Vision Africa

Vision Africa equips and empowers children and youths for a brighter future, ensuring that they have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and make a difference in their families and communities. The following principles guide our project partnerships and work. The emphasis will vary depending on the nature of the project. Provision - We contribute towards meeting the children's material and emotional needs. Protection - We protect the rights of children to have a happy childhood free from neglect, cruelty and exploitation. Preparation - We support projects that enhance educational opportunities and prepare children to fulfil their potential.
Oct 28, 2010

Latest Addition and Stories of Independence

Latest Addition
Latest Addition

In our last update from the St. Andrews Baby Unit back in July we mentioned some volunteers who were spending time at the St Andrews Baby Unit. We can now report that they have made a tremendous difference and been of great help to the housemothers.

The majority of the infants are now able to sit at the table and feed themselves, some need only a little supervision and there are only a few who require to be fed. This saves the housemothers a lot of stress as they were previously trying to feed five children each at the same time! On a visit this week I discovered that the little girl who was taking her first steps in our last update is now one of those trying to feed herself.

 Another achievement has been in terms of potty training. It took a few attempts as the children were at first scared of the potties then thought they were toys! Thanks to volunteer Carla’s persistence a good number of the older babies are now using the potty which has helped the housemother who was previously washing all the towelling diapers!

There has also been a new arrival at the St Andrews Baby Unit since our last update. Baby Anne was four months old when she arrived and weighed less than 4kg...very underweight for her age. Her mother had been ill for some time and passed away a few weeks after giving birth. Anne’s grandparents tried their best to care for the young baby their daughter left behind but they were frail and unable to cope. After going through the relevant processes, Anne was brought to the unit and when her family visited a week later they already noticed a difference and that she had gained weight. Under the watchful eye of mother Lucy and her team, Anne has continued to gain weight and can now sit up in a Bumbo seat and enjoy watching the other children as they move about the room. This latest addition was a great reminder to us of what a valuable asset the unit is to the local community.

Another way that the unit helps the local community is by offering reliable day care services for working mothers. As with all Vision Africa projects, the St. Andrews Baby Unit had to undertake some form of income generating activity rather than be 100% dependent on charitable assistance. During the daytime, mothers can pay a small fee to leave their baby in the capable hands of the St. Andrews staff while they go out to work.

The donations we receive from our supporters through GlobalGiving are always put to good use. As you can imagine with 13 babies to care for the ongoing costs for food, toiletries, cleaning materials etc soon mount up. Your donations go a long way to helping us ensure that our babies are well cared for and have a much better start in life than their families’ circumstances would allow. Thank you for your care and support!

Feeding Time
Feeding Time
Oct 11, 2010

Down to Business

Graduates at Work in Kibera
Graduates at Work in Kibera

Now that graduation is over, it’s time for Seed of Hope Class of 2010 to get down to business...literally. It’s now time for them to put into practice all that they have learned and start becoming independent young women.

For one graduate at our Nairobi centre, last Saturday saw her dreams turn to reality as she was given a graduation present of a sewing machine from a group of supporters from Nairobi Chapel. A few months ago we told the story of how the group from the neighbouring church had been amazed at the distance Winnie walked to school each day, having visited her home as part of an exercise to learn about Seed of Hope. Every day, Winnie left home at 6am to reach school by 8am and then had the same two hour walk to get home at the end of the day. Despite this, she had one of the best attendance records and was one of the most punctual students. Whilst visiting her home, the group from Nairobi Chapel learned that she lives with her sister who has two young children and life is not easy for the family. Touched by Winnie’s story and her dedication to her studies, they decided to buy her a sewing machine so that she can start working towards the “wonderful future” she told us that she strives for.

