KCE girls visit the US

For the second straight year, four eighth-grade KCE girls participated in the Montessori Model United Nations conference in New York City from February 13-16. Moreene, Abigael, Caroline and Sylvia made not only their first visit to the United States, but their first trip outside of Kenya! Once again we thank KEEP supporter Andy Greene, who leads the MMUN team at the Whitby School, for making this incredible dream a reality. The girls served on the Social, Humanitarian and Culture Committee and helped draft two exciting human rights resolutions. Moreene and Abigael even represented Kenya at the conference!

The KCE girls enjoyed some sightseeing in New York and Washington, including visits to the Empire State Building and the Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials. They have now returned safely to Kenya, dedicated to becoming champions of justice and equality. Please click here to view an inspiring three minute video about their visit.

Building their first snowman ever

Second Annual Paddle Tournament

On February 7th, two dozen women filled the paddle tennis courts at the beautiful Waccabuc Country Club for a morning of spirited play.  Between games, players gathered for conversation and refreshments around a roaring fire in the cozy Carriage House.

Thanks to the generosity of participants, and even some women who were unable to attend, we raised a whopping $2,160 for the Kakenya Center for Excellence!

Fundraising included a raffle, including generous donations of a massage from Irene Marks, L.M.T., at Healing Hands of Thyme at the Katonah Healing Arts Alliance and a tennis lesson from Richard Finn of the Saw Mill Club.

These funds will cover the annual tuition for six of our KEEP-supported eighth grade girls. Special thanks to tournament “master” and paddle pro Richard Finn, Waccabuc General Manager John Assuma, and our Waccabuc member sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without you!

As always, we wish a heartfelt thank you to all of our donors for your unflagging support and enthusiasm for educating girls!  The world is a better place because of your kindness.

Great News About Our 8th Grade Girls!

This December marks a tremendous milestone for KEEP:  The students we have been supporting for the past four years are graduating from 8th grade! We are delighted to report that each and every one of our girls has passed the Kenyan national primary school exams and has qualified for secondary school.  KCE ranked sixth out of 500 primary schools in the county – and ten of our girls scored high enough to attend an elite national school! We are incredibly proud of our girls!

As these students continue on to secondary schools all across the country, they will receive support from Kakenya’s Network for Excellence, a program that provides mentoring, tutoring and scholarships to every alumna of the Kakenya Center for Excellence.

When the new Kenyan academic year starts in January, KEEP will begin supporting the rising eighth grade class at KCE. Plans are in the works for several of these girls to come to New York City in February to participate in the Montessori Model United Nations Conference. We hope all logistical arrangements proceed smoothly – KEEP your fingers crossed!


Every Donation Counts

Did you know that KEEP is powered by small donations? More than 97% of our donors give between $1 and $360! We are truly a grassroots effort. And your gifts go a very long way.

  • $360: tuition for one year
  • $180: tuition for six months
  • $60: tuition for two months

As 2018 comes to a close, please help us fund the tuition for our new class of KEEP-supported students. Whatever amount you decide, your donation is fully tax-deductible – and it will make a real, lasting difference!

Donate now.

Back-to-School Update

Here is a quick update now that the school year is underway.

First, a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to the members of Students Supporting KEEP (SSK) at John Jay Middle School! These students campaigned to designate KEEP as the beneficiary of the Rock the Halls charity concert at JJMS in June. This phenomenal fundraiser generated nearly $4,000 for the girls we support at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Way to go, SSK!

Rock the Halls

The KEEP clubs at both John Jay High School and Middle School are going strong. The first fall meeting of the JJHS club, Students for KEEP, drew a record number of 35 students! These clubs focus on the need to educate girls worldwide, exploring issues of gender discrimination and social justice, while helping to support the KEEP/KCE partnership.

As you plan your final charitable contributions for 2018, remember that educating girls is one of the most powerful ways to raise communities out of poverty.  Please help us fulfill our pledge to cover tuition expenses for every girl in the KCE eighth grade class. Before coming to KCE, many of these girls were at high risk for child marriage and FGM.  Now, they are learning, growing and thriving.  You are a crucial part of their success!

Donate now.

Kenya Katonah Education Exchange KEEP Girls in School

Education Exchange Is a Reality!

Four of our KEEP-supported eighth grade students from the Kakenya Center for Excellence had an extraordinary visit to the U.S. last month!

Students from Kenya arrive at Katonah train station for Education Exchange

When these girls traveled from Kenya to attend the Montessori Model United Nations Conference in New York City, they made history: This was the first time that participants in this international conference came from an African nation! A grateful shout-out to Andy Greene, a KEEP supporter and teacher at the Whitby School, who worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality.

Rahab answers questions at Katonah Education Exchange

On March 19th, KEEP hosted a reception and ice cream social at the Katonah Village Library, where an energized, standing-room-only crowd welcomed the girls, two of their program leaders, and Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, the founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence.

