We are BE EDUCATED NOW. Fully aware of the role girls play in society, we dedicate ourselves to giving our undivided support to girls in Kenya. Through access to education, we provide life-changing opportunities to the many girls who have long been denied this basic right by society. Our mission is guided by principles and motivated by the six core values mentioned below.
Women are the bearers of the greatest responsibilities, yet the right to information, resources and freedom of action they need to perform these noble responsibilities is denied to them. Currently, women in Kenya do the vast majority of agricultural work and generate the majority of the food for the society. Yet they earn only a portion of the income generated and own an insignificant percentage of assets. The effect is severe, with nearly 40 percent of households run solely by women, and, because of a lack of fair income, nearly all these homes suffer from poverty or extreme poverty. Girls are subjected to female genital mutilation which leaves girls vulnerable, leading to early marriage and victimization.
Women have been under-represented in leadership positions in Kenya. Currently, women make up only 15% of the positions in Kenyan politics. Women have been ignored in the top ranks of leadership to the point that their contributions to the advancement of this nation remain forgotten. Countless excuses have been presented to explain the lack of participation, from lack of resources, to the social construct skewed to the advantage of men, tribal/geographical and ethnic issues, and retrogressive cultural practices. But it is evident that a poor literacy level among women is the greatest culprit. Education for girls is the only lasting solution.
We, the Be Educated Now team, have immense gratitude for our existence. Our success and achievements could not be what they are if it were not for the stakeholders in B.E.N.
We firstly express our gratitude to our donors. However great our mission could be, our success could be futile. Our donors came to partner with us because they cared for the girls we care about. They believe we are making a difference. This is because they value our work and support us in changing the lives of girls and women.
The girls will have a bright future because of the caring board of directors. Your help has touched not only the lives, but the hearts, of these little ones. Your wisdom and undying dedication to pilot us to great heights can’t be fully appreciated. It is true that B.E.N will forever shine courtesy of your dedication. The imprints of love they have left in the hearts of the young ones will never be erased, not even by the passing of time.
The staff at B.E.N has made us an undivided unit. The sacrifice and wholehearted self giving to the girls has made them who they are. The refined skills shared have taken the organization to a higher level. The brilliant talents of the staff make B.E.N a light on a hill. The noticeable mark left by this great team will live to be remembered.
Not forgetting our reason for existence, the wonderful young girls. The fulfillment in our hearts would never come true if it were not for your presence in B.E.N. The satisfaction, joy and sense of pride B.E.N gets come from the smiles on these beautiful princesses. The appreciation from their hearts fuels our need to go the extra mile. The obedience, cooperation and respect they display are a clear indication of the treasure B.E.N has for the future.
The strong unity B.E.N has is like a tower standing tall amidst a raging flood. Forever we shall stand as we face tomorrow with courage.
The triumph of every athlete is vivid when a race is won and a trophy awarded. The existence of BEN could be in vain if there are no cited examples of the success stories from its conception.
A young brilliant girl is born in the depth of a Kenyan village. Celebrations and jubilations as the tiny girl open her beautiful little eyes, as innocent as she was, oblivious to the fact that she had just landed in a poverty stricken family. The only and most precious treasure she found in this family was love that could not be quantified.
Her growing life was challenging since good schools were only a bundle of dreams on the horizon. Countless are the days her parents could not get sleep, wondering where to get money to pay her school fees. They sacrificed sweat and blood, seeing the potential in this bundle of joy, in Baby Catherine. Poverty had greatly threatened her to go to school hungry.
Her strong will to succeed was greatly inspired by her father who always whispered in her little ears “Keep on going my princess; Education is the only thing that can free us from poverty and slavery” One fateful morning the encouraging father was no more, bringing her misery to a climax. Amidst all the confusion and tears, only one thing kept ringing in her mind “Education is the only thing that can free us from poverty and slavery”.
Through hardship and support from well wishers, the girl completed her high school education. Though the challenges in her college education were greater than the past high school challenges, the dream sparked by her father kept her going. In her heart, the determination was to succeed in education and brighten another girl from the village, restoring a smile faded by poverty.
The grown up Catherine got admission to a college abroad after high school. It was from the help of neighbors, friends and relatives that she managed to go and study. She owes her great dream to her inspiring father whose powerful words have seen her through education and her family out of poverty. Catherine never forgot the society that saw her through by supporting her in education. As a sign of gratitude and appreciation, Catherine decided to come back home and offer an opportunity to a girl who might be in a situation similar her own. She created an educational foundation called Be Educated Now a name derived from her most inspiring person; her father BEN, to whom this project is dedicated.