Winnie has been joined by another two girls to start up their small business in Kibera called "Joyful Dressmaking Shop". One of these is Peninah, a graduate from 2009 who has been working for Crafted recently and is now looking to build up a business. She will make a contribution to the start-up costs from money that she has earned in her time with Crafted. The third partner in the business, Hamisa, has strong support for her family with her mother investing in an ironbox, mirror and fabrics. It is anticipated that this partnership will result in a successful business as everyone has made an investment and is willing to work hard. This week, the girls collected their first rent installment from Seed of Hope and set up their shop using garments made in their time at school to complete the display. Another two small businesses will also be set up in other parts of Nairobi by some of the other students.

Not all those who graduated this year have joined a group business. One graduate was offered a job at a local textile business which produces children’s clothes and toys. Another girl has returned to her rural home to set up a business on her own. After completing her course, her aunt felt that she could assist her and provide all that she needed with the exception of a sewing machine which was provided by Seed of Hope. Having been a hard-working student in school and with the strong support of her family we are sure that this is another business that will take off.

These are just a few stories from our Nairobi centre. Our other three centres are going through the same process of setting up Roots businesses at the moment with 6 new businesses in Kisii, 5 in Kitui and 4 in Kariti. We look forward to bringing you more updates over the next few months.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope through GlobalGiving and made it possible for us to train our students and provide them with the sewing machines, rent and licences they require to start up their businesses.

October 12th is a matching day on GlobalGiving. If you like what we’re doing, please spread the word and help us raise funds to continue supporting girls and offering them Dignity, Hope and Opportunity.

Joyful Dressmaking Shop
Joyful Dressmaking Shop
Sep 18, 2010

Class of 2010 Graduates!

Two of the Nairobi Graduates
Two of the Nairobi Graduates

The last few months have been busy for Seed of Hope. Both our first and second year students have been sitting their external trade exams and in September we saw three out of our four centres hold their graduation ceremonies. These two events are closely linked – traditionally, Seed of Hope has held graduations in December but since our second year students started sitting their trade exams, a number of them were able to find employment and put their skills to good use before their graduation ceremony. This year, it was decided that graduations would be held shortly after the exams so that all students who had completed their course at Seed of Hope would be there.

The graduations were held at our Kisii, Kitui and Nairobi centres with our Kariti ceremony scheduled to take place on the 6th October. As always, the graduations were colourful events with the girls wearing outfits they had designed and produced for themselves. At the Nairobi centre there was a fashion show as each girl made a grand entrance to show off her creation. At the end of the ceremony two of the students put on bridal outfits they had made as first years and gave the crowd an extra treat as they walked “up the aisle” together and had their first dance.

At each of the centres, the income generating activities are becoming more established and the three rural centres are doing a great job in providing their feeding program through cultivating their shambas (land used for farming). Despite the arid conditions, Kitui centre in Kangweni has even managed to grow some sukuma (kales) and cowpeas this year. The installation of a water pump by the Dunfermline Rotary club has made it easier for water to be fetched for watering the vegetables but it is hoped that a borehole can be dug so that there is sufficient water to irrigate a larger area of the shamba. This centre has also been rearing chickens and rabbits to generate income. On a tour of the compound before the graduation ceremony we were told that the local community barters with the Seed of Hope centre and will give them small chicks to rear in exchange for rabbits which are a local delicacy.

“Crafted” is a social enterprise that has been set up to support the Nairobi Seed of Hope centre but also allows fantastic opportunities for us to raise awareness of the Seed of Hope program. In recent months Crafted clothing has appeared in a number of fashion shows, designs were included in an exhibition by local telcom company Safaricom and our jewellery Crafters were invited to share their skills and hold a workshop for young children. You can find out more about these events and keep up to date with Crafted on our blog http://craftedkenya.wordpress.com

Once again, we’d really like to express our appreciation for the support donors have shown through GlobalGiving. The funds we receive make a great difference and allow us to keep running our centres which are changing the lives of disadvantaged girls in Kenya and giving them dignity, hope and opportunity. Thank you for being a part of this!

Celebrating the Big Day
Celebrating the Big Day
Graduate from (the very dry!) Kitui
Graduate from (the very dry!) Kitui

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