“My students see me as a role model. They believe that they can make it in life because I made it.”
Gift Chalot spent her early days in Muhuru Bay primary schools, dreaming of a bright future but ever-aware of the challenges she would face in secondary school.
Then came WISER.
Gift joined two friends—Lucy Gallus and Winnie Bellah—in one of the first graduating classes at WISER in 2014. At WISER, they found everything they needed to succeed. They each went on to university, a dream that had felt almost impossible only a few years before.
Once they got to college, they faced an important decision: what would they study? For Gift and Winnie, the choice was easy. Education had changed their lives, and they would study education to change the lives of other students. Meanwhile, Lucy put her STEM skills to use, excelling at accounting.
But when it was time for them to decide what to do with their university education, these three WISER alumni were drawn back to where they began.
“I think it is good for WISER alumni to give back. We are supporting others so that they can rise up, the same way we rose up because of support from others,” said Winnie, who now teaches at Kumoni Primary School, just a few miles from WISER.
Lucy could have taken an accounting job anywhere, but she chose instead not only to use her accounting skills in an educational context, but as the bursar at Winjo Seconday School in Muhuru Bay.
“Because [our students] know our backgrounds, and now they see us working in their schools, they feel like it is possible for them.”
In Muhuru Bay, WISER’s reputation precedes these alums: “There’s that pride of being WISER alumni. WISER is always at the top, academically, so when we’re teaching, [the community] believes that we’re just superb.”
It’s hard to overstate the monumental shift these alumni represent. Just ten years ago, it was almost unimaginable to have more than one secondary-school graduate make it to university each year. Now, three highly sought-after university-graduates—who graduated from WISER in the same year—are supporting the next generation of students in Muhuru Bay.
Winnie noticed the specific inspiration WISER alumni can share with their students and community: “Because people know that WISER is a good school—that they are empowering students with knowledge and skills—they are also interested in graduating and becoming teachers, like us. They see that we’ve gone through high school education, that we’ve worked through the challenges, and they want to learn how to overcome the challenges, too.”
Flexing the problem-solving muscles that they honed at WISER, these alumni are noticing and responding to their community’s needs. Gift notes that what her students at Winjo need most are “more experienced teachers. The students need to be motivated and advised. Most of the students at Winjo, they come from humble backgrounds. They need motivation from people who understand them.”
These three incredible alums prove what we WISER girls have demonstrated from the beginning: that when you educate young women, whole communities thrive. They show how WISER’s impact extends far beyond its classrooms, rippling out into classrooms across Muhuru Bay and the wider world. We could not be more proud to have these alumni in WISER’s network!