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Bride shuns gifts in favor of raising money to educate girls in Kenya


Esther Ngumbi only has one thing on her $15,000 bridal registry, but it’s not crystal stemware.

Instead, the Kenya-born, U.S.-educated entomologist wants the money to build something awesome: a science lab in her hometown of Mabafweni, Kenya.

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Since moving back to her hometown, the 38-year-old has built a school and created a library, set to open right before her Oct. 17 wedding. But, something was missing. “Of course, a science lab,” she told Cosmopolitan.

“Being a woman scientist, I know there is such a glaring gender gap between men and women who pursue sciences,” Ngumbi said of why she wants to skip the gifts. Women in her village generally get married young and don’t continue their education. “I want as many girls to go and get their PhD and go and be whoever they want because I don’t want to be the only one. Honestly, I don’t.”

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Her fiance, Alex, is completely supportive. “He knows how much I love science, so he said, ‘Let’s do it! I support you!'”

Ngumbi set up a crowdfunding page on FundProVo to help her hit her ambitious and important goal.

“Building that science lab in that small community, you will never know what that student will create. It may be something that will contribute to the entire world,” she told Cosmo, adding that the girls in her town “deserve an opportunity, and they deserve a lab so they can at least see what science is all about.”

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