CBB administers two hostels in Meru, Kenya that give a home to scholarship girls who have been orphaned, abandoned, physically abused, and/or sexually molested. The hostels are administered as communities where, under the guidance of a matron, the girls care for each other. And all girls, big and small, assist the matron in food preparation and clean-up.
These girls must first heal from their past mistreatment and neglect, and so the hostels provide a structured, disciplined and caring environment, with every little girl being looked after by a big girl. The big girls are expected to be positive role models to the other girls and to put the welfare of the community first. All the girls share their stories with each other--and there is no more effective way of healing than to care for another person who also needs healing.
Many of these girls have not been in school regularly, if at all. Once their psychological healing has progressed, the girls' academic performance improves dramatically, with 20% of the primary school girls now in the top 10% of their class in school. All of these girls are survivors—in overcoming the terrible neglect and mistreatment they have endured these girls have developed strengths that other children do not have.
For a view of hostel life, click here.
Growing their food
CBB makes agricultural land available to the hostel girls on which they can grow their food. School vacations in Kenya come during April, August and December--months when the girls can participate in planting, weeding and harvesting the food they will eat.
Corn and beans are the staple crops. There are two plantings and harvests a year, so the girls have ample opportunity to develop their agricultural skills. The girls very much enjoy the agricultural work--a welcomed break from their academic studies.
One Girl's Story
Winfred is eleven years old and is in the third grade.
Winfred and her sister who were orphans living with their very poor grandmother who was too feeble to care for them plus two cousins, one an infant, whose mother had died. Since Winfred was the oldest of the girls, she had become the “mother” to the other children.
Winfred attended school irregularly as she was kept home to care for her infant cousin and her grandmother. She was two years behind her age-mates at school, and was making poor progress in her studies.
After coming to CBB’s hostel, Winfred steadily improved at school. She is now is at the top of her class and has been chosen to be the class leader. During the school’s mock elections, Winfred was elected both governor and senator. Winfred demonstrates how a girl can make full use of her potential once she is given an opportunity.