The program has now admitted four girls who have completed two months now and exhibit a high degree of learning and change. Much of the activities were indoor and meant to propel individual growth, leaving the month of September to concentrate on outdoor/field activities to interact with other girls and women. Mentors have occasionally joined to offer individual and group mentorship and covered various topical issues like relationships, health and hygiene, careers, businesses and spirituality. Interestingly, the girls are also offering peer mentorship which is an unexpected outcome of the project.
The girls have undergone lessons that have built communication skills that are evidenced by their relationships compared to behavior exhibited when they joined the program. One of the learning methodologies has been through group discussions, preparing Power-point presentations and teaching others on topics assigned as well as taking turns to chair weekly meetings
The group is eager to get girls from their communities organized so that they too can learn. Mentorship was a new concept to them, but they have come to practically and out of experience understand it and can say it is everything that girls would need to have their lives totally transformed. They are longing to go back home, gather girls who have no hope of success in life and walk with them the success journey. I asked each of them how the program has been so far and responded as follows:
Cecily is glad that she has found a ‘home and parents’ and is no longer feeling an orphan. Her hope has been restored. The concept of community service has become very meaningful to her and she feel that she can mentor other orphaned girls to show them that they can still face life successfully. In her own words, “this program has stimulated me to appreciate people and know that I do not only need to help my siblings and those related to me. I now look at the world with different lens, that my happiness is not complete until all are happy, especially other girls. My task henceforth will be to preach this hope and inspire others to do something good to someone else."
Margaret has tremendously acquired computer skills. She now has an active email address, can access information from the internet, is conversant with all Microsoft applications and very proud that she can tutor others given a chance. Moreover she can now confidently stand and talk in front of a group, something she could not when she joined SAWA. In her own words “When I joined SAWA, my self-esteem was too low having been brought up to believe that as a Maasai girl, my place at family and community level is always second-class and that I do not measure to the standards of girls from other communities. My experience having lived for a month with girls from other communities is that we are all equal and capable; they respect me which make me feel good about myself. The lessons on Women’s Rights have particularly been eye-opening. I want to go back to girls in my village and show them that they too are first-class girls. Thank you SAWA for making me believe in myself”
For Caroline, courage and determination - prerequisites to succeed in life are virtues that have brought a lot of meaning in her life. I have learnt to be focused in life and shed off anything that disrupts this, major among them irresponsible sex. She is more touched that sponsors of the program include girls doing ‘odd jobs’ like baby-sitting and dog sitting. “just like other youths from my community, I classified certain jobs as demeaning. My perspective has changed and I can now do anything to earn a living as long as it is something ethical. I know of many girls in my village who are languishing in poverty, yet several jobs like for house-helps exist. It is my duty to educate and change their perspectives.”
For Wairimu who is preparing to join university in October this year, there has been wholesome learning experiences that has transformed her thinking and would positively shape her life henceforth as she summarizes it ‘as I prepare to join university later in the year, I am well equipped to choose my career wisely, be cautious about my reproductive health to avoid unplanned pregnancy and build a pool of friends that I will introduce the concept of peer mentorship to.’
In summary, the project is off to a great start. Your help and support are greatly appreciated.
Our new organization, Dentcare Kenya, is up and running. We are a group of oral hygienists, dental nurses and qualified (practicing) dentists and dental students. We came together to serve the disadvantaged population because in Kenya the number of registered dental practitioners is about 1000, compared to the country’s population of 40 million people. This means that very few people are able to access dental care with all their needs being met.
So far we have carried out 3 dental outreach programs. One on April 14 in the Kibera slum area (the largest slum in Kenya), the next one on April 29th in Nairobi’s commercial business district and the third on May 1st in Ruai, a suburb of Nairobi.
We partnered with Mouth and Image to provide a free dental clinic in the Kibera slum in Nairobi. The aim of Mouth and Image Kenya is educate persons about good oral health, possible dental interventions depending on the disease, and to encourage those with dental ailments to visit a dentist for treatment. We examined and helped over 800 persons. The people were very grateful for having someone attend to their dental problems. At times we get to chose the venues ourselves while at other times we partner with the local sponsors e.g. churches,NGOs or individuals.
