Lincoln Learning Solutions announced the company’s board of directors approved a $300,000 grant for Hekima Place, founded by Pittsburgh native Kate Fletcher in 2005 to care for orphaned and vulnerable Kenyan girls.
“When I heard Kate’s story, I was so moved by the work she was doing to rehabilitate the lives of these children,” Lincoln Learning Solutions CEO Bob Clements said. “She’s provided girls with a safe and nurturing shelter, and now she’s working on building a school to solidify their futures. That’s when I knew I should take this to our board.”
Lincoln Learning Solutions board members were as moved, especially given that Clements persuaded Fletcher to make a personal visit to tell the girls’ and her story. Starting with only 10 girls, Hekima Place is now home to 93 orphaned and vulnerable girls who call Kate “mum.”
Photo courtesy of Hekima Place
Fletcher explained that the Pittsburgh-based organization running Hekima Place is ready for the next phase.
“Far too many girls in Kenya are denied an opportunity for education and care due to lack of funds, geographic isolation, a lack of high-quality educational opportunities in rural areas and more,” Fletcher said. “We now aspire to be an educational answer for girls that leads to eventual university attendance, vocational school placement and economic self-sufficiency.”
Clements said this is an ideal time for Lincoln Learning Solutions to partner with Fletcher and her organization.
“Helping them continue to care for vulnerable girls and create an academically rigorous and emotionally supportive primary school is core to our own mission of empowering students through education. It’s a great way for us to be part of the solution,” he said.
According to Hekima Place, the primary school will serve as the first phase of its educational goals, and will be followed by a secondary school. Its vision is to provide a seamless educational experience that serves as a foundation for the girls’ transition to adulthood.
In spite of Kenya’s track record of prioritizing educational efforts, a UNESCO study revealed that it is among the top ten countries in the world with the highest number of out-of-school children. UNESCO also found that about 30 percent of girls were declared illiterate as opposed to 14 percent of boys.
Fletcher told LLS board members that, particularly in rural parts of the country, children are sharing books, desks and chairs in dark, over-crowded classrooms where teachers are deprived of professional development and growth. With a solid understanding of Kenya’s recently mandated curriculum changes, Hekima Place is poised to implement progressive best practices and ensure that they and state-of-the-art education trends are and remain at the forefront of discussion.
Photo courtesy of Hekima Place
Hekima Place is grateful for the financial support and the start of a rich partnership in which LLS can share its knowledge and experience working with innovative teaching and learning. In return Hekima Place can share best practices on reaching and engaging the most marginalized students. Although one works in the United States and the other Kenya, the common ground is a springboard for mutual learning.
Kate’s life story is unbelievable and very inspirational. She really is changing lives one girl at a time,” Clements said. “It’s rewarding and heartwarming to be a part of her noble efforts.”