Announcing the Kipepeo Program for High School Girls

Donate to Kipepeo

Tenderfeet currently serves children ages three to eight years old.  But what happens to these kids when they get older and leave Tenderfeet?

We make every effort to ensure all Tenderfeet ‘graduates’ stay in school, such as creative fundraisers by the kindhearted employees of ION Geophysical.

It’s a fairly manageable task until the child completes the 8th grade.  At that point, students are ready to enter High School.

And that’s where education usually ends for children in the slums. Tenderfeet’s new program, called Kipepeo, is designed to address this terrible problem. Kipepeo means ‘butterfly’ in Swahili.

Arian Ogo

Arian Ogo, pictured outside her home in Kibera, is a teenager who is in school now thanks only to sponsorship. Kipepeo seeks to help more girls like Arian.

To understand more about the goals of Kipepeo, let’s explore the root problem in more detail.  Then we will explain the Kipepeo solution.

This problem, unfortunately, is the Kenyan educational system.  It traces its approach back to the British colonial days, and really hasn’t evolved since the 1960’s.

It includes, quite simply, a ridiculously expensive and inefficient High School system that all but guarantees slum children will never escape poverty.

It’s worth noting that in the U.S. and other affluent countries, education is available for all children up to and including High School students.

Most students in these rich countries, including those students in lower income brackets, attend schools within a short distance of their home.  They get to school by foot, car, or bus.

In Kenya, such a school that one attends during the day, only to return home at night, is called a ‘Day School’.

But the situation with High Schools in Kenya is dramatically different.  There are no free High Schools in Kenya.  Period.

Instead, there are ‘Day’ High Schools and ‘Boarding’ High Schools, and they are both expensive, even by U.S. standards.

Day Schools are somewhat cheaper, but there are far too few to serve everyone, and even they are way too costly for slum families.  In fact, because of the insurmountable expenses, only a fraction of needy children are able to finish High School.

Moreover, teenagers that are able to somehow attend Day Schools are still immersed in the dangerous environment of the slums.  These students must do more homework than ever before, being required to take as many as 12 classes at a time.

But finding a good place to study in a one-room home cramped with as many as 10 people, and often no electricity, is incredibly difficult.

Boarding schools are almost universally preferred, because they empower girls through the best setting for learning.  Students are removed from the harsh influences of the slums, provided with good role models and motivated peers, and have access to the resources and facilities to do their work properly.

Girls at Falling Waters High School

Emily, second from the left, has made lifelong friends at her High School.

For girls, especially, it’s a huge benefit to escape the frequently destructive slum environment — where physical abuse, early pregnancy, and a host of other risks are everywhere.

The Kipepeo program is designed for girls who have no hope, and allows for a wonderful alternative to the dead-end future that plagues young women in the slums.

Kipepeo provides the funding for teenage girls to be freed of slum life and instead be educated at a quality boarding school, like Falling Waters Girls High School, where Emily Nyambura attends.

Emily has flourished in High School, and is only able to attend because of sponsorship.  We want to help more girls like Emily to follow their dreams and escape poverty through education.

As important as it is to provide the Tenderfeet experience of love and learning to young children, it is just as important not to abandon these needy children when they reach the vulnerable teenage years.

Please visit the Kipepeo section of the Tenderfeet web page, it gives more information and background about the program.

We hope that you can contribute to the Kipepeo fund, to enable girls to follow a new path and achieve a future of exciting opportunity.

To help, please click here or the icon below, and on the donation page select the ‘Kipepeo program for High School girls’ button.  100% of donations received will go to helping the girls.

Donate to Kipepeo





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