The Sunflower has been awarded a 4 year grant
Through a multi-year grant $20,000/year from the Foundation, the Sunflower will be able to support a full cycle of Sunflower Fellows.
The Sunflower Fellows is a unique, four-year leadership development program for primary school and secondary girls studying in the informal schools within the Kibera Slums of Nairobi, Kenya. The organization identifies low-performing young women with low literacy levels, at risk of ending their education early due to academic challenges, and provide them with holistic support daily after school, on the weekends and during the holidays, involving teachers, parents and caregivers to ensure our fellows are developing their academic skills, leadership abilities, and most importantly, self-confidence. After successful completion of the four year fellowship, Sunflower fellows are matched with sponsors and placed in secondary schools, or internships throughout Nairobi, putting them on the path to tertiary education.
The primary and secondary fellows program is a four-year commitment to excellence. During their time at Sunflower, Fellows challenge their minds, bodies and hearts to become the Leaders that their families and communities need. Our LEAD Principles, Love, Education, Action and Discipline, help fellows to personal growth, while our foundation in education and academic success equips our fellows with the literacy and math skills they need to be successful in and out of the classroom. The emphasis on character development, personal accountability, community service and leadership give our Fellows the training they need to be socially conscious leaders today and tomorrow. Daily, Sunflower Fellows come to the Sunflower literacy lab after school, where they participate in academic support sessions, technology labs, literacy support, art, and LEADership sessions. On Saturdays, fellows participate in community service, meetings with their mentors, and extended literacy programs, parent workshops and field trips. Every fellow undergoes counselling sessions at least once a month, writes in a journal, and participates in personal reflection, empathy and meditation sessions; the Sunflower is dedicated to the personal health and well-being of our fellows as a complement to their academic development.
While there a myriad of non-governmental organizations working in Kibera, Kenya, there are no programs that focus on low performing students, specifically young, vulnerable girls, instead, the majority of funding is directed towards programs for students with high grades and test scores. This has created an imbalance, there are opportunities for students that are high-performers, while students with lower academic achievement are left out, and essentially left in, extreme poverty. Girls and young women in Kibera, especially those with low academic performance, face a myriad of additional challenges. 43% of girls and young women in the informal settlement reported that they have traded sex, or sexual acts, for food , while only 1/3 of Kibera’s females ever complete secondary education . Within Kibera, girls are more likely to not attend school, as families are more willing to pay for a boy instead of a girl; for young women and girls that are enrolled in school, they are more likely to have frequent issues with attendance and interrupted learning, as they are called to take care of the home and younger siblings.
Sunflower will not just support individual girls, but families, and the entire Kibera community. Through the education of girls and young women, entire communities flourish. As the Fellows are the most vulnerable, at-risk young women in Kibera, the holistic support they receive is transformative.