July 18th is Nelson Mandela Day, celebrating his tireless fight to protect and promote human rights. Throughout his lifetime, Mandela fought for justice as a human rights lawyer, political prisoner, peacemaker, and president of South Africa. Mandela Day was created in 2009, before his death in 2013, to recognize his contributions to freedom and peace. Each year, Nelson Mandela Day has a special theme related to how people can give back. This year’s theme is Action Against Poverty.

At Kakenya’s Dream, we celebrate Mandela Day because of our shared commitment to protecting human rights and dignity for all. Before we opened our first school in 2009, very few girls in our community in rural Kenya could get an education past the primary level. Today, our programs are closing the gender gap in educational attainment and ending harmful practices that violate our girls’ rights.

This year’s theme, Action Against Poverty, is especially relevant for our work. Most of our girls lived in poverty before coming to KCE. Many of them are orphans or come from single parent households; they come from families who could never have afforded to send them to school without our support. It takes more than just tuition to end poverty, however, which is why we fully support our girls’ education even after they leave our school to pursue high school and university degrees. Once a girl begins her education at KCE, she become a part of a supportive community that is seeking to lift her up because we know that the best way to end poverty is to empower those most affected by it.   

Nelson Mandela famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Help us fight poverty on Mandela Day by giving a girl the power of education today.