Mayfair and the Masai Mara are a world apart but on November 9 City executive Sonal Kadchha, 35, brought them together with the ambition to save the girls of that remote African region from being sold off to husbands 5 times a old as themselves a for cattle, and much, much worse.
Kadchha has somehow managed in her ‘spare time’, aside from her work for an international finance service group, to build a secondary school 7000 miles away in the remote part of Kenya that now educates 72 girls, through the charity she founded Educating The Children (ETC).
It has taken two years, £130k and many, many hours building the trust of local organisations to make it happen. The local government has donated Ksh2million (approx. £16,000) for the building of a science laboratory which is a mandatory part of the curriculum for Form 2 students.
Kadchha explains: “Without the secondary school ‘leaving’ certificate, the majority of Masai children have no access to jobs, and are therefore powerless to shape their own future. Sending children off to far reaching secondary schools is expensive for many families, and so boys are prioritized for school whilst girls are married off for cattle, a form of ‘currency’ in the Masai Mara.”
It is the knowledge that without this vital education the girls are vulnerable to abuse, rape and early marriage that keeps Kadchha focussed and is driving her ambition to raise a further £40,000 to double the intake of the school by building another dormitory.
“Dormitories are more than just a place to crash…they are a safe haven. They provide a girl protection from hard labour, rape, female genital mutilation (FGM), childhood marriages, and attacks from wild animals and dehydration as children walk the average five hour round trip to school and back,” says Kadchha.
The fundraising gala dinner, complete with Masai Mara dancers, at Mayfair’s Savile Club raised more than £25,000 towards the £40,000 needed., Guests will be able to bid to buy the long shopping list of essentials needed for the dormitory, from bags of cement, to taps, to solar power panels to mattresses and beds.
Kadchha says: “Over the past 4 years we have raised over £130,000 to build a double dormitory, two classrooms, a washroom, a teachers house and an office. By mobilising the local government and community, we have been able to make the school operationally sustainable. ETC is a purely volunteer run organisation, and volunteers actually even cover their own costs. This means that over 95% of the money donated to us goes directly towards building high quality, sustainable structures which will educate at least one generation, if not more, of Masai girls."
Donations towards the cost of the dormitory can be made by visiting http://www.etceducation.org/
:Or email Sonal at firstname.lastname@example.org