Angelina Jolie Primary School is a boarding school for primary school girls in Standard 5-8. It is in Kakuma refugee camp, and was created to give refugee girls who were particularly vulnerable (be it of domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, prostitution, etc). The school is well guarded, situated away from the bustle of the camp, and provides a safe haven for the girls to learn in a nurturing environment. There is special support at this school, including counseling and extra tutorials. Needless to say, the girls thrive in this environment. Of course it would be ideal for all girls of this age in refugee camps to be able to learn in an environment, where the classes are small (the total enrollment at this school is only 250 girls, compared with 7,400 at Hope Primary, the other school we will donate to). However, it simply is not possible given the funds allocated to refugee camps in Africa, so only the most vulnerable were selected for Angelina Jolie Primary.
We sat with some of the students at the school today, to talk to them about their story, their school experience prior to Angelina Jolie, the changes brought to them when enrolling at Angelina Jolie, and what they hope for in their future. We spoke with a girl from the DRC, South Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. Each had a different story, but all hoped for the same things. To complete their education, to go to university, to help others who cannot help themselves. They wanted to become doctors, pilots, journalists, and lawyers. They all felt very lucky to be at the school they were at, and felt optimistic about their future. They asked for books on science, medicine, journalism, books about other places, books about their home countries. They wanted to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and Ben Carson. They said there are no books at the school, but that when occasionally when a student finds a book and brings it to school, it ends up being read by everybody.
We are so excited to bring them a library at the end of this year, and are confident the library will be used to its maximum. After all, this is the school that despite the background of the girls and the challenges they face, still produced the best student in the county in 2014.