Megan Orr

Megan Orr (Kakenya Center for Excellence - KCE): Between 2006 and 2009, Megan studied graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), where she studied Sociology, Film & Digital Media. Megan also worked as the Program Coordinator at the UCSC Women’s Center, where she organized Lunafest, a national traveling film festival of films by, for, and about women. Megan then worked as an Associate Video Editor for 'the Muse,' an online video periodical, and a freelance Videographer for AOL's national news website, After her fellowship Megan wrote: “I learned a tremendous amount about Maasai culture, politics, and education. It taught me about cross-cultural communication and patience. By working with the facilitators I was able to absorb a huge amount of information about FGM, leadership, self-defense and rape prevention."

OneVoice Meets Many at KCE

13 Jun

Giggles of excitement filled the room moments after the recorder instrument lesson started. After a consistent chorus of toots, squeaks and laughs, the girls were finally able to play a simple melody. “Now we can sing with it!” Class 4 student Naanyu exclaimed joyfully after playing a note on her recorder.

KCE girls sing and dance together any chance they can get. This inclination toward music became even more apparent last week when the DC-based non-profit OneVoice visited the Enoosaen community. OneVoice aims to encourage peace and to connect and empower children worldwide through music, singing and art. The organization has worked with schools in Tanzania and Uganda, and now has come to our school in Kenya as well.

KCE girls thirst for outlets for their musical creativity and artistic expression. They never seem to get enough of it! Perfectly suited to this love of art and music, this past week, four guitarists, two singers, and one visual artist came to KCE prepared to musically invigorate the girls.

When KCE girls sing together their soprano voices unite to form one striking sound. The entire school immediately grew fond of the quirky and fun OneVoice team after learning and singing several songs and strumming on the musicians’ guitars. While most of the girls were thrilled and wanted guitar lessons, some were quite amazed by their newfound ability to play, sing and dance to the new tunes. 

KCE girls happily learn to sing "Lala Love" by OneVoice members, Eddy Marshall and David Reynolds

In the singing workshops the girls learned several new songs, some of which incorporated dance moves, like the hokey pokey. The girls quickly caught on and even shared a few traditional Maasai songs and dances with OneVoice. The OneVoice team didn’t hesitate to jump in and dance alongside the girls.

OneVoice Founder and Director, Robbie Schaefer teaches and records the strong voices of girls as they sing "Lala Love"

Simultaneously, the other classrooms were filled with girls using paint for the first time. The girls had never seen such vibrant colors before: royal blue, forest green, teal and neon red, just to name a few. They were hardly able to keep themselves from dipping into the paint before instructions were given. I assisted the art instructor, Jolene Hemeon, in teaching this half of the girls about color schemes and artistic techniques.

Painting your hearts desire takes concentration and silence

We started off by asking the girls to write down their dreams and their “heart’s desire”. Each of the girls designed a heart with their biggest desire imprinted on it. The finished pieces are to be exhibited in Washington, DC in December 2012. The exhibition will be used to fundraise money for Kenyan children suffering from heart disease. The idea is to raise funds through a tangible and creative “heart to heart”.

Class 7 student, Elizabeth Yiamat, wrote, “My hearts desire is to travel to another country, to help the needy, to build more hospitals and to have a good life in the future.” As I went around the classroom passing out paint, I noticed that most girls wrote that their dreams were to become doctors, lawyers, and teachers, as well as help to their families and their communities. I wondered if perhaps after this workshop some girls would want to pursue music, the arts, or dance. Although the arts are present within the school curriculum, they often aren’t considered to be a viable career path for young people.  The girls tend to aspire to career paths that are more widely spoken of, or looked up to, such as medicine. Yet music holds an important role in these young girls lives and is often an inspirational tool for communication, particularly communication about taboo issues. What better way to give voice to the voiceless than through song and dance? This past weekend allowed KCE girls to not only find their voices, but also to raise them together.







Posted By Megan Orr

Posted Jun 13th, 2012


  • Kristen

    June 14, 2012


    I think it is super interesting that you mention the role and importance of the arts in advocacy among these girls. What a good point! Of course doctors, hospitals and other insitutions are necessary but so are local advocates with srong voices and awareness about the type of change needed. Funny, how music lessons might be the link.

  • iain

    June 18, 2012


    A very nice, gentle blog, which reminds us how wonderfully expressive children are – no matter where they live.

  • Robert Mendoza

    June 22, 2012


    This is truly a touching gesture by OneVoice to stike a chord with the girls through the inspiration of music and art. But one point that slightly concerns me is the absence of boys from this event. I don’t refer to the topic of gender discrimination here but would’nt it be a great move to include the boy child in this noble cause ?

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