We are so excited to announce the launch of our first-ever School Exchange Program, between two high schools in New York and Kenya! Back in April, the students of Dominican Academy (an all girls private high school here in New York City) decorated 110 HappyDolls to exchange with Jan’s Senior Academy (a co-ed high school in Kisumu County, Kenya). At the beginning of May, the students of Jan’s Senior Academy then decorated 110 HappyDolls, and after a few weeks of waiting, our HappyDoll Ambassador Leah Auma Okeyo picked-up and delivered the dolls from Kenya to the girls in New York this past Monday--what a memorable day it was!
When Leah arrived to Dominican Academy, she walked into a room filled with over 100 freshman and sophomores who were anxiously awaiting her arrival--the energy in the room was astounding!
Leah told the students all about her life, also educating them on the current situation for women in Kenya and what work she has done in order to move towards change. Her speech was so moving and powerful. Leah then presented the girls with the dolls decorated by the students of Jan’s Senior Academy.
In early July, Leah will be delivering the dolls from Dominican Academy to Jan’s Senior Academy, and we will make sure to keep you updated with their response!
At the end of the day, Leah presented a hand woven bag adorned with the colors of the Kenyan flag to the teacher spearheading the project at Dominican Academy, Katie.
Many students at Dominican Academy mentioned that they’d like to make the school exchange an on-going project, so we have promised to organize another exchange again this fall after summer vacation is over in September--stay tuned!
Lastly, a big thank you to the following people (our exchange would not have been possible without you):
In New York:
- Caitlin - Senior at Dominican Academy, for initially reaching out to HappyDoll to work with our organization
- Katie - Teacher at Dominican Academy
- Sr. Barbara - Principal of Dominican Academy
- Leila - Senior at Jan’s Senior Academy in Kenya (also daughter to Leah)
- Samwel - Principal at Jan’s Senior Academy
- Leah - HappyDoll Ambassador on the project
We look forward to the bright future ahead for our new School Exchange program, and all students involved. Check back on our blog for updates on future exchanges!
To learn more about this new program and how it came to life, please visit our main page.
To learn more about the 2 schools involved in the program, check out their facebook pages: