The LBW Trust, with the support of Qantas and Accor hotels, is bringing educational visionary and international women's rights advocate Dr Kakenya Ntaiya to Australia for International Women's Week 2017. Dr Ntaiya is an amazing Kenyan Maasai woman who defied the odds, broke all the rules, and gained an education, a PhD and is now building an international foundation to educate girls and women in Kenya.
"I’m helping girls who cannot speak for themselves. Why should they go through the hardships I endured? They’ll be stepping on my shoulders to move up the ladder—they’re not going to start on the bottom."
As a Maasai village girl, Kakenya was engaged to be married when she was 5 and would have ended her schooling at age 12 if not for an extraordinary bargain she made with her father at the age of just 7. She would undergo the Maasai tribal ritual of circumcision if he would allow her to finish school. Dr Ntaiya did not know then what FGM was, nor how lucky she would be to survive it. Now she has set up a school where the parents must agree that their girls will not be subjected to these rituals, and that they will not be married before they finish school.
The first of these students to complete high school will graduate in 2017, with the LBW Trust fundraising to send 30 of these young women to university in Kenya. Dr Ntaiya is coming to Australia as a guest speaker for International Women’s Day in 2017 to share her vision about the power of education.
"Of all the girls we have right now, 235 girls, none of them will ever be mutilated. Over the last two years we have sent 55 girls to the best national schools, secondary schools in the country. I look at the girls I have in my school and it's one of the most satisfying thing making somebody happy, making somebody know and believe that what they actually dream in life can actually become a reality so it's a joy."
The LBW Trust is proud to be working with Dr Ntaiya and her students to dream and make their dreams a reality, and in doing so, slowly start to change communities, the role of girls and women and give them opportunities, hope and inspiration for a better world.