G.E.P. in Kenya - The Need
Global Education Partnership was founded in Kenya, during Founder Tony Silard's two year Peace Corps experience from 1990 - 1992. While teaching mathematics in a rural school in the Wundanyi region, Tony discovered that the community-run "Harambee" schools did not have enough basic resources such as desks, safe drinking water, and particularly textbooks. Tony teamed up with a local headmaster, the late Barnabas Mwakisha, and began working with rural schools to raise funds for these resources. Through this partnership, they developed the G.E.P. Partnership Model and laid the groundwork for what would become the Educational Resource Development Program (ERDP).
In much of rural Kenya, children have very little access to education. Imagine yourself as a 10-year-old child from a rural village in Kenya. In a country where over 40 percent of the population is illiterate and only 50 percent of the children are enrolled in school, you face these obstacles every day at school:
You not only share the teacher's divided attention with 65 other students, but must also share your learning space - a small table and 2 chairs - with 4 other students.
You have no access to clean water and often miss school due to stomach illnesses and diseases.
You have no textbooks. You spend most of the school lesson copying information from the blackboard into your notebook, limiting your learning to rote memorization.
Even in this situation, you would be considered one of the lucky ones. Most rural children in Kenya attend schools with dilapidated classrooms and no desks. Even worse, students who do complete their education are confronted with the grim reality of a 35% national unemployment rate. Many young people who do finish or drop out of school find themselves with no options, no chance to earn a living, and no hope for a future.
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