Over the last few weeks, I have spent time with two of Seed of Hope's graduates who are running their own businesses. Their experiences show how young ladies' lives can be changed through an investment in a small business.
We had a team of teachers visiting from the UK to volunteer at some of our projects. As part of their introduction to our work, we took them to visit Winnie at her business in Kibera. Winnie was living with her sister when she was at Seed of Hope. Her sister had a small child and they were all in a one-roomed house, struggling for survival. Winnie would walk for two hours to get to school each day and at that time there was no feeding programme and her sister couldn't afford to send her with lunch so she survived her walk to school, full day of studies and walk home with nothing to eat. Winnie was determined to make her life better.
After graduating, Winnie was supported to set up in business with two other graduates but the other girls decided to go their own way - one getting employed and the other setting up shop on her own in another part of Nairobi. Winnie continued to run the business and has now been supporting herself for two years. When we visited her, she told us that she now rents her own house, runs the business and manages to send money to her mother to support her and another younger sibling who live upcountry. There was definitely pride in Winnie's voice as she told this story. The first group of visitors were more than happy to buy some of her products. By the time we went with a second group the following day, Winnie had already used some of the proceeds to buy fabric and make more bags to sell to our visitors. Clearly those lessons in marketing and business paid off!
Another of our graduates, Rosebella, has kept up her studies since leaving Seed of Hope. One of the first girls to graduate, Rosebella struggled to get her business off the ground but once she got started there was no stopping her. She decided that she wanted to do a Diploma in Fashion Design but no college would accept her as she hadn't completed her secondary education. Undetered, Rosebella used her business to fund herself through her secondary school exams. When I met her a few weeks ago, she was on her way to college to start her course in Fashion Design having passed her secondary school exams and enrolled to do the course of her dreams. Depsite all the studies, Rosebella has maintained her business and even grown it through loans from KIVA.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project on Global Giving to give more young ladies the opportunity to be independent and successful like Winnie and Rosebella. With your support, lives are being changed.
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