Amy Carrier's Work in Africa
A Life-Changing Journey of Empowering Orphaned and Abandoned Girls to Find Self-Confidence and Belief in Their Right to Become a Part of and Change Kenya's Future.
"The girls have more confidence in themselves and they believe they have what it takes to achieve their dreams."
- Catherine Julius, Counselor, Mudzini Kwetu Centre Trust, Kenya
Empowerment Curriculum Designed for Kenyan Girls
What Amy developed and taught the girls while in Kenya is a unique and culturally sensitive curriculum that includes critical lessons in areas that are not customary or even considered for inclusion in the Kenyan education system. The lessons included:
- Empowered women
- Self esteem
- Body language
- Group discussion
- Presentation skills
The impact of Amy's lessons (Phase 1 of more to come) are echoing throughout Mudzini on the voices of young women once too shy and intimidated to speak up at all. In a culture where each classroom has only one #1 student and any question has only one precise answer, empowering girls who have been discarded by society to not only speak aloud during a class discussion but share opinions is miraculous.
During her six weeks in Kenya during the summer of 2011, Amy lived at Mudzini Kwetu Centre Trust. "Mudzini Kwetu" translates from Swahili to mean "Our Home." And that is exactly what it is to nearly 40 girls from newborn to university age (yes! the eldest girl has now entered university) who were once orphaned, abandoned and even sex trafficked. Amy had been working and volunteering with Anthony Mulongo, founder of Mudzini Kwetu, for nearly a year and created a unique connection between many of her American students and the girls she would come to live with in Kenya.
(Read the story of the global bridge Amy built between Boston students and Kenyan students by clicking here.)
Amy's trip to Kenya held two purposes: First, Amy wanted to meet, support and create a unique curriculum to aid the girls and the Mudzini staff in talking with the children about their futures in Kenya's economy. This was especially important and challenging as the children arrived at Mudzini feeling they had already been discarded by society. Rebuilding their confidence, talking about trust and envisioning their place in Kenya's - and the world's - future was critical for so many reasons. Already in love with the girls and knowing each of their names and stories, this "Auntie" wanted to spend time showing and telling them how much they were loved and belonged in the world. Teaching this incredible group of eighteen girls ages 10 to 18 how to find confidence and belief in themselves in a culture that sees them as "throw aways" was life-changing.
The second reason for Amy's time in Kenya was to visit schools and educators across the country to learn about this African nation's education system and share her methods with educators who wanted more resources to support their students. Witnessing first hand the disparity between the wealthiest of private schools and the poorest of government schools was at once heartbreaking and motivating. She met with school leaders and principals to discuss her work in the U.S. and its value to Kenyan students.
Amy's approach to creating living curriculum programs that honors culture and ecosystems will empower children to become the leaders of tomorrow because it answers the questions our children carry in their hearts. Both in the U.S. and abroad, Amy's approach to empowering children works with the educational climate with which the students are familiar but fills gaps and teaches young people how to find their voice.
What she saw and learned during her time in Kenya broke her heart and called her to advocate far and wide for equity of access to the critical lessons children must receive to prepare their hearts and minds to take their rightful places in the future of their communities - and the global family.
In Their Own Words
Feedback from the Girls at Mudzini Kwetu:
"I learnt about being confident in public." - Khadija, 13
"We learnt a lot in that program, a lot."- Brenda, 18
"Self esteem, Auntie, Self esteem!!! That is what we learnt and liked most." - Zawadi and Pauni in unison, both 12
A Word From the Founder of Mudzini Kwetu:
"We have and continue to enjoy the pleasure of Miss Amy Carrier working with us on voluntary basis in Kenya, Kikambala division of Kilifi District, towards developing child welfare centres and education programs targeting marginalised, neglected and underprivileged children to become the engines that will drive effective socioeconomic change for the next generation of Kenyan leaders."
- Anthony Mulongo, Social Justice Leader and Founder of Mudzini Kwetu Centre Trust, Kilifi Coast, Kenya