22 Dec 2019: A Year of Transformation
With 2019 coming to a close, we are thrilled to look back on the year and celebrate the dreams and successes our donors have helped make a reality in five Unstoppable communities in the Maasai Mara – Laila, Kipasan, Olmusereji, Chepkebit and now Nderiat. Landscapes have been transformed, lives have blossomed, and a new future has begun to take shape in these pockets of Kenya, giving us enormous cause to be both grateful and joyful, especially during this holiday season!
To kick off our reflection on the accomplishments of the year, we are excited to share that our first class of the Unstoppable Scholars Tourism & Hospitality program, funded by John and Sherry Phelan, graduated from WE college in June. Once facing a bleak future barely surviving day by day, each of these students now look forward to being recognized as industry professionals, certified by the Kenyan government and fully prepared to enter the workforce.
Nipping at the heels of the 1st class of Unstoppable Scholars graduates are four new classes of cohorts — each with the goal of graduating 20 students, who are embarking on 2- and 4-year academic journeys at WE College to study Mechanics, Agriculture, Clinical Medicine and Tourism & Hospitality. These students are learning skills that will entirely change the trajectory of their lives, with curriculum focused on 21st-century science, applications and processes that were once scarce and completely out of reach.
To complement the students’ scholastic pursuits, all Scholars are enrolled in the newly-implemented Unstoppable Leadership Academy (ULA), with the first wave of students recently completing their first course: Foundations for Success. The program equips them with dynamic life skills required to become entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities.
Another highlight of the last 12 months was watching donors who participated in our Friends & Founder trip in June touch down in the Kenyan bush to connect with the villages and Unstoppable Scholars to see the work we are doing together, live and in action.
During the trip, donors had the opportunity to visit the Laila Community, where they had the chance to not only see the Five Pillars established and implemented, but also witness the unveiling of the first ever Unstoppable Community Center, made possible by David Meltzer’s 50 for 50 campaign, which will serve over 2,000 residents. Since we began working in Laila, the village has seen 14 classrooms built serving over 584 children. There are also four women’s groups actively learning how to start and run a business and other enterprising skills.
These villages are filled with young women and men bubbling over with joy for the opportunities that our supporters have made possible; they exhibit a fervent determination to become educated, emotionally intelligent global citizens eager to influence and change the world around them. Together, we are making that happen.
“These villages are filled with young women and men bubbling over with joy for the opportunities that their supporters have made possible…”
But the cherry on top was observing the fulfillment of a life transformed. Late last year we introduced our supporters to 10-year-old Isabelle, from the Chepkebit community.
Isabelle is going to school instead of trekking to the river to collect water. She’s getting a daily nutritious school lunch. Isabelle is thriving!
A short time ago, this young girl would wake herself in the dark every morning to spend the entire day fetching contaminated water. For the sake of her family’s survival she was tasked with walking barefoot along rocky paths, while balancing heavy water-filled jugs, for hours.
Today, Isabelle wakes up excited to attend to school. She feels secure knowing that she has access to water that won’t make her sick and she is strong because she eats hot, nutritious school lunches. Isabelle is thriving! All because our generous donors rallied to help her, and other girls like her.
Freedom to pursue a richer life is a happy by-product of the implementation of the 5-Pillar model, which is also plainly evident in one of our first Unstoppable communities, Emori Joi, where our donors on the Friends & Founder trip experienced a community that has now moved into sustainability.
People are thriving and matriarch Mama Jane has now established herself as the head of a 2,000-member group of women focused on empowerment. Her influence reaches 26 surrounding communities and is born out her own ambition. She is a role model who has worked hard to be one of the first to put electricity in her home – a truly miraculous feat in this part of the world.
“She (Mama Jane) is a role model who has worked hard to be one of the first to put electricity in her home.”
All these accomplishments and so much more would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors. A woman with just a 2nd education has taken the initiative to pursue a better life – in ways she never imagined possible. She is elated to see her children now have the opportunity to attend school (and even college!) and enrich their own lives in ways she could only dream of until recently.
These are just a few snapshots of the many marvels we have witnessed taking place in 2019. Every day is a step in the right direction, every week and month an advancement in imparting the knowledge and tools needed to further impact future generations.
We have much more in store and can’t wait to share with you our vision for the year ahead.
Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year, from the entire Unstoppable team.