By Michelson Philanthropies
Michelson Philanthropies founder Dr. Gary Michelson and co-chair Alya Michelson recently made a pair of donations to charities dedicated to improving education for students in Africa.
In 2023, Michelson Philanthropies provided the first donation to Huru International. The charity tackles period poverty throughout Kenya by providing menstrual products to girls and offering access to sexual and reproductive health education.
Period poverty has a profound impact on the education of girls in Africa. Every month, approximately one million girls in Kenya miss school because they don’t have access to safe, sustainable sanitary products. The effect of lost education is only compounded by the deep-rooted cultural stigma surrounding menstruation, leading to shame and embarrassment that hinders personal growth.
The Michelsons’ $7,000 donation will purchase 200 Huru Kits, a drawstring backpack containing sanitary products that will allow a girl to safely take care of her period for two years. The donation also helps Huru provide comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education programs to young women, giving them the resources needed to break the cycle of period poverty.
The second grant of over $21,000 given to the nonprofit Micato-AmericaShare, reflects the Michelsons’ continued commitment to a charity they have supported since last year. Micato-AmericaShare, which was founded over 35 years ago, is dedicated to helping populations in Nairobi, Kenya, affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic by increasing access to educational resources.
In 2022, the Michelsons visited Mukuru in Nairobi, Kenya, where they met with community leaders, toured local schools, and awarded a grant to the nonprofit that purchased 20 computers for the Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Center Computer Centre, a community resource with a library and educational programs.
The Harambee Centre offers a range of courses for students who want to learn the fundamentals of operating a computer. Last year, it hosted over 12,500 users. With green lawns and open spaces, the Centre is a calming setting in the middle of Mukuru, a cramped, challenging community where serenity is rare.
The Michelsons’ original grant also gave five local children the opportunity to attend highly-rated academies, where they would be able to pursue their love for education. The latest donation will support a three-month computer course at the Harambee Center while continuing to cover the educational expenses of the five young learners—Alpha Muthoni Mwangi, Esther Akinyi, Evance Otieno, Sweetlyve Kahendi, and Regina Muthoni—the Michelsons first supported in 2022.
In addition, part of the grant will allow two more girls to enroll in boarding school. Education is the driver behind the innovation and progress that defines the work of all organizations in the Michelson Philanthropies network. These latest donations to Micato-AmericaShare and Huru International will not only provide young people in Kenya with access to better education but also greater opportunities.
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