– I am involved in a number of foundations and charities, and many of them involve working with children. It is impossible not to be inspired by my mother, who always has been a driving force for the World Childhood Foundation. The purpose – to improve the conditions for prosperity and democracy in poor countries through concrete investment in education – is naturally very urgent. The foundation could present a thorough and concrete plan for its first first project, the school in Ex-Lewa, Kenya. That is why I chose to accept the patronage of Gundua Foundation.
The idea for the foundation was first conceived in 2006, and I have had the pleasure to be its Patron from the start. It has been both inspiring and instructive to follow the development and see what a difference a Swedish non-profit initiative can do in so many children’s lives. The inauguration of Gundua Secondary School 2009 is a fond memory, with happiness, hope and optimism mixed with immense pride in the local traditions.
Since then, the Foundation has developed into a small school system. Soon after the start of Gundua Secondary School, which provides education at secondary school level, it was clear that the students’ basic skills needed to be strengthened in order to benefit fully from the program. The Foundation therefore decided to also engage in education at the primary level. Two primary schools in the area have subsequently been included.
In November 2022 the Gundua Girls’ Dormitory, a boarding school on secondary level for girls, was inaugurated. The Dormitory will accommodate 200 girls, with priority given to girls residing in villages furthest from the school, those from poor families and with good academic performance. In this way we can offer the girls a safe and secure education.
Results at Gundua Secondary School now rank among the best in the region. Thousands of students have finished school and more than 900 are currently studying from kindergarten to secondary school. Almost 200 students have gone on to higher education at University level. Others have started their own businesses and are now involved in developing the region.
One of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals was that every child in the world would be able go to school and have the opportunity to complete a primary education by 2015. This unfortunately did not happen. But still, development has come a long way. Large parts of Africa have entered a dynamic phase of development, and in the places where there are no ongoing wars and other conflicts, schooling and literacy have increased.
When Gundua Foundation was founded more than 45 million African children were not in school. And more than 140 million left school without being able to read and write. Today it looks much better. It is a hopeful development, where our engagement in Ex-Lewa has contributed as an important piece of the puzzle.
Together, we have learned a lot along the way and are well prepared for the next step. We are ready to work with new partners to establish more projects to support children in other similar areas.