In 2005 Judy Webb closed down the non-public women’ college her household had run within the English countryside for almost 60 years. As she packed away a stack of unused college uniforms, she had no thought decade later they might be worn by a category of Kenyan youngsters in a brand new college, named after hers, in one of many poorest components of Nairobi.
The story of the 2 faculties begins in November 2013 when the BBC World Service launched its first listing of 100 inspiring and influential women around the world.
As the primary feminine commander of an all-male discipline pressure unit within the British military, Judy Webb was one of many ladies on the list.
On high of her trail-blazing navy profession, she had spent almost 20 years working Rossholme Women’ College in southern England, earlier than turning it right into a thriving nation visitor home enterprise.
The BBC invited all of the 100 Ladies of 2013 to a convention in London, which is the place Judy met one other title on the listing – a Kenyan pupil known as Joyce Aruga.
Though they have been from completely different generations, completely different nations and with very completely different life experiences, the 2 ladies hit it off instantly.
“She was resilient, constructive and cheerful,” Judy remembers “and she or he was an excellent observer”.
Joyce, who was 27 on the time, had a again story fairly as outstanding as Judy’s.
The youngest of 11 youngsters, she was born right into a poor household on the distant Mageta Island in Lake Victoria in 1986 – the identical 12 months Judy Webb took over working Rossholme College.
“None of my elder brothers and sisters acquired an schooling,” she says. “My mother and father could not afford to pay the college charges.”
On the age of 14 she was compelled to develop into the third spouse of a a lot older man, however – decided to get an schooling – she ran away from her husband.
With the assistance of a youngsters’s charity she acquired a spot at secondary college, and funded her research working as a maid.
By the point Joyce and Judy met in London, Joyce was one 12 months right into a trainer coaching diploma on the Kenyan Methodist College in Nairobi – helped by a sponsor from a church in the USA.
“I could not imagine that I, Joyce a village lady, was going to get on a airplane and go to London,” she remembers. “I had solely seen [planes] in drawings. How will I board this factor that flies within the air?”
After the convention Joyce spent the weekend in Somerset with Judy and her household. She advised them about her dream of in the future establishing her personal college in Kenya.
Judy requested Joyce if she may make use of the uniforms left over from Rossholme college.
“She tried one on herself,” Judy remembers. “She appreciated it a lot wished to put on it on the flight dwelling!”
For the subsequent three years the 2 ladies stored in contact by e mail, and in July Joyce wrote to say that not solely had she efficiently graduated with a educating diploma, however she had additionally opened up a small day-school in Mathere, an unlimited slum on the sting of Nairobi.
One other e mail adopted exhibiting a tiny group of tiny youngsters, all proudly sporting Judy’s blue and yellow college uniforms, and standing in entrance of the blue painted gates of their new college – the Rossholme Training Centre.
Joyce is beginning small, with 10 pupils aged from eight months to 4 years previous.
“I discovered them by strolling door to door, in search of youngsters who ought to have been in pre-school,” she says. “After I requested their mother and father why they weren’t at school, they stated they could not afford the charges.”
Joyce has been educating her firstclass at no cost, however she’s fundraising to develop, and hopes to have the ability to present main and secondary schooling for as much as 100 deprived youngsters over the subsequent two years.
“Due to the hardship I went by way of in life, I made a promise to myself that I might all the time assist the poor and susceptible,” says Joyce. “I attempt to give some hope to those that have misplaced it.”
Joyce says that participating within the BBC’s 100 Ladies collection helped her develop her horizons.
“I discovered there are challenges all over the place,” she says. “It does not matter what we now have gone by way of, we will nonetheless get up and combat for our rights.”
Again in Somerset, Judy has additionally began fundraising, hoping individuals who keep in mind Rossholme Women College, will likely be impressed to assist the brand new Rossholme Training Centre in Nairobi.
‘I am very hopeful we’ll succeed,’ says Judy. ‘And if we do will probably be one thing that was solely introduced collectively by 100 Ladies.’