Thank you so much for supporting the PATHWAYS scholars. Today we want to report on the progress Jemimah has made with her community water project as well as the progress of two more junior PATHWAYS scholars, Justus and Eric.
I am now working with two projects. My initial educational promotion and mentorship is the one dealing with the students (youth) who are mostly in secondary school. Over last holiday,we had 35 youth who attended our meetings,15 were ladies and 20 were men. Members have been a lovely group showing enthusiasm and co-operation in the weekly meetings. Community work that we managed to do includes visiting the family of one of us who lost a brother (as I reported earlier).
We also had a get together party over the Christmas festive season which was facilitated using the funds contributed by the members. To mark the end of the holiday meetings, we normally conduct a motivational talk aimed at empowering the members and encourage them as they go back to school and embark on their studies (most of whom are in secondary schools).
In addition, I work with a women group who work in the irrigation project, 9 women in total. Income from the project is quite helpful to the members.
Thank you for all of your support
Besides the poultry project that is doing quite well, I introduced another project to the women during the short Christmas holidays. I managed to teach a few of the women how to make bags. I only had a few materials for that and so they made three big bags and two small ones. It was amazing how fast they grasped the skill and they are willing to teach the rest and continue with it as part of their overall income generating project. The big bags were going for one thousand five hundred and the small ones for three hundred shillings and the demand is so high. It is very encouraging for the women who can use the funds to help pay their childrens’ school fees.
Eric I am working with the organization my cousin founded that helps rescue girls who are at risk for or who have experience female genital mutilation. Recently, 14 girls were rescued. Most of them were rescued during the long December holiday when the high season of FGM and marriage occurs. A few are total orphans and very needy and are at risk of getting married if they don't join form one after performing well. All the girls have admission letters to different high schools across the country. Josephine is trying all her best to make sure they join school although she is still looking for support.
One of the girls, Sarafina had this to say "Despite the fact that i had passion to study,I never thought that I will ever study since my parents were rooted to culture. I don't mean that our culture is bad but some of the practices e.g FGM,beading and early marriage are evil. I am very happy to have attained 343 marks but all my gratitude goes to Josephine Kulea who have been a good mother to me and who rescued me from early marriage. My dream is to become a doctor and an activist of women in our community and I am working hard to it. I am angered by some of our educated friends who despite seeing the light are still supporting this evil practices. I hope after some time we will have change in our community where all women will have freedom."
With sincere appreciation,
The year 2014 opens with celebrations for our nonprofit Solidarity for the Advancement of Women's Agenda (SAWA) as we count the number of girls joining high school with confidence – thanks to the mentorship program. The role of mentorship in this case has been:
All the girls who are direct beneficiaries of our program started such mentorship projects in their respective villages and in total we have, from those groups, 13 girls aged 13-14 years who scored between 285 and 395 marks out of the possible 500 and have invitation letters to join various high schools. They are reporting to school this month.
The month of January also saw the launch of a mini-project at the SAWA office where girls come to the office to do practice/practicals on areas of their potential careers on Sunday afternoons. For example those interested in journalism like the 10 year old Catherine will write articles, peruse National Newspapers to indentify current themes and practice taking photos using our cameras. Others would model bank cashiers/tellers and spend time counting dummy notes and balancing accounts. SAWA office is thus busier on Sundays than any other day of the week. It is such an amazing scenario to watch and marvel at what young girls can do given opportunities.
Last week we visited a group composed of both primary and secondary school girls (aged 10 – 17) which works with Margaret, one of our direct beneficiaries. Although Margaret is busy in her tailoring shop that she started after the business skills acquired at SAWA, she meets the group on the afternoon of the last Sunday of the month to give inspirational talks and give girls an opportunity to communicate and so build their confidence. The encouraging story I gathered from this meeting was from Dorcas, an 11 year old class 6 pupil whose parents Margaret has convinced not to take through female genital mutilation (FGM). Margaret and the group comes from the Maasai community which is very well known to engage in FGM, early forced marriages and not keen to educate girls.
Since December last year, SAWA is collaborating with the Methodist church where we are training women to become mentors. This follows the realization that although the church is able to provide spiritual nurture, there is a social and enterprising component lacking, a gap which can be filled through mentorship. Most of the women in this church are well educated with good careers and businesses and have been very receptive of our training.
We are grateful to all well wishers who have facilitated us to empower girls in Kenya and give them an opportunity to achieve their dreams.
8th Report February 2014
We have done 2 more dental camps since November 2013. We served over 100 attendees, whose issues ranged from impacted teeth to dental caries. As you know, I fund these free community dental clinics, in part from the funds I raise in my reduced cost neighborhood clinics.
I recently acquired a prime location for a new reduced cost neighborhood dental clinic and I intend to have the clinic running by mid next month. Many persons who would not otherwise have access to dental care are served at these clinics. The first clinic I opened in a low income neighborhood, the Mihango Clinic, is doing all fine and we are seeing numbers going up. Currently, we now see about 80 patients every month. In Kenya there has recently been a change in the government healthcare system. We are now under the new county government system unlike previously where we were employees of the national (central) government. The new system has a lot of issues to be dealt with that’s why I have chosen to study Health Care Management and Health Economics. With this knowledge I hope to improve dental and medical services for the poor in Kenya.
Thank you for your continued support of Dentcare Kenya.
Have a blessed day,