We hope you have been well. We are now rolling out project out in phases as we continue to work toward our budget goal. We are training 8 students, have purchased machines and materials, hired one tailoring skills trainer and rented program space for six months. Your funds are also allowing us to offer an HIV/AIDS voluntary testing and counseling program twice a month. In May, we were visited by a Global Giving field representative and were pleased she could see our progress first hand.
The following quote is from Mercy Nyadia, an 18-year old program participant: “… I was very hopeless, desperate for something to do in order to… make a living. Here in Shauri Yako slums there is nothing to do, you cannot go out and look for a job if you don’t have good education or any skills. Everybody here is fighting for survival, women are vulnerable to abuse, and sex related diseases, HIV/AIDS and being sold to slavery. I had given up, and SYSC’s program has given me hope… I want us to form a cooperative with others and start a small business or Jua kali, making affordable women’s sanitary pads. SYSC will assist us to get a micro loan. I am sure the business will help me become independent and be able to support my family. I know that I will succeed. Thank you.”
As you no doubt know, Kenya is suffering from the worst drought in 60 years. Media and aid sources are reporting that 11 million people are in need of food aid. Those hardest hit live in Kenya’s drought-stricken northeast provinces as well as the urban poor. Upwards of 400,000 refuges have entered Kenya, with another 1,800 arriving each day. In Shauri Yako, many cannot afford two meals a day and we are witnessing the starvation of small children and pregnant women. Although the government has promised food and funding for the ‘urban most needy’, it is not enough.
We have been working with government representatives and other stakeholders to brainstorm ideas for food security and poverty reduction. Since about half of Nyeri’s 250,000-person population is unemployed youth without job skills, permanent solutions can’t rely on investments in modern agricultural technology alone. We must provide in-demand job training to give youth a sustainable alternative to poverty.
We thank you, our friends, for helping us address this great need. We will continue to work towards our budget goal so we can implement our whole project.
A. Mucheru (Project Coordinator) and Joe Mwai (Chair)
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