Yesterday we had a great day selling tea on the Manhattan Beach pier and we would like to say thank you to everyone that listened to a single word we had to say about our story. Even though not everyone is always willing or able to help, jus being able to share what we are trying to do better educates the public of a major problem through the world: lack of girls education. We are greatly appreciative to everyone that gave donations or purchased tea, in the one day we were able to cover a full year's tuition for one of our girls abroad. I, Siobhan, was selling tea with the help of my amazing friend Bella Wright, and let me just say thank you so much to her. She is someone never afraid to approach a stranger and simply exudes the best energy, perfect for inspiring people to help us with our cause. In asking someone to give, many are reluctant because they initially think that they will be losing something, but more often than not, in giving you are able to receive more than you could have thought. Who doesn't feel great when giving someone a gift they know they love, so why not give a gift that can never truly be repaid: the gift of education. You cannot image how much these girls will be able to benefit from this education. Thank you again to everyone who listened and please, please share our story because who doesn't to support girls education?
Although it may seem crazy to many of us, there are still some people in the world asking, "Why should a girl be educated?" I'm here to provide some reasons why. Education not only creates intelligent people who are better prepared to go into the workforce, but establishes a foundation for every aspect of one's life. I am a part of Model United Nations at my school and in my past few conferences my committees have dealt with human rights issues and protection of natural resources. In discussion of these crises we get to hear from numerous bright, young minds of possible solutions, one of the most common overarching solutions is education. Education provides a platform for not only teaching the public the "core curriculum" of writing, math, science, and history, but is also a way to inform the population of major issues in their society. These issues can range from environmental problems to health issues to governmental issues and when the public is educated, they are more inclined to be involved in the issues; learning from the mistakes of the past so they may be able prevent them in the future. For these advantages to take place, you can not have only half of the population being put through schools. Educating women leads to a smaller wage gap between men and women and educating girls decreases the amount of deaths in childbirth. There are so many reasons to explain why girls deserve education, but asking why girls should get an education is almost like asking why we breathe... it is vital.
Shortly following the celebration of the International Day of the Girl, a 100% youth led movement for gender justice and youth activism, we would like to connect our mission to the movement spreading the nation. October 11th is the International Day of the Girl with the mission of “[helping] galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential." The movement tackles obstacles including education, rape culture, reproductive justice, relationship abuse, and many more. We share a similar goal of the movement: emPOWER girls and raise awareness for their rights and unique issues they must go through. One major issue that has been continuing to gain more attention is the issue of the large amount of uneducated girls in the world Almost a quarter of a million young women in developing countries have never completed primary school and lack the skills to work, but educated women have a HUGE impact on society. Educated women are less likely to die in childbirth, less likely to have children at an early age, less likely to get married at a young age, more likely to find work, and educating women narrows the gender wage gap. Through Kupatia we take inspiration from the International Day of the Girl in our strive to aid girls so they too have these better opportunities, not only for themselves, but to impact their communities and families.
As of this moment, we have $1,534 to pay in tuition fees before the end of December, meaning it is time to really lock down and Sell! Sell! Sell! Over the past weekend we packaged and shipped 300 bags out to New York for "big sis" to continue her support toward our girls while she is out in college. While going through this process I reached out to ask for a few helping hands and was reminded of a story my father once told me titled The Little Red Hen, during which the Red Hen asks friends to aid her in her work and time and time again they turn her down. This continues until there is a reward to be gained from all of her hard work; all of her friends wish to reap the rewards, but the Hen states that one must work hard to gain rewards. Do not get me wrong I'm not saying I did something extremely strenuous or amazing in my working on packaging and labeling and sealing the tea, but I was exposed to a different side of charity work that is not as often revealed. I do not have any hard feelings in the slightest to those who were not able to assist me in my preparations for selling, but I now realize that you cannot count on all people for all aspects of your life. Although, when you find those who will be there for you no matter the situation, hold on tight because they are a rare commodity in this "New Age" world of selfies and selfishness.
