Kyla and Teagan King of Olivenhain, Annika Gullahorn of Carmel Valley, Megan Thode of Rancho Santa Fe and Joanna Gonda of Fallbrook are passionate about solving gender discrimination and violence against women.
The high school students participate in NKT Connections, a service learning group founded in 2009 at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad. The group works to promote women’s rights through education, economic empowerment and cultural exchange.
Over the past four years, NKT Connections has carried out various projects in Nepal, Kenya and Tibet.
The students work with Raksha, a women’s shelter in Kathmandu, Nepal, that rehabilitates and provides job training for women who have been forced into prostitution or domestically abused.
They have sent a projector and educational supplies to Golok Sencham Drukmo’s Home for Girls, an orphanage in rural Tibet, and have worked with a women’s shelter in Oceanside, connecting shelter residents with Raksha through a pen pal exchange. Most recently, the group has been investing in two women in Kenya through Kiva, a non-profit organization in the microfinance field.
NKT Connections has found two of the best solutions for gender-based violence and oppression are education and economic empowerment for women and girls. Education provides women with opportunities to create better futures for themselves, and is sustained when they pass knowledge on to their own children. Financial support, such as micro-loans, enables women to establish small businesses, providing their families with incomes while bolstering the economy of their local communities. NKT members strive to include activities in their work that create personal relationships and foster sustainable solutions to problems women face worldwide.
The educational philosophy of Pacific Ridge School is distinguished by its emphasis on academic excellence, ethical responsibility and global engagement. The school’s service learning program gives students the tools and resources to provide service to communities within San Diego and around the world. NKT Connections is one of many groups that meet during a weekly service learning class period. The service learning program integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, encourage civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good.
–PRS Press Release