From her story, B.E.N believes many more success stories can be conceived by helping young girls acquire dreams through education in BEN schools. It is a center of multiplying the story of Catherine into many other success stories through educating the young girls of Kenya. This is because educating a girl is educating the whole community and the nation.
The greatest fuel to the success of BEN has been the aspect of respect. This value has been a reality in everything we do, having realized the value that was in the words of Jesus when he said, “Do unto others what you would like them do unto you.” We at BEN first realized how unique and noble we are among ourselves and society. We also recognized the dignity there is in every living human being.
Young or old, rich or poor, everyone deserves dignity and respect. All around us are the vulnerable, timid and innocent girls in the villages, radiating with brilliance but with no chance to acquire quality education. In the eyes of BEN, we see not the shy girl but a Doctor, a Lawyer, a Pilot and a CEO of a prestigious company. All this potential is too loud to be ignored, which gives BEN the justified reason to pursue its course.
It is a fundamental principle that when a woman is educated, there is order not only in the home but in society and the nation at large. This is well orchestrated by a few examples of women who have brought great reforms to our society. Hon. Martha Karua brought great reforms in the government and spearheaded many important bills like the bill providing the road map for the drafting of the new constitution. Lady Justice Hon. Njoki Ndung’u introduced the famous Sexual Offence Act 2006. These great ladies will always be remembered in the entire history of our country because someone sacrificed and took these girls to school. These are just a sample of what dignity duly given to a girl can do.
The words of John Gray sound very true to us as we remember when he said “When men and women are able to respect humanity, then love has a chance to blossom.” – This has been our greatest motivator since we believe everyone has something to offer only if respect can be given when due. It does not cost much to offer respect to girls, but it pays a thousand fold.
The most unique aspect of BEN is the fact that it is not just a school but a home. It is a safe place, a place where one is free from attack, a place where one experiences secure relationships and affirmation. It’s a place where people share and understand each other. Its relationships are nurturing. At BEN, one does not need to be perfect; instead, one needs to be honest, loving, supportive, and recognize a common humanity that makes all of us vulnerable. This is because there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all. But at BEN we give it all. Love is so supremely important. We believe in the words of the great poet Auden, who said, ‘Love each other or perish’.”
The homes from which the girls come from may be homes in which their happiness or misery is decided. For most of them the hopes of their future have collapsed. We are the bridge that allows these girls to re-enter the world after a loss. After life has shown them its hard concrete nature, we receive them with much gentle softness. We have decided to be a pillow and take it happily as our responsibility to shed sunshine on their path, to lighten their sorrows by the balm of sympathy, to give them the pure joy of a never-tiring affection, to strengthen failing courage, to instill faith in times of despair. As a team, we have made it our life pattern to encourage, lift and strengthen one another. This is because we believe that positive energy spreads from one to many; for we are connected, one and all. This because as Benard Kelvin said, “Life is a wall, you have to climb it by pushing others to climb over and you will be pushed as well.
We, the BEN community, believe giving young girls an opportunity to achieve their goals and succeed in life is a moral responsibility. This includes making smart investments in quality programs for those who are willing to work for their achievements.
Many girls have opportunities to study and excel in their studies but there are many more that don’t have that opportunity, no matter how much they are craving for one. Studies have shown that children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are given the opportunity to participate in early childhood education programs will score better on standardized tests, and have higher rates of high school graduation and lower rates of incarceration. Among such children, there are also fewer incidents of teen pregnancy, longer marriages, and much higher employment rates.
That is why we at BEN believe that the future success of young girls rests on the foundation of a good education and healthy environment that begin at an early age. By investing in girls’ education programs, we are ensuring that the children, regardless of economic circumstances, have an opportunity to reach their full potential.
We believe in equal chances for every one, since many dreams go unfulfilled because someone was not given an opportunity. We currently are celebrating one of our own girls, Lupita Nyong’o. She is an inspiration to many young girls due to the opportunity she got to study at the Yale School of Drama. “No matter where you come from, or your background, your dream is valid”
Every dream has the potential to be realized only if an opportunity can be given to the dreamer. And that is why we at BEN believe that each individual is equal, and everyone deserves the same chance in this world. That is why we are providing this opportunity for girls to develop the crucial academic, physical, spiritual and social skills that will help to determine their future.
Thank you so much BEN because if you didn’t help me for my study, I wouldn’t be able to learn on how to read and write.