In 1999, I was on safari and asked one of my guides if there was a school that really needed support. I knew I couldn’t save the world, but I could get behind and important issue…. and boy did I find it! We stopped at the AIC Kajiado Girls School, and it was love at first sight. Headmaster Priscilla Nanguri welcome me with a hug like no other! I met some of the “sisters” rescued from early forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM – Circumcision) to which I knew this was a perfect match for me. From that day, my tour company, Nature Encounters Tours & Travel has included visits to the school for our guests to meet these young ladies. I am so proud to say these guests have been a driving force over the years! We have accomplished a lot and there will be so much more thanks to the newly developed foundation “Beyond Bride Rescue Foundation” My heart is filled with the love, passion and support so many of you have given. Asante Sana! Thank You!
I have been a member of the board of the Friends of Kajiado Girls School for 5 years. I am retired and live in Calgary, and I have been happy to donate time to helping with this amazing organization.
I first went to Africa in 2000 with Carol Petersen and Nature Encounters Tours and Travel, and I was immediately completely captivated by the land, the incredible wildlife, and the lovely people. On my second trip with Carol, I went to Kenya, and while there, visited the Kajiado Girls School. It was an experience that truly touched my heart. We took many much-needed school and personal items to the girls at the school, thanks to many generous donations to the Friends of Kajiado charity. The girls were so incredibly grateful for everything that they received. I was overwhelmed with their positive attitude in the midst of very stressful life situations. They were very excited and happy to talk with Carol’s group of visitors. I will never forget the look on the face of one little girl of about 6 years of age when she received her first pair of shoes. She was thrilled beyond measure.
I have since had the privilege of organizing several fundraisers for the school in Calgary. Each one has been successful, thanks to the generous support of many kind and caring individuals. I am always so impressed by the willingness of strangers to help young women who are hungry for education and what they see as a better life.
My husband and I visited the school with Nature Encounters Tours and Travel in 2009. Upon arrival at the school, the children were so excited to see Carol and the guests that she had brought with her, that they came screaming out of their classrooms to greet us. The innocence and gratitude that came from these girls was overwhelming, and the obvious lack of much needed essentials was apparent. We decided then and there that it was our goal to contribute somehow to make the lives of these girls more comfortable and fortunate. The next year, Rudy and I donated 80 bunk beds, mattresses, and bedding to furnish a dorm which had been sitting empty for years due to lack of funding. I joined the Board of Directors for the “Friends of Kajiado” upon its conception, and it’s been a gratifying experience ever since.
Victoria lives with her family in Vancouver and was first introduced to the girls when planning her first trip to Kenya in 2014 with Carol as her guide. It was a trip of a lifetime celebrating milestone birthdays with her mother. Meeting the girls was a special moment and she has been involved with them ever since, soon after Carol asked her to join the board. Victoria went back to Kenya with her family in 2018 and was proud to show the school and the girls to her husband and children. She hopes to continue being involved for years to come.
Jim was a founder in starting the Friends of AIC Kajiado Girls School Board. On his 2012 safari to Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia, Jim met the girls and knew he wanted to make a difference. He has been so supportive and with accountant friend, Maggie Veltheer, they have spent a huge amount of time ensuring the girls have what they need to have safe and full lives.
Brenda & Doug Wright
Brenda & Doug met the girls at AIC Kajiado Girls school on their 2012 safari. They immediately had a connection and started the process to become chartable and the rest they say is history! Their hard work and dedication to find out all the details of Canada Revenue – partnering with The Great Commission Foundation – and making this all possible was so appreciated. We would not be here without them. They were 2 of the first board members and although have left the board, have kept up their generous support.
In 2009, Gloria went on her first of many safaris and that was her first introduction to the AIC Kajiado Girls School. She saw the need to help and has since, sponsored many girls to move from Primary to Secondary school and beyond. She has also provided some wonderful experiences including a fun Christmas trip to Mombasa by train. Many of the girls had never seen the ocean and were thrilled and grateful for this special trip! Gloria continues to support and mentor the girls.
When a girl is born into poverty, she has little to no control over her health, her body her education — her future. When my sister went to Kenya a few years ago and visited the Kajiado Girls School and relayed the fate of so many girls I was saddened. The school was in its infancy, it needed water and beds. I knew that I would become involved. I joined the fundraising team, and the rest is history. Even if our efforts can only help one girl through the Bride Rescue program, it is worth it!! Luckily there are hundreds of girls who are helped, educated and protected from many human rights atrocities. It doesn’t take much to imagine what your life would be like if your were married off to an “old man” at twelve years of age. I am proud to have been involved with the fundraising committee and activities over the years and look forward to what the future brings.
Team Calgary – May 2019 Fundraiser
Left to Right: Maxine Starkewski, Phil Franklin (sadly passed away), Amanda Reid, Marilyn Fedderson, Dianne Cully, Aranka Rosettis, Marilyn Franklin, Diane Macdonald
Team Calgary – 2016
Diane Cully – Board Member
I was introduced to these brave girls by Carol Petersen on our first safari in 2012. I was very taken with the spirit of these girls who decide that they want an education and have to leave home to do so. It was amazing to see children s reaction to getting their first pair of shoes, and to hear of their ambition to be a doctor or a teacher. And then to see the heart wrenching condition of their living quarters and toilet facilities. Our children should have been there to see it. We also visited the school again in 2105 and again, was struck by their spirit and ambition to become educated. A wonderful place to support and every penny that is spent there is carefully thought out.
I became involved with the fund raising for the Kajiado school at the request of Dianne Cully. Dianne was planning a fund raiser in Calgary for the school. Right away I was in!! I thought what an amazing opportunity to help young girls and women escape abuse, poverty and early forced marriage. I know that education is of great importance in order tp give women the ability to take control of their lives, gain independence and eventually promote education for their own children. An education enables girls/women to become self starters and have a more global perspective about what may be available to them. I am proud to be a member of a group of women here in Calgary who are enthusiastic and truly motivated to help our sisters gain the tools to achieve independence and a way out of poverty and oppression.
Diane & Dave Macdonald
My husband and I have visited the school a few times since 2008 and have been touched each time by how much the students and teachers do with so little. Their appreciation for the education they are receiving is so evident and their happy smiles are wonderful to see. The bravery of the Bride Rescue girls is an inspiration. Being Rotary members, we saw the need to help make their lives healthier and worked with the Rotary Club of Calgary Downtown and the Rotary Club of Karengata, Nairobi in upgrading the kitchen and dorm washrooms. We are very excited to have completed this project.
The Kajiado School is an amazing place. The staff is so dedicated, providing a home away from home for the girls combined with a positive, engaging learning environment. The girls we met were enthusiastic and full of joy. The memory of visiting this wonderful school will remain with me forever.
I was drawn to help with the Bride Rescue Program when I learned of the horrific lives that many girls in Kenya endure after being forced into marriage at ages as young as 10 or 12 years old.
Hearing news of the girls’ progress brings me great satisfaction knowing I had a role, small as it is, in their success.
It is very gratifying to see how far our donations can go in providing the rescued girls protection, education and freedom of choice in their lives.