Dr. Debra Akre and Jeana King – founders of the Tembo Trading Education Project – participated in June in an important education reform workshop involving members of parliament, members of the Kenyan Ministry of Education, and many local government officials and school administrators focused on the future education strategy in Kenya.
For the past ten years the women have been working hands-on in Kenya to implement their model of education that focuses on teaching young people to do for themselves and not wait for others to determine their future. Their ultimate goal is to educate the nation out of poverty and thus work themselves out of job. Their work has produced results the current education system can only dream of achieving, and is becoming well known across Kenya. As a result, they are the only non-Kenyans attending the meeting of 49 principals and government officials whose purpose is to discuss local education challenges and strategies that will enable Kenya to achieve its future goal of becoming an industrialized middle-class nation by 2030.
“We realize that this could be a difficult time to make another trip to Kenya in light of the violence perpetrated by El Shabab but we believe that this is a unique opportunity to influence the direction that much of Kenyan education will take in the future, and will affect the ability of an entire generation of deprived youth to pull themselves out of poverty and to improve their lives on their own. This is one of the first sessions like this in some time in Kenya, and the opportunity to share their tested model of education is very humbling” said Jeana King.
Akre and King have been awarded the Paul Harris Fellows Award by Rotary International for their work. Their book, Beneath the Baobab Tree by Kris Stevenson, tells their extraordinary work to end poverty.