A world where African women and girls are valued and respected as leaders and equal in every way.
Our Origin Story
Kakenya's Dream Founder and President, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, is a world-renowned educator and activist for girls' rights who has channeled her own life experiences into creating lasting change both in her indigenous Maasai community in Kenya and across rural Africa.
In the Maasai tradition, women’s only accepted roles in society are as wives and mothers. The majority of girls in her community are forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), a harmful practice considered to be a rite of passage that prepares girls for marriage and marks an end to their education and dreams for their future.
This was supposed to be Kakenya’s path, but she dreamed of a different life. After surviving FGM, escaping child marriage, and negotiating with her father and village elders to stay in school, she became the first woman from her village to attend university in the United States. Kakenya went on to receive a PhD in education and returned home, determined to provide a pathway to education and empowerment for every girl in her community and beyond.
And so, Kakenya's Dream was born.
Our programs operate in southwestern Kenya, one of the most marginalized regions in the country, where 66% of girls undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) at puberty, 50% are married before the age of 19, and 76% do not finish high school.
Kakenya’s Dream has grown up right alongside our students. We began as a single primary school, educating 30 vulnerable girls beneath the shade of a tree. As their needs grew and evolved, so too did our programs.
Today, Kakenya’s Dream operates two world-class boarding schools and several other education, health, and leadership programs that serve thousands across rural Kenya each year. Kakenya’s Dream has evolved into a global team building a replicable model of education and empowerment for underserved African communities.
From quality education to healthcare, community support, career counseling, and leadership training, our wraparound programs provide each girl with a comprehensive support system and skills for the future. Developed and led by our community, our programs nurture and support the whole girl and all of her unique needs from childhood to adulthood, because we believe an educated and well-supported girl has the ability to transform her family, community, and the world at large.
Kakenya's Dream was founded in 2008.2008
Our first school opened its doors to our pioneer students, a class of 30 fourth graders.2009
Kakenya's Dream launched our Health and Leadership Training program.2011
Kakenya's Dream launched the Network for Excellence program for its first class of KCE I graduates as they enrolled in high schools throughout Kenya.2014
Our pioneer class from KCE I graduated from high school and enrolled in collegiate institutions in Kenya and around the globe.2017
Construction began on our second boarding school campus, KCE II.2017
Our second campus opened doors to its first students, a class of 18 ninth graders.2018
Kakenya's Dream celebrated its 10th anniversary and a decade of changing lives.2019
With the support of Lynda and Stewart Resnick of the Wonderful Company, we installed wells at each of our boarding school campuses, providing clean water to over 1,200 students and community members.2020
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kakenya's Dream organized the Angaza Project, distributing over 3,000 care packages to our girls and their families which contained food staples, hygiene products, and distance learning materials. Michelle Obama and Melinda Gates called this effort "innovative."2020
We launched our Linda Dada Campaign ("protect a sister" in Swahili) in response to the alarming increase in unplanned teen pregnancy across Kenya while girls were out of school due to COVID-19.2020
We began the process of building our community's first and only youth-friendly health and wellness clinic and anticipate services will be available in 2023.2021
Our pioneer class at KCE I, who began their education with us as fourth graders in 2009, graduated from university!2021
Bill Gates featured Kakenya's Dream in his Heroes in the Field series.2022