Post updated: 11 March 2024

In 2023, our Elisa for Girls initiative, serving rural Grade 6 and 7 schoolgirls, grew further.

The additional demand for Fenix radio-lights from students, teachers, and their families soared. Thanks to the generous support of Tom Hanks Day enthusiasts, we were able to make this happen once more.

Emerging from a three-year pause caused by Covid-19, Tom Hanks Day triumphantly returned for its 20th annual event on April Fools Day, 1 April 2023. Tom Hanks fans from around the US celebrated this occasion, gathering at Lincoln Hall in Chicago and participating in satellite events across America. Tom Hanks generously donated signed movie merchandise, contributing to Lifeline Energy’s fundraising efforts.

Please support the Esila for Girls initiative. You can make donations through Network for Good.

A boy receives a radio through the Esila programme

Ensuring education

Expanding upon the impact of our Esila for Girls initiative in Kenya during 2021 and 2022, we continued our efforts in September and October 2023. In partnership with Kenya’s national broadcaster, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), we distributed our Fenix solar and wind-up radios to hundreds of Grade 6 and 7 girls, along with a select few boys thoughtfully chosen based on their pressing needs.

Recognising the challenges imposed by Covid-19 lockdowns, we extended our support to young boys who had to leave school to attend to livestock, underscoring our commitment to ensuring education access for both genders.

Radio as cutting-edge technology

These radios represented leading-edge technology for the more than 300 children receiving Fenix units. They ignited genuine excitement about their newfound ability to access educational lessons and news updates and engage in other programmes of interest. Moreover, the built-in LED light feature enables them to study after dark.

This year, we focused on Narok and Taita Taiveta counties, where we visited numerous schools alongside the KBC marketing team and presenters. Renowned KBC national sports announcer George Waka, also known as Waka Waka, captivated the children with his humour and interactive games.

In addition to the radios, we distributed menstrual hygiene pads generously donated by Kenyan First Lady Rachel Ruto. Addressing the challenge many girls face in pursuing education due to the high cost of sanitary pads for rural families, this contribution empowers girls to attend school confidently and with dignity.

A nurse, Liz, from the Bethel Network spoke about adolescent reproductive health and demonstrated correct sanitary pad usage. To the delight of the others, Liz had one of the boys follow her as she applied a pad to underwear. Both boys and girls also received underwear, which was also greatly appreciated.

Distribution of sanitary products

Anti-malarial soap

We also introduced a significant addition this year – anti-malarial soap. Malaria is endemic in Kenya, with 70% of the population at risk. In Africa, malaria claims up to 500,000 lives annually and leads to countless sick days and missed school for children. We asked every group of school children how many had had malaria, and nearly every child at every school in both counties raised their hands.

The anti-malarial soap was created by Uganics, a Ugandan company founded by leading entrepreneur Joan Nalubega. Joan suffered from malaria all through her childhood and vowed to develop soap and other natural products to reduce the chances of contracting malaria, especially for children.

At one of the distributions, a pregnant teacher asked for a bar of soap because two years previously, she had contracted malaria while pregnant and lost the baby.

Kenyan girl with a bar of Uganics soap

Why Esila is successful

Its multifaceted approach to addressing the community’s pressing needs sets this initiative apart and contributes to its success. By providing access to education through radios, addressing menstrual hygiene challenges, and combating malaria with innovative products, we make a tangible difference in the lives of the children and communities we serve.

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