Greenland Girls’ staff and students pose with visitors at the school – Photo courtesy GGS’s Facebook page
A school for teen mothers in Kenya’s Kajiado County, Greenland Girls School, has received a boost in publicity and numerous pledges of support after journalist and JHR trainee Moraa Obiria interviewed its founder and CEO Purity Gikunda. Obiria and her co-author Charles Wanyoro met Gikunda at a roundtable organized for civil society organizations by JHR’s Canada World: Voice for Women and Girls’ Rights (VWGR) program.
In their article published in Nation Africa on July 23, Obiria and Wanyoro describe the culture of discrimination against teenage mothers in mainstream Kenyan schools. Teachers adopt a hostile attitude towards students with children despite the enactment of national policies supporting their education. In their article, Obiria and Wanyoro highlight Greenland Girls as a rare, special school that “offers hope to teenage mothers”.
Gikunda says that JHR’s VWGR project has opened up avenues for her organization to directly engage the media, while developing her own capacity to promote the school and gain support from her community:
“I thank VWGR for inviting me to their training and other events. I can tell you these opportunities have been very useful for my work and the entire organization, which didn’t receive any media coverage before. The trainings were a good opportunity for me to network. I got to interact with journalists; we exchanged contacts.
“I was very happy when two journalists I met in the roundtable called to interview me about my school where we educate pregnant and teen mothers. So I was interviewed by the journalist and seeing an article published in a leading newspaper [like] the Daily Nation was a joy. There was even more joy when I started receiving calls from organizations and individuals who pledged to support my school because we depend on donations to educate the girls and [care] for their babies. I have already received a call that soon we will get sanitary pads donated to us. All of this is happening because of the Nation story.”
Gikunda says the school’s intake has also increased: “Many parents have started bringing their girls who are pregnant or gave birth to our school. I am happy they got to know there is a school that could give them a chance to continue with their education after early motherhood. The community is also very supportive [after] the article created awareness about our existence and our work to give young girls a chance to get education. We are still receiving a lot of inquiries and I am really happy that the visibility we got from the Nation has been more than a blessing for us.”