Friends of the Girl Child Network
Empowering girls in Kenya to lead and learn
The number of Kenyan girls attending school has never been higher!
For years, many girls have gone to primary school, and now secondary schools, colleges, and universities are admitting and graduating girls at record rates.
However, girls with disabilities are still often excluded from the public education system.
Gaps in medical, educational, and social referral systems can get in the way of girls attending school. Right now, over 25% of children with disabilities in Kenya do not attend school—and that’s a conservative estimate.
We are working to ensure that “girls’ education” extends to girls with disabilities.
By partnering with local public schools, the Ministry of Education, local social workers, and other groups, we are helping close these gaps. We are preparing girls with disabilities to attend school, and also to live meaningful lives in their communities.
Friends of the Girl Child Network exists to break down barriers that exclude girls and children with disabilities from school and community life in Kenya.
We believe in two things more than anything else: the power of parents advocating for their children, and the power of a strong public education system. When parents have the knowledge and tools they need to find the best educational resources for their children, and when public schools are equipped to support students from all backgrounds and with all abilities, large-scale social change happens!
We work with our local partner, Girl Child Network, to support families, sponsor children, and train teachers. Girl Child Network has been doing this important work in Kenya since 1998, and has a track record of working collaboratively with everyone from government agencies to local women’s groups.
We are currently working with a public primary school whose students come from two underserved communities in Nairobi. The Ministry of Education’s special education coordinator for the neighborhood asked if we could support the school to provide more comprehensive services for students who have special needs. We start by working with local social workers and government officials to identify children with disabilities who are out of school. We then walk families through enrolling their children in a school that can meet their needs—often our partner school.
At the school, we have hired two highly trained and passionate Kenyan teachers who provide special education services to all students who need them. This ranges from intensive early intervention services to full inclusion with some extra support, depending on the child’s needs. They teach everything from using a toilet to multiplying two digit numbers! We are also working to provide a wide variety of instructional and sensory materials for the school. So far, we have bought school supplies for students (paper! pencils! glue!), appropriate math and literacy programs to guide the teachers’ instruction, manipulatives to make learning more hands-on and meaningful, and sensory toys especially for our students on the autism spectrum.