When I met Bea, she was fueled by the hope of building just and gender-equitable societies and undertook fundraising and data management to help our partner SHOFCO grow and reach more vulnerable women and children.
Bea was the person that introduced me to the girls at Margaret's Safe House and was a companion on many adventures in Nairobi. I admire her ability to be so lovingly present with girls and I know she is a strong role model, always looking after their best interests.
Why do you contribute to GOF?
The girls are simply amazing. Whoever meets these girls cannot help but feel inspired by their resilience from great adversity at such tender ages and their eagerness to learn and become leaders.
What makes GOF unique?
While kibera itself is indeed a unique context that shapes gof's uniqueness, i would say the stories of these girls and their aspirations are what will make gof unique. These girls already believe that they have a bright future. Gof is a movement that is fueled by hope and you only need 30 seconds to see that these girls are burning with hope in their hearts.
Tell me about an experience that aligns with GOF mission?
Working with the girls at margaret's safe place (msp) was one of my favorite experiences when i worked at shofco. The first time i met the girls was on thanksgiving day in 2013. The timing could not have been more perfect. I am not american, but thanksgiving is my favorite american holiday. Kenyans did not celebrate it either but that evening i first met with the girls felt like a celebration to me. I happened to be at the safe place to gather information for a report to be submitted to the donor supporting msp (which housed most of our girls on fire at that time). I was a new face, and only a month old in nairobi doing my job as grants & data manager, so these girls were naturally shy towards me. Part of my data-gathering mission that evening was to find out about how the girls' lives have been improved a year after funding and to see what other needs they might have at the shelter. I ended up staying longer than i should. The girls and their housemother rose had asked me to stay for dinner. I sat on the floor and as we ate "ndengu and mchele" (mung beans and rice -- which are my favorites), i asked them about school and i listened to their stories of great adversity in their earlier years, how happy they were to be studying at the kibera school for girls, and their dreams for the future. That made it the best thanksgiving dinner i have ever had and probably will ever have. I was sharing dinner with a few of the bravest souls i could ever encounter in my life -- and for that i was grateful. Even though i am no longer associated with shofco nor based in nairobi, being part of gof allows me to continue supporting these girls.
Bea now does humanitarian work in afghanistan. Although this is one of the most dangerous places in the world, it brings me great joy to know her generous spirit, her strong integrity for humanity and her light-hearted humor is interacting with the good afghan people trying to bring about change in their country. Please keep this amazing girl on fire top of your list for well wishes.