Daughter of Canada’s finance minister aims to send girls in Kenya to school


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Clare Morneau with students from a school for refugees in northwest Kenya

When 17-year-old Leaside resident Clare Morneau first learned about the young girls at Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwest Kenya, she wanted to know their stories and help turn their dreams into realities. In 2014, Morneau launched the Kakuma Toronto Girls Education Partnership, a pen pal project between Toronto students and girls from the camp.

“Refugees are more than numbers. They are people with hopes and dreams who want to accomplish things,” Morneau said. “[The partnership] is a way to open [people’s] eyes and learn about the rest of the world. For the girls at Kakuma, it’s been a huge value. They haven’t had much support.” 

This past spring, Morneau wrote Kakuma Girls, a collection of stories highlighting the experiences of the girls living at the camp. All proceeds generated by book sales will go toward supporting post-secondary education for the young refugee girls.

“I got to learn the stories of the girls at Kakuma,” Morneau said. “There are real challenges facing refugees. I wanted to give them a voice.…”

Morneau first learned about Kakuma Refugee Camp in 2014 through her father, Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau. His company, Morneau Shepell partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to launch a residential school for the camp called the Morneau Shepell Secondary School for Girls.

“It has really influenced who I am and what I want to do,” Clare Morneau said. “Whether it’s making a donation or writing a letter to a young refugee, I believe everyone can help in a different way.” 

The book is scheduled to be released on Oct. 11 for the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child. In addition to book sale proceeds, donations can be made from the UNHCR Canada website.

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