With Your Support, We Can Create a Bright Future for Kenya’s Disadvantaged Girls

On August 7, 1998, Louise Martin DVM, MS, EIS ’85, a beloved and caring individual, stopped by the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, to pick up some mail when a terrorist bomb went off nearby, destroying the embassy and killing 12 Americans and more than 200 Kenyans. This year marks the 20th anniversary of her untimely death, and in her honor we invite you to help us raise funds to create a future for Kenya's disadvantaged girls.

Although this event was devastating to Dr. Martin’s friends and colleagues, they came together in the aftermath to do something inspiring. In her memory, friends, family, and colleagues at the Task Force for Global Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the Louise Martin, DVM, MS, EIS ’85 Endowed Memorial Scholarship.

This endowment at the CDC Foundation currently provides scholarships for disadvantaged young women in Kenya to attend a respected national school. A lack of education is a challenge for girls in Kenya, and this cause that was near and dear to Louise’s heart. 

Today, support from the Louise Martin Endowed Memorial Scholarship supports students at the Starehe Girls’ Centre and School in Nairobi, Kenya. This respected institution strives to ensure that girls selected to attend not only represent an array of Kenya’s geographic regions, ethnic groups, and religions, but also that they are each provided with a supportive environment in which they can flourish through academic and personal development. For the past 10 years, 95 percent of graduates from the Starehe Girls’ Centre and School have gained admission to various universities. With the motto, “Elimu Yetu, Nguvu Yetu” (Our Education, Our Strength), it is clear that the Starehe Girls’ Centre and School has created a prominent impact for the disadvantaged young women and girls of Kenya.

To date, the Louise Martin Endowed Memorial Scholarship has sponsored 13 young women through all four years of secondary school, and currently is supporting an additional six students. Last year, Walter R. Dowdle, PhD, EIS Hon. ’91, a friend and colleague of Dr. Martin at the CDC, visited the Starehe Girls’ Centre and School with his wife Mabel and had the opportunity to meet the six young women currently being sponsored. While the girls were genuinely grateful of the opportunities made possible for them through the fund, what impressed Dr. Dowdle most was the transformation he saw among the spectrum of young women (first through fourth years). Though shy in the beginning of their time at the Centre, these girls developed into confident, eloquent young women as they neared the end of their time there. 

Through reflection on his time at the Centre and in honor of the 20th anniversary of Dr. Martin’s death, Dr. Dowdle and his wife have pledged to match all gifts dollar for dollar up to $20,000 to provide scholarships for girls to attend the Starehe Girls’ Centre and School. With your help we will reach our goal to increase the current six scholarships to 10 scholarships each year. Please give generously today and share with your friends and family! The CDC Foundation has partnered with GlobalGiving to create a secure giving webpage. We have just a few short weeks to meet our minimum goal, and we can get there with your gift today. 

Thank you for celebrating Louise’s life and legacy. Together our impact is greater.

Photos: Starehe Girls’ Centre and School


Elizabeth Patrick is a donor relations officer for the CDC Foundation.