PHOTO SERIES: Meet the students of Kakenya Center for Excellence

PHOTO SERIES: Meet the students of Kakenya Center for Excellence

Kakenya Ntaiya’s mission to ensure girls in her community never have to endure FGM has inspired the world. This week, as part of her curation for ONE Girls and Women, Kakenya has been sharing photos of her mission in action featuring the students of Kakenya Center for Excellence.

All photos courtesy of Sofia Wittert and captions provided by Kakenya Center for Excellence.

These photos of our students at school seem ordinary, but the story behind Masaai girls attending school is quite extraordinary. Today we have 183 4th-8th graders at our boarding school and are supporting and mentoring 55 high school girls who have graduated from our program.

According to the Kenyan government, only 11% of Maasai girls in Kenya finish primary school. Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) is changing these trends.


55 KCE alumnae are now excelling in high schools throughout Kenya. Our Network for Excellence program provides support for our graduates through mentorship, training, and scholarships throughout their high school experience.


At KCE the girls carry water, clean dorms, and wash dishes as part of their educational experience. In many communities, girls are expected to do chores, but are not given the opportunity to learn.


All KCE students receive full uniforms. Our uniforms give our girls a sense of community within the school and create an atmosphere of belonging.


Each day all our girls participate in an afterschool run followed by group stretching and games. At KCE, we understand the relationship between learning and play, and we understand the importance of supporting the whole child—physically and intellectually. Though the terrain is rough and sometimes muddy, the girls look forward to the end of the school day when they get to release all that energy and enthusiasm.


All 183 students at KCE live on campus. This is a tremendous benefit to our girls. It provides a safe space for them to live and study and gives them greater access to teachers and more hours to focus on schoolwork. For many of the girls our campus is the first safe home they have experienced.


Lasting friendships form at KCE.


We are thankful and inspired by our girls for embracing the gift of education and for believing in themselves.


Our teachers motivate, inspire and engage our students to uncover their true potential and reach for their dreams.


For many of our girls, this is the first time they experience a network of friendship and have the opportunity to just be girls.  We recognize the difficult background they can come from: poverty, cultural expectations, and unsafe learning environments. We strive to create a healthy environment that is conducive to learning and growing.


Like children everywhere, our students love playing in the rain.


KCE is enabling students to visualize a different future. The girls are witnessing achievement and it is igniting their own passions.


100% of our students have avoided FGM and early forced marriage. Parents that enroll their daughters at KCE must sign a pledge that they will not continue these harmful and illegal practices.

Join our movement!

For more of Kakenya Ntaiya’s curation picks visit our Girls and Women page.


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