Sep 282011
 
Authors: Moonier Said

Coming to school might have been a hard journey for some or an easier one for others, but for children in Kenya, the chance to go to school is slim to none. That’s why Brett Bruyere has made it his personal business to make sure Kenyan youth gain access to secondary schools.

Bruyere, who works in the college of Natural Resources as a professor of environmental communication, began his work in the Samburu region of Kenya as a researcher studying how rural communities perceive tourism and the benefits tourism provides, as well as helping train rangers in monitoring environmental impacts of tourism in 2006.

The Samburu region is highly impoverished, and the village has to deal with higher amounts of domestic abuse, substance abuse and crime. These conditions have made it harder for the youth to get a quality education.

“We started to become very connected with the community in which we were working in,” Bruyere said.

This connection sparked the Samburu Youth Education Fund (SYEF), a non-profit organization with the specific goal of making sure youth have access to secondary education.

Bruyere hopes to build future village leaders through the SYEF so the people can have a better life.
“Today there is more value on education; so, families are more sedentary because they want their children in school,” says Bruyere.

Jen Johnson, assistant director for student leadership at the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office, has been a big part of the organization, even helping to organize yearly trips to the Samburu region for CSU students.

An alternative break trip to Kenya is planned from Dec. 28 to Jan. 12.

A major part of the trip is the collaboration of the Samburu Youth Education Fund and Save the Elephants, which has the students go into a safari where they have to track elephants with a GPS.
Nigel Daniels, a sophomore political science major, said his ethnic studies minor motivated him to go on the trip.

He believes that this trip is his chance to experience life outside the American mindset and to do good by helping those in need.

“The Kenya trip is an opportunity to gain a better sense of reality and to see the world in a different light,” he said.

The SLiCE office and CSU students are helping to fundraise for the SYEF through a charity dinner.
“People will be provided with dinner and are asked to give as much money as they can,” Johnson said.

The fundraiser is an event to help the youths of Kenya get the education they need, but to also raise awareness for the SYEF. Gaining more followers and backers for this organization is key to the event so that the people better understand what SYEF is trying to accomplish and to also have more consistent donations.

“They first need to know and trust the organization before making that kind of commitment,” Bruyere said.

Collegian writer Moonier Said can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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