Connecting Potential documents the duality of the current situation of primary and secondary students in rural Kenya. Spirit and enthusiasm to learn contrast sharply with the adversity and lack of resources available. This essay was created for the non-profit Kenya Connect who works in connecting rural educators and students with resources in this region.
The vision and goals for initiating this project were a collaboration between me, the photographer, and the organization Kenya Connect. We envisioned the documentation of the realities of education for primary and secondary schools in the rural highland of Kenya with the goals in mind to raise awareness and generate interest in donating funds, recruiting volunteers, as well as relating stories to pen-pals of these students overseas.
The mission of Kenya Connect is twofold. It centers around connecting youth throughout the world through correspondence and service for the purpose of promoting deep cultural exchange and understanding. It has evolved, through the interest sparked by these connections, to provide students and educators in areas of rural Kenya with resources desperately needed to increase learning, in hopes to increase these students’ potential in life.
The specific aspect that Connecting Potential portrays is the duality of the current circumstances of primary and secondary education in rural Kenya. The spirit and enthusiasm of students to learn and educators to teach contrasts sharply with the lack of resources available. Through this essay I hope to portray the potential of both students and educators to thrive if given the opportunity. Although these images were just created three months ago, they have already helped strengthen connections between Kenya Connect and donor organizations such as One.org and GlobalGiving. The images have been used to promote fundraising efforts in the form of electronic images, printed invitations and post cards, and appear on social media sites.
These images are being used currently to close the distance between Kenya and the US.
The Call to Action of Connecting Potential is that the students and educators of rural Kenya are passionate to learn, despite of the fact that they lack in the most basic of educational resources. If we can get sponsorship of programs such as KenyaConnect’s project in Wamunyu through donations of money and resources, the potential that that these students will have to change their future, and that of their families for the better will increase.
One of the intended audiences of this essay is both potential donors and volunteers to help raise funds and manpower to increase the potential for students and educators in the 53 schools that Kenya Connect works. The other audience, that holds as much significance, is primary and secondary students around the world who will be able to use these images as educational tools to learn about the realities of education and life in other regions.