Please find attached pictures of the camp we did in the Nairobi commercial business district. I am pictured taking a history from a client and my colleagues are also pictures providing a brief oral screening. Mouth and Image provided education and also face painting for the children which was well received.
We are very encouraged with the success of our Dentcare Kenya nonprofit thus far. Many people have expressed their gratitude for helping relieve their pain and for providing them with oral health education. It is such a reward to know that we are helping improve people’s lives. Thank you for helping support us in this mission.
Until next time
6th Report May 28, 2012
Thank you so much for supporting Dennis Mutwiri, Nafisa Ayuko, and Michael Murigi, who have benefited greatly from the combination of university education and leadership training through community development activities. Importantly, their communities have benefited as much as they have. The projects have all progressed well as initial plans have been implemented and expanded. Below is an update on the specific progress they have made to improve the lives of their community members and their community environments.
Nafisa Ayuka’s report - Improvement of girl child education through raising poultry and sanitary towels.
Sewing: The women’s group continues to be very pleased with the sewing machine and sewing skills they have learned through initiation of my project. They make children’s clothes and school uniforms. The profits are helping them pay the school fees for their children and purchase school supplies.
Sanitary towels: The reusable sanitary towel project has really helped the girls stay in school during their monthly periods. We were going to use this project as an income generating project, but when we found that girls have such little money, we ended up just giving the towels to the girls and also teaching them to make their own.
Goats: The group has acquired a few goats (see photo). The woman can sell the goat milk and along with the poultry, this is a good income generation project.
I will be graduating in June and hope to get a job teaching in a school near my village. I so enjoyed my time student teaching at St. Clares Maragoli Girls Secondary School. I loved working with the girls during my student teaching program.
I have learned a lot over the last four years being a PATHWAYS scholar. I am looking forward to continuing to help my community and country.
Dennis Mutwiri’s project – Solar panels, planting trees and fish farming.
I call my members frequently for updates and consultations to keep everything on track. So far, all is well and running to expectation.
Trees: We have new seedlings for planting in the next rainy season, but as I had mentioned earlier, the trees we are raising are not indigenous. We expect that the new trees will perform extremely well in the region and their demand will be high, as well.
Solar Project: The solar project is also running well and we have members reaping from it. It has helped in saving household income by substituting perfectly for fuels. More importantly, it has become an income generating project for community and group members. They are all happy and contented with the benefits they are getting from the solar equipment. It is indeed achieving its key objectives in society. So far, we have had 18 families install the panels. The total number of direct beneficiaries, in this case, is well over 100 heads. We are glad it has been of such impact and benefit to us all.
Fish Farming: The fish farming project has had great progress. We had an officer visiting from the Fisheries department and after sampling, he recommended that we keep them a little longer for better development. This will make them ready for market. My group is intending to conduct a community education whereby we will be demonstrating the nutritional benefits of fish and how to cook them. This will be a form of marketing after which we will later proceed to sell fish to the community.
Merry Go Round or Microloan Project: The merry-go-round project has continued to grow and is benefiting over 15 families with a total of 90 members. The project has also been of benefit to more community members who are in connection to the 90 direct beneficiaries. We hope to achieve higher numbers in the future and impact a larger area.
Thank you for helping me help my community!
Michael Murigi’s report -Growing cassava for food security and income.
Cassava: To help the community better understand what possibilities there are will the production of cassava, I decided to go to the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters to seek for assistance on an exposure tour. After 5 visits, I was introduced to one, Dr. Martha Sila. She is the National head of the Root - Crops Division. I absolutely narrated to her the story of our project and our objectives. She was impressed. She agreed to sponsor us to visit the Nigerian's factory, as I had requested. I was pushing for 100 community members to participate in the tour but she limited the number to 60 because they wanted to see only one bus used. The 60 community members, picked from different families, visited the factory in Makueni County, about 350 Kilometres from our area, last month.
It was an absolute success. The community group was exposed to the factory and the possibilities for expanding our mill operation.
See photos showing the community members traveling by bus to the factory and members holding produced flour.
As I plan to dedicate my life to the service of poor people throughout the developing world, this has been a great learning experience for me.
Again, THANK YOU, for your help to help my community help themselves!