After the JJHS Notables kicked off the festivities with a delightful a cappella performance, Bedford Town Supervisor Chris Burdick presented the KCE girls with an official proclamation of honorary citizenship.

The highlight of the evening was a question and answer session led by the JJMS and JJHS KEEP clubs. With thoughtfulness and humor, the KCE girls described their daily lives in rural Kenya, shared their hopes for the future, and giggled about trying pizza for the first time.

To top off an amazing evening, donations from the event totaled $1,500!

Kenya Katonah Education Exchange JJMS

After spending the night with Katonah families, the girls visited JJMS and JJHS where they toured the schools and attended classes with KEEP club members.

Kenya Katonah Education Exchange JJHS

Learn more in The Katonah Lewisboro Times and at News12 Westchester.

Kakenya’s reflection on the visit affirms the special bond KCE shares with our community:

“The girls had a wonderful time and they learned so much. They really felt your community’s embrace… Thank you for loving these girls and working so hard to give them the education and opportunities that they deserve.”

Please help us continue to support these incredible girls and their classmates by making a gift today. Donate now.

First Annual Paddle Tournament

 The first annual women’s paddle tennis tournament on February 15 was a smashing success!  A full roster of two dozen players hit the courts at the beautiful Waccabuc Country Club to score points for girls’ education.  Through registration donations and raffle ticket purchases, these amazing women contributed more than $1,900 to support our eighth grade girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Way to go!!

We had such a good time playing paddle, chatting around the fire and catching up with old and new friends!

A special shout-out to Richard Finn, John Assumma, Kris Fenton, Vivian Song, Becky Hjerpe, and Irene Marks for their generosity in helping to make this event possible.

Fundraising Milestone Keep Girls In School

Extraordinary Milestone for KEEP!

Thanks to your support, KEEP has reached an extraordinary milestone: We have now raised more than $50,000 for the Kakenya Center for Excellence! All of your donations – large and small – have added up to produce an enormous impact. Because of your generosity, 37 girls at KCE have received full annual tuition from KEEP since our partnership began in 2014. Not only have these girls pursued their dream of education, they have also been protected from child marriage and FGM. Together, we are making real and powerful change!

And here’s an even bigger number: Since KEEP’s inception in 2011, we have raised nearly $100,000 for girls’ education!

During our first four years working with Apne Aap in India, KEEP contributed more than $44,000 to fund educational programs for over 130 girls at risk of child marriage and sex trafficking. What we can achieve when we join forces is truly astounding.

As we move forward into the New Year, our girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence start eighth grade, growing in knowledge, skills and maturity. They are the future leaders of their community. We are incredibly proud of them.

Please KEEP your gifts coming to ensure our girls’ continued success in 2018!

Donate today

JJMS starts KEEP club!

Tremendous news! A group of John Jay Middle School students have formed a new club, Students Supporting KEEP, under the guidance of faculty advisor Laura Atwell.

After learning about the many benefits of educating girls around the world, these students modeled their idea for a club on the Students for KEEP club at John Jay High School. Now both middle and high schoolers are raising their classmates’ awareness of the need to educate at-risk girls, one of the most important issues facing our world today.

“Did you know that one of the best ways to fight climate change is to keep girls in school?” asks Students Supporting KEEP on the flyer announcing their first meeting. Surprised? According to research cited in Drawdown, a new book edited by green entrepreneur Paul Hawken, the education of girls ranks #6 on the list of the top 80 solutions for reducing greenhouse gases.

Educated girls:

  • Curb population growth by having fewer babies
  • Earn higher wages and realize greater upward mobility
  • Have lower rates of maternal mortality
  • Have healthier babies
  • Are less likely to marry as children or against their will
  • Have lower incidence of HIV/AIDS and malaria
  • Have more productive agricultural plots and better nourished families

What better reasons do we have to support our girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence? Let’s follow the lead of our JJMS and JJHS students! Make your donation today.

Social Activism Keep Girls in School

Sharing KEEP’s mission in Byram Hills

On May 3rd, KEEP board members Ruthie Rosenberg and Cynthia Braun presented KEEP’s work to freshmen at Byram Hills High School as part of the VOX Summit, a conference designed to introduce students to ways they can make a difference in both their local community and around the world. Through a slideshow and discussion, the students learned about Kakenya Ntaiya’s personal journey to found the Kakenya Center for Excellence and how KCE has transformed the lives of girls in Enoosaen, Kenya. The students asked thoughtful questions that demonstrated their desire to engage in social activism. KEEP thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to share KEEP’s mission with local youth. Learn more about the VOX Summit:

Materials brought by KEEP, the Katonah Education Exchange Program, supporting the Kakenya Center for Excellence, a boarding school that educates and protects at-risk girls in Kenya.