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Review for Matawi Inc, Lewiston, ME, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Patti and I first traveled to the Dadaab Refugee Camps in 2007, returning again the following year in 2008. As a cluster of camps, Dadaab is remarkable in a number of ways--it has been in existence since 1991; its numbers continue to grow, now nearing 300,000 refugees. Poignantly, life in the camps offers no long term, durable solutions for refugees. In fact, a generation has been raised in Dadaab with little hope of repatriating to Somalia, integrating into Kenyan society, or resettling to a third country. Within the camps there exists a school system run by the UNHCR and its implementing partners--Care and Windletrust. Nearly 300 students complete high school each year but only around 35 are young women. From there, only the slightest percentage of graduates are able to access higher education. While in the camps, Patti and I heard over and over again stories of youth who wanted nothing more than to further their studies--to be able to apply the hard work that they had already put into their schooling to higher education and meaningful careers. Matawi was founded in part as a response to this articulated desire, with an emphasis on providing educational opportunities to girls and women. Matawi is a very young organization, having incorporated only in 2009, but is already sending one new student to college in East Africa and has laid the groundwork for many more to apply to US schools. I am deeply honored to be a part of Matawi.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the many times that I communicate with the young women with whom we work to expand educational opportunity. We are answering their request to try and find more options to the best of our ability.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

getting to know and learn from the students with whom we work--who have given everything to become educated and strive constantly to reach goals nearly impossible from the context in which they find themselves

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

take significant steps toward assuring that every young woman who graduates high school in Dadaab has access to some form of higher education if they so choose

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Board Member & I co-founded the organization; helped start the Scholarship Initiative.