Rural Kenya is one of the poorest regions in Africa with many families unable to afford to send their children to school. It’s nonprofits like SeaVuria, a girls-led initiative that provides scholarships to support girls in education, which helps those Kenyan children.
Ellie Lande, a senior at Vashon Island High School, is one of the co-presidents of the Girls to Girls chapter of SeaVuria. In middle school, Ellie realized that she was very lucky to have the privilege of education while many young women in the world her age did not.
“This was not something that was a part of my experience,” Lande said. “I have been fortunate to have this privilege of education.”
Created in 2012 by concerned girls at Vashon High School, this group has continued to grow and provide scholarships for girls, as well as select outstanding boys, in Kenya. With a sister chapter in the Mercer Island school district called PETRI (Philanthropy, Education, Teaching, Research and Involvement) SeaVuria is a partnership with an education organization on the ground in Kenya and the Seattle area.
This year, the group of 22 girls, along with the group in Mercer Island, have raised enough funds to provide scholarships to over 70 students in Kenya. At either $300 for day school or $800 for boarding school per student, that is no easy feat. The group of girls is responsible for selecting the students who will receive the scholarships based on grades, community service and personal essays.
This February, Lande, along with six other young women, will be making a self-funded trip to Kenya to meet the girls they have selected for scholarships. Through video calls and correspondence, Lande feels like she knows them and is excited to meet them in person.
“Being able to go and see these people is really exciting for me,” Lande said.
From 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Open Space for Arts & Community, SeaVuria will hold their annual fundraiser, the “Harambee,” which means a community gathering of support and friendship. The fundraiser is the main source of scholarship money for the students in Kenya.
The suggested donation at the door is $5 to $10. Live performances, Kenyan food and personal reflections will be shared. To donate, visit seavuria.org.