hope for us alumni. Daniel really encourages us and to continue developing our skills and to think of affecting positive changes in our communities” – Silas

“We learned a lot about leadership – to stand out, how to have something, and to stand out from others.  We are very privileged to continue to be part of this program” – Ruben

“I had a dream to be a journalist but felt the doors shut after secondary school. We joined the alumni program and learned facilitation skills. I know that with the alumni program I will be more confident and be able to continue my long term dream of becoming a journalist.” -Felix

After hearing many stories from the program alumni, both Kathy and Liz left feeling deeply moved by the long-term impact that GEF-Kenya has had.

“The GEF-K program has delivered in ways that surpassed my expectations…  To listen to the transformation of our scholars was one of the most inspiring experiences I have had in ages; despite overwhelming obstacles, with our support they have gone on (almost 100% of them) to serve in top leadership capacities in their schools, to be role models and to serve their communities.”    – Liz Berry Gips

It’s great to see a GEF program have such a positive and direct impact on so many individuals and on the community as a whole. It really is a testament to the impact that all of our supporters have sparked, and continue to, for all of our partner organizations.

Across Kenya, India and Guatemala, our partners are doing amazing work to improve the lives of children living in poverty through education. Their success and their many stories leave usfeeling energized and excited for the great things that 2016 will bring.