Dear Friends of GTL,
As I begin my term as president I remember when I first became involved with GTL 12 years ago and the board of directors met in GTL founder Roger Whiting’s living room. Applications from girls hoping to receive a GTL scholarship in East Africa were reviewed around the dining room table; board members and other volunteers in Massachusetts and East Africa did 100% of the work.
Today Executive Director Wanjiku Mwangi runs GTL. Wanjiku brings with her many years of international development experience and a deep understanding of the impact of girls’ education on their lives and their communities. As we expand into the world of social media, both to promote awareness of our work and to stay in touch with GTL graduates, we have tapped the knowledge and creativity of Mercy Kinyodah, who works out of Nairobi. Check our website (growththroughlearning.org) and our updated Facebook page to see Mercy’s work.
Our five in-country coordinators are professional East African educators who volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that GTL supports qualified girls who need our help the most. We anticipate that for 2017 we will award 215 high school scholarships.
While the governments of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania are working to expand access to secondary education, there are still too many girls whose families can’t afford to send them to school. Without an education, it is difficult for these girls to see beyond their lives in villages and urban slums and their options are limited. Uneducated girls represent a huge well of untapped potential and a missed opportunity for their communities and their countries.
What a difference a high school education makes! In another article in this newsletter, GTL board member Kate McIlwain discusses the importance of girls’ secondary education in reducing poverty and promoting sustainable advancement in developing countries. Equally important is the impact of education on the life of the girls themselves.
I wish each of you could meet one of our scholarship recipients and talk with her when she first starts high school. Her voice would be a whisper and she might have difficulty looking you in the eye, overwhelmed as she is at her good fortune in obtaining a scholarship. But speak to her again at the end of her high school experience. Now she has plans and she is happy to tell you about them. She has opinions and wants to share them. She is ready to take control of her life and make her mark on the world.
It is your support that makes it possible for our scholars to unleash the potential inherent in each of them. On behalf of our scholars, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
President of the Board