COBMEX® is proud to support the Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF), whose goal is to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced early marriage in Kenya. PCF is a non-profit organization that performs this work through a variety of life-changing educational workshops, sports activities, educational sponsorships, and the sewing program. In previous years, COBMEX® had sponsored PCF’s Annual Youth Tournament (which is on hold during COVID) and is pleased to have donated sewing machines for their ongoing Sewing Project. Through the Sewing Project, PCF has provided seven sewing machines to Women’s Groups in Kenya which gives them the ability to sew their own clothing and generate new income. PCF is aligned with COBMEX®’s Sustainable Development Goals of Gender Equality, Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
In Samburu County, 51% of the population is 14 years of age or younger. The boy’s enrollment rate for school is at 84.4% whereas, for girls, it is at 71.8%. PCF’s Educational Sponsorship Program creates opportunities for disadvantaged young girls to obtain their education, realize their goals, and reach their dreams. PCF states that “Educated girls are more likely to stay in or near their communities and become mothers who encourage their children to go to school. Quality girls’ education empowers by giving them choices, alleviates poverty, and yields great returns in socioeconomics, health, population, and politics. Education (has been shown to) lead to increased income for the girls themselves, but also for nations as a whole.” COBMEX®’s student sponsorship donation provides for everything the student needs to attend school and successfully complete their school year. To be granted the Student Sponsorship, the girls and their families are educated about the harmful effects of FGM and must agree to not undergo this traditionally harmful practice.
Sponsored PCF Student – Camilla
COBMEX® is privileged to sponsor Camilla, a smart and ambitious 17-year-old girl from Wamba, Samburu East, who loves to dance and read novels. “The grade I got in high school helped to change community perceptions that women are born only to be married when they are young,” Camilla said.
She has big aspirations and wants to become a medical doctor and surgeon, “to lobby for more health facilities in villages and come back to work in Samburu County. My fellow girls and I face big challenges. The few healthcare facilities that exist in town often neglect the villages in rural areas. Women also face treacherous terrain before they can reach them.” Camilla further shared that in her community, “healthcare is a mirage. There are few, and I might even say only one or zero female medical officers in Samburu County. Where I was born, I saw expectant mothers in different villages giving birth in ‘manyattas’ (Traditional Samburu houses), with no healthcare facilities in or around these villages. It is painful to see women from villages continue to deliver babies in unhygienic conditions. I want to shine and show our people to not assume these leadership roles and careers to be only for men, but for women too.”
Sponsored PCF Student – Lilian
“Access to education is a human right, and we are grateful to be able to support Camilla through her education,” says Phil Newman, COBMEX® President. “Giving back to the community, locally and globally, has always been an important value at COBMEX®, and I am happy to personally support PCF by sponsoring a second student.” Lilian is a 17-year-old orphan who now lives with her aunt, enjoys frisbee, basketball, and running. Lilian earned high marks in her national examinations and wants to study electronic engineering, a subject that is rarely studied by female students in Samburu. She wants to prove that “girls have the knowledge and capability to pursue unique courses like other girls are doing around the world.” In her hometown of Baragoi, the government never connected the villages to electricity, and as a result, she has witnessed tragic events including a death in her family. By seizing this educational opportunity, Lilian wants to use her knowledge to lobby for electrical connectivity to rural villages and help to stop this insecurity at the grassroots level.
Camilla and Lilian are just two of many young high achievers who have benefitted from PCF’s Educational Sponsorship Program. Sayydah Garrett, Founder and President of PCF, spoke with COBMEX® and said that an opportunity like this is often like “the light at the end of the tunnel…it changes her life forever. Sponsorship saves a girl from an early marriage and from being cut (FGM).” The young girls that are selected have good grades and show strong leadership skills, and this education equips them to become the changemakers and leaders of tomorrow. “Giving them the opportunity to be educated helps them to achieve their dreams!” Sayydah exclaims. “Education gives them access to the world so that they can be a part of the global community while still retaining and preserving the beautiful aspects of their culture.”
We wish Camilla and Lilian all the success in their schooling and future endeavors. COBMEX® has been a proud supporter of PCF since 2016. To learn more about PCF and their initiatives, watch this video and visit their website to make a donation.