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Committed to empowering disadvantaged women and girls by providing them with quality education, spiritual guidance and emotional care.
BEN Pty Ltd- Australia is a partner for Project J882N Be Educated Now (BEN) with Global Development Group (ABN 57 102 400 993), an Australian NGO approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (as administered by DFAT).
Tax deductible receipts for gifts over $2 with a preference for this approved development project will be issued by Global Development Group for project J882N. Excess funds may be directed to another approved activity. For more information please visit www.globaldevelopment.org.au
Global Development Group takes responsibility for the project, providing a governance role and assisting in the areas of planning, monitoring, and evaluation to ensure that the project is carried out to Australian requirements.
Kenyan woman Catherine Methu had a dream: to establish a school for young girls in her homeland, Kenya. Catherine, now living in Australia, wanted to give these precious girls the education they need and deserve but that, unfortunately, is beyond their reach. Catherine was one of the lucky ones. She was able to receive a quality education in Kenya and go on to succeed as a businesswoman in Australia. But she wouldn’t have any of the success she enjoys today if it weren’t for one amazing man. Her father. Ben.
Benjamin Methu was born in Dagoretti, an area west of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi when it was still under British rule. “Ben” grew up there as the middle child of six siblings and remained close to his mother. The family earned money by farming cows for milk, as well as goats. Ben was lucky enough to attend a private school in Kenya where his mind and talents were nurtured. He finished school at age 16 but he had an entrepreneurial streak. His desire was to start his own landscaping and construction business. With an interest in gardening and the great outdoors in general, Ben decided his business would be in landscaping and construction. He won work bids sub-contracting to the new independent government and used those opportunities to turn his fledgling business into something much more substantial in just three years. Over time, he was able to hire several employees and buy his own business trucks.
Ben’s business flourished nicely for years, keeping food on his extended family’s table. But several years down the road, Ben’s health took a turn for the worse. He was forced to sell his beloved business and his mother was left with no choice but to return to farming to make ends meet.
When his business was at its peak, Ben’s main desire was to use his earnings to ensure his younger sister and his nephews were schooled properly. Ben enjoyed a solid education himself and he knew that education was the foundation of a successful future. Unfortunately though, Ben’s own children were born well after his business had been sold and at a time when money was very hard to come by. Instead of letting an opportunity pass his children by, Ben used his iron will and his gift of gab to convince the local school’s head teachers to enroll his oldest daughter Catherine. He eventually got all of his four children enrolled in school. As a passionate believer in the power of education, Ben would often go to bat for any worthy local children, debating with and eventually convincing the head teachers to take these children into their school if he believed they were studious enough and would thrive on the opportunity.
Years and years past but Ben’s health problems persisted and worsened. Ben insisted his eldest daughter Catherine (age 19) travel to Australia to further her education and have a real chance at life. While the announcement shocked Catherine and the family, Ben had been discussing the advantages of an Australian university education with his friends and contacts and had even arranged to get the application forms. With no money behind Catherine or the family, and with Ben getting sicker and sicker all the time, Catherine had no idea about this foreign land her father spoke of. She was unsure it was the right decision. But her father’s mind was made up. Ben was determined to give everything he could for his daughter. He saw her potential and didn’t want the disadvantages of her Kenyan homeland to hold her back.
Ben relentlessly arranged fundraisers in his local community and sold items to raise money. Bit by bit their savings grew. It took him two long years to pull together the funds required to send Catherine overseas – but he did it.
With little more than $60 in her wallet and a suitcase filled with clothes and a steadfast determination to do her best at university for the sake of her dying father, 21-year-old Catherine boarded a flight to Australia.
She spent years studying during the days and working through the nights. She went on to complete a university degree and built a happy and successful Australian life for herself because of her studies.
Years later, an ailing Ben was even able to send Catherine’s brother out to Australia to follow in his big sister’s footsteps. Catherine went on to marry an Australian man, and at the age of 28, had her first child. Sadly, within weeks of his granddaughter’s joyous birth, Ben’s health plummeted. He died shortly after he became a grandfather. Devastated, Catherine drew upon Ben’s steadfast determination and knew that an education could free her entire family. She sponsored her brothers and sister in order for them to come to Australia.
Catherine would not be where she is if it weren’t for her father’s insistence on her education. She broke the poverty cycle for herself and her family. Now Catherine is driven to take the memory of her father one step further and build a girls’ school in her homeland, Kenya. With your help Catherine can bring education to the young girls who need it most.
“Ben, my father, once said to me that education was the only thing that would free us from slavery and give us freedom,” Catherine said. “He had a big heart for children. People always said that about him. Now as a mother of two beautiful children, I have Ben’s passion to help kids in the same situation that I was in – a Kenyan child from poor parents whose life can be turned around by giving them an education.”
Catherine began to fulfill her dream to educate young girls. While the vision of the school was easy, its name was even easier. Be Educated Now, or B.E.N. for short… A fitting memorial to the man for whom an education was everything.
Catherine Methu is the founder of BE EDUCATED NOW (B.E.N.), a foundation benefiting young girls who are determined and dedicated to overcoming poverty and the cultural beliefs that prevent many Kenyan girls from receiving the education they deserve.
Catherine Methu was a 21-year-old stranger in a foreign land the day she first landed in Brisbane in 2001. With little more than $60 in her wallet, a suitcase filled with clothes and a steadfast determination to gain an education, the Kenyan woman spent years studying during the days and working through the nights. She went on to complete a university degree and built a happy and successful Australian life for herself as a result of her studies. Catherine even married an Australian man and the pair now have two adorable children.
Catherine knows she owes her happy new life to her father, Ben, whose dream was for Catherine and her siblings to receive an education. While sending his eldest child away to another country was one of the hardest things Ben would have to do in life, he raised enough money and sent his beloved first-born off on an unknown journey to a strange country. Ben knew that by sending Catherine to Australia, he was giving her the life he could not give her in their African homeland.
Even though Ben died, his passion burns brightly today. Catherine’s dream is to pay her father’s kindness forward and take education to the underprivileged children of Kenya. She would love nothing more than to build and complete a girls’ school in Kenya in honour of her late father. The first of many will be a boarding school constructed by the local trades people and assisted by volunteers through Australian philanthropy and building expertise. Each B.E.N. school will be operated by local Kenyan ‘house mothers’, with an Australian management team supporting and guiding them. Each school will be sponsored by Australian and international businesses, bringing material goods and, most importantly, education and skills to a new generation of girls who will grow up sharing those skills with their families for the ongoing betterment of the country.
A group of Brisbane businesswomen has rallied behind Catherine, each wanting to volunteer their services and expertise to help her realise her dream to honour her father. The project has been named ‘Be Educated Now’ or B.E.N. for short. While B.E.N. has been a vision in Catherine’s mind for some years, it will soon become reality with the support of like minded businesses and individuals like yourself.