For an exciting second year in a row, KCE I students were given the opportunity to visit the United States!
On February 9, eighth-graders Abbigael, Caroline, Moreene, and Sylvia left Kenya for the very first time to take part in the trip of a lifetime.
New York City
Thanks to our wonderful partners at Whitby School in Greenwich, Connecticut and Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN), our students were able to partake in the 2019 Model United Nations Conference in New York City. Alongside students from the Whitby School, our girls represented North Korea and Kenya in the conference. They met other students from around the world, discussed pressing problems that affect the entire global community, and worked together with peers to draft resolutions about issues ranging from combating cybercrime to protect election legitimacy, to eliminating racism, xenophobia, and intolerance. They prepared for months outside of their ordinary coursework for the experience.
The conference ended with a visit to the United Nations Headquarters for an energizing closing session in the General Assembly Hall, where the resolutions they helped draft over the course of the conference were put to a vote. In just a few days, the girls had made new, life-long friends, learned how to draft powerful resolutions to influence positive change in the global community, and engaged in problem-solving dialogues with peers from around the world.
Of course, a first-time visit to New York City simply isn’t complete without a little sightseeing, so after the conference the girls visited the Empire State Building, toured Times Square, and ate their first New York hot dog! They adored the many screens in Times Square and the breathtaking view from the top of the Empire State Building.
After a few days in New York City, the girls made their way down to Washington D.C. to explore the nation’s capital. They spent a day walking through the National Mall with Kakenya learning about Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King Jr., and the work of these inspiring American icons to create a better, more equal society for all. Visiting their memorials sparked conversation about human rights and being an agent of change in one’s community. The girls impressed everyone with their thoughtful comments and passion for change.
Having only ever known Kenya’s warm year-round climate, the girls were dying to experience their first snowfall during this chilly winter visit to the United States. “We cannot go back to Kenya until we see snow” was a reminder they reiterated daily to Kakenya’s Dream staff. Luckily for them, a quick snowstorm was in the forecast during their week in Washington D.C., and mother nature delivered! They made snow angels, built their first snowman, and of course, had an epic snowball fight.
Meeting Kakenya’s Dream Friends and Supporters
In Washington D.C., the girls had the opportunity to speak out about the importance of girls’ education and empowerment and meet many of their biggest supporters. They participated in a Facebook Live interview with the Global Fund for Children, recorded a podcast with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, sat down to dinner at the home of one of the U.S. board members, and attended a reception in their honor at the National Geographic Society to meet some of the organization’s earliest supporters.
Each of these events gave the girls opportunities to engage with donors and shared how support for their education has changed their lives for good. These interactions were positive, powerful, and passionate.
A Life-Changing Experience
When asked about their trip, the girls raved about the tall buildings, their new friends, their first snowfall, and most of all, about what they are taking home with them.
“I learned about the importance of advocating for equality and justice so that people live free from racism and intolerance. I know I will use what I’ve learned in my future career” says Caroline. For both Caroline and Abbigael, who want to practice international human rights law when they grow up, discussing the importance of equality and human rights on the global stage during the Model UN Conference was a powerful experience.
All of the girls are eager to come back to the United States and are already dreaming up their plans for return. “We all want to go to university in America. Caroline and I will go in Washington D.C. and Moreene and Sylvia will be in New York and we will all visit each other,” says Abbigael of their future plans.