One Girl Can is a Canadian and Kenyan registered charitable organization on a mission to break the cycle of poverty and achieve gender equality through education, mentorship, and training. The organization constructs and renovates girls’ schools in some of the most marginalized regions of Kenya (130 buildings and facilities since 2008), administers a scholarship program with partner schools that supports the brightest and most determined girls in need, and provides mentorship and coaching to over 10,000 girls each year.
In January 2021, the organization completed an ambitious project to rebuild the three-story Ushirika Primary and Secondary School in Kibera, Kenya – the largest urban slum in Africa – to provide all 615 students with a safe and appropriate learning environment that fosters quality education.
The following spring, they called on the Gay Lea Foundation to support the final stages of construction on an affiliated dormitory.
“Many of the girls attending Ushirika School have difficult home lives,” says Lotte Davis, Founder of One Girl Can. “They face abuse, overcrowding, hunger, neglect, and toxic stress from growing up in poverty. Additionally, the burden of housework and caring for siblings often falls to them. The Beedie Dormitory addresses these challenges by offering a safe and hygienic space for learning.”
In May 2022, construction of the Beedie Dormitory – the first dormitory ever built in Kibera – was completed. An $11,582 donation from the Gay Lea Foundation provided a new water tower for the facility, allowing the school community to access clean, safe water where they live and learn, so they don’t have to walk through the informal settlement.
“This building – which is now home to 72 high-school students from Ushirika School – is vital to the success of a teenage girl’s education in an informal settlement like Kibera,” says Davis. “We can’t thank our supporters enough for giving students a safe environment to learn and grow.”