When we began Kupatia, Jecinta and Angelica were in their last Term of Form 4 and about to take their final high school exam, after a challenging four years in high school filled with numerous notices to return back home for lack of tuition fees they sat for the national exam but did not make the cut off to be admitted to a university. They came close and because they are both very driven girls they decided to repeat Form 4 to improve their grades to be able to get into a university. Our mentor, Rosslyn, commended them for their tenacity and for that she decided that it would be a good idea to support them to repeat Form 4 for that one push for them to make a difference in their lives.
Yesterday we had a pop up sale and we were able to sell over $700 worth of tea. This pop up was done at Bard College in New York and sadly didn't have very much preparation to it. I can only imagine how much more could have happened, and the increase in the amount sold if more time had been put into the event on our parts. Although it has been a little over a year since this journey of kupatia began, we are still having to learn from our mistakes. We may not be proud to admit it, but we often get wrapped up in or own lives and overlook those that need our help. It is difficult to constantly be thinking of others, humans are selfish by nature, so we need to be conscious of applying extra effort to this and make sure that more effort is applied. i'm sorry this went a bit off topic but I want to connect it back to the fact that putting in extra effort and time can make a difference and should be taken into consideration. Now we know for next time!
It has been a little while since we have been consistently active on the site giving updates and information to you. There are no excuses for it we have been slipping, no failing. Sometimes I think from failure the best lessons can be learned. I am taking the disappointment in myself and transferring it into fueling the fire of trying to better my own habits. Such as, learning ways to handle rejection. It can be rough facing rejection in situations, but we have to learn that even the strongest people will have to hear the word "no". Rather than taking the rejection and letting it bring you down, utilize it as a motivation and prove those who are doubting you wrong. We are trying to turn ourselves around and do just that. We want to show those that were not willing to see the power and greatness of what we are doing that we are going to make a change in the world. Though it may seem that we are starting small, one person can turn to five then five into to ten, and we can only grow from there!
A common problem that I have come to realize while working with Kupatia is quite shocking... That problem is some people's unwillingness to help. We are thankful to have encountered generous people who are willing to listen to the actions we are doing and contribute by providing donations. Although, there are those who are not as generous, some people have so much, yet are still unwilling to help these girls who have so little. Now, I am not saying that just because you have more in your life means that you are not a person who is willing help others or that you should apologize for having lavish things in your life. We are not to blame for the things we have, life is a game of chance, and some were just luckier in the draw. I am saying that because you have more you should try to do something different. Some people see what we are doing as soliciting, and immediately turn away. We at Kupatia are not doing this for our own benefit, we want to help these girls who struggling to focus in school from the worry that they could be sent home due to their lack of funding. We are using what we have to make a difference.
You may be wondering what's happened to the girls who were in their last term of high school... Well, Jecinta & Angelicah, both took their final high school exam, but unfortunately they didn't get high enough scores to be admitted to university. Basically, without a university grade education, it's almost impossible for someone to get a credible job in Kenya, if not all of Africa. With that being said, we have decided to push Jecinta & Angelicah to repeat Form 4 (aka senior year of high school) so that they can have another shot at being admitted to university. They worked so hard this past year and it's a shame to see their drive and passion be shut down by one defining moment. The thing is, they're so willing to do whatever it takes to get the chance at a better life that if we simply cannot deny them the opportunity at a second chance. Best of luck to these AMAZING girls!
About a month ago, our head advisor, Rosslyn, traveled back to Kenya to continue Kupatia's mission of empowerment. During her travels she met two more girls, Sharon & Karen, who I'm excited to announce will be joining our team in order to sponsor their educational path. These two, much like our five others, house so much potential in their hearts that it's difficult to remember they come lives riddled with pain. Sharon's story, in particular, resonated with me because from afar she appears to go through the same struggles of any "normal" teen... stressed out by school and work etc. But, in reality, she has to handle way more than any person I know. She's constantly under the pressure from her family to appear strong and composed, even when she's dealing with the loss of her father. She speaks of how she looks at her friends who are care-free and having fun, and it just breaks her heart. When I hear of someone having to go through this awful position everyday, it makes me really consider what's going on in my life right now and thank God that I'm lucky enough to have my parents, a home, and a strong educational support system. All I can say is I'm so happy that someone as deserving as Sharon is getting the push to be where she wants in life.