Between studying for exams, applying to university or college, and focusing on extra curricular activities, not many Canadian high school seniors are thinking about how they can help those who are disadvantaged around the world—but that's just what 17-year-old Clare Morneau has set out to do.
Clare's newly-released book, Kakuma Girls: Sharing Stories of Hardship and Hope from Kakuma Refugee Camp, sheds light on the difficult world of young female refugees in Africa, and the relationships she helped them build with her classmates here in Canada through a pen-pal program.
Clare's father, Canada's Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, visited Kakuma Refugee Camp when his human resources company, Morneau Shepell, donated a technology centre there. He saw first-hand the need for a girls' school—only 2 per cent of eligible children in the 200,000-person camp attend secondary school, and very few of those students are female. Bill's company, with the help of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, built the Morneau Shepell Secondary School for Girls. The residential school had its first classes in 2014 and today it houses more than 300 students from over 10 countries.
In addition to the Morneay Shepell students writing about their lives and how they became refugees, Clare's book contains information on the makings of the refugee crisis, challenges of life in the camp and visits to homes of some of the students. Ultimately, Kakuma Girls is about raising awareness about some of the hardships these young girls face.
Kakuma Girls is available now and the proceeds from sales of the book will fund scholarships for the refugee girls. Visit this website to pick up your own copy.