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EFAC Names New Executive Director

Education for All Children (EFAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Blair L. Demers of Portsmouth as its new Executive Director. She joins the organization’s co-founders, Nancy and Rod Van Sciver of Rye, and Kenya Country Director Mary Kiguru of Nairobi, at the helm of Education for All Children.

Blair pictured with EFAC Scholar at Naivasha Girls School
Founded in 2008, Education for All Children provides a comprehensive education-to-employment program for over 350 underprivileged, yet exceptionally talented students in Kenya.  EFAC's program offers eight years of scholarships, skill-building workshops, and intensive mentoring for secondary and post-secondary school students.

Blair Demers joined EFAC in 2015 as Director of Strategic Partnerships, working closely with the board, staff, donors and nonprofit partners to scale the organization, evaluate its impact, and develop a strategic vision for sustainability. A graduate of Princeton University, Ms. Demers holds a certificate in African Studies and has volunteered, studied, and traveled on the continent throughout her youth and into adulthood. 

Prior to moving to Portsmouth, Ms. Demers served in a variety of capacities for SMART, a start-up educational organization serving talented, low-income middle school students in San Francisco. Her tenure there spanned six years and included the positions of Program Director, Development Director and Executive Director. After returning to the east coast, Ms. Demers joined the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle in 2007 and was an integral participant in its growth as a local fundraising and grant-making organization in New Hampshire. Serving as chair of the Giving Circle from 2010-2012, she managed a strategic planning process with regard to the group’s membership, fundraising, grant-making, organizational structure, and sustainability. Ms. Demers also serves as vice chair of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Regional Advisory Board on the Seacoast, and chair of their grants committee. 

Ms. Demers lives in Portsmouth, NH with her husband and three daughters.

Global Opportunities for EFAC Scholar: Carolyne Musyoka


For the last several years, Carolyne Musyoka has dreamed about attending college in the US.  Carolyne’s dream became a reality in April, when Dartmouth College named her a King Scholar, a highly competitive and prestigious four-year scholarship program reserved for high-achieving students from developing countries.  King Scholars receive ongoing academic mentorship and course development that focuses on leadership and international development.  She is the first EFAC student to attend a US university.

Currently a first year student studying law at the University of Nairobi, Carolyne yearned for an opportunity to broaden her educational interests beyond the confines of law and traditional Kenyan academics.  She writes, “the Kenyan system of education does not allow one to follow their academic passions, since the grade you attain on the KCSE determines your field of study.” 

Perhaps it was meeting EFAC board members during their visits to Kenya that piqued her interest in studying abroad, or maybe it was corresponding with her US sponsors, Peter and Judy Cole of Wolfboro, NH, but Carolyne became committed to pursuing the broader liberal arts education that a US college like Dartmouth offers. “I am passionate about law, but I believe in finding more passions in life. I also would like to seize the opportunity to gain invaluable employability skills, effective community skills, and the capacity for lifelong learning that a liberal art education offers. Such grounding will make me fit well in this rapidly changing world.”

Carolyne placed in the top 1% nationwide on the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), the test all Kenyan students take at the conclusion of high school.  Her impressive A on the exam won her the scholarship to the University of Nairobi, the top university in Kenya.
                                       
A stand-out student leader since primary school, Carolyne scored 407 out of a possible 500 on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) test, placing her in the top 5% of 8th grade students that year.  She was offered a place at Alliance Girls’ High School, one of the top boarding schools in Kenya.  While at Alliance, Carolyne continued to place in the top 10% of a very competitive class.  She was active in a wide range of school activities, including History Club, freshman class captain, soccer, basketball, and field hockey. A well-rounded student and strong writer, Carolyne had one of her papers published in a journalism competition and competed in regional competitions with the Poetry Club.

Carolyne comes from Yatta, a rural farming community roughly 30 miles southeast of Nairobi, where she lives with her parents, grandmother, and three siblings. Like many rural Kenyan families, the Musyoka family income is roughly $600 per year. Carolyne’s father makes and sells metal tools in a nearby town, and her mother is a domestic worker.  To help feed their family, her 72-year old grandmother still farms their acre of land. During visits home, Carolyne particularly enjoys listening to her grandmother’s storytelling.


The EFAC community is so proud of all that Carolyne has accomplished, and we are excited to see where her future leads. She is a wonderful example of what EFAC strives to nurture in all of our students:  intelligence, focus, determination and compassion.  Carolyne put it best when she wrote, “Before EFAC came into my life, I thought I was just an ordinary girl trying to make it in life, someone with no worth.  Now I realize I am a person with a destiny, with something to do in the world.”