The countdown to this year’s mother’s day is excitedly on. Only a couple of days remain ahead of the 10th May holiday to be celebrated in honor of all mothers to express gratitude for the hardships they bear in bringing up children. Mothers Day came into being due to the efforts made by Ms Julia Ward Howe and Ms Anna Jarvis. The Resolution for having a dedicated Mother's Day was signed by US President Woodrow Wilson on May 8, 1914. Since then people across the world have been celebrating Mothers Day with joy, fondness and dedication. This year, the day falls on a Sunday.
At Juhudi, we have lined up a couple of activities for the teenage mothers rescued from early marriages. These include fun games, team building activities, stage shows, poetry, comedy and dance. Later, the teenage mothers are expected to visit the Saiwa National park on the outskirts of Kitale town to enjoy the natural beauty of wildlife. During the visit, they are expected to see a variety of wild animals that they had hitherto only read about.
These activities have been organized in order to appreciate the difficult times these young girls went through as well as erasing the condemnation they had received from the society. They should be able to feel that they are in solidarity with the rest of the mothers in the world, and more so that “They are not lesser mothers!” This is one of the unwinding processes the organization using help in trauma healing, therefore all support is welcome. “I look forward to having fun on mothers’ day; I can’t wait to recite the poem I have for my mum” said Ebby, a beneficiary.
Juhudi Children in Crisis project beneficiaries were among the over 800 youths who participated in a 4 day event dubbed “Youth Behaviour Change Easter Sports Festival 2009” The event which ran from 10th to 13th April 2009 at the TYSA grounds in Trans-nzoia East District was organized by Trans-nzoia Youth Sports Association (TYSA) in collaboration with World Vision Kenya. The theme of the sports extravaganza was “Shifting the youth to positive thinking”
The objective of the event was to equip the youths with life skills for positive behavior change. Given that the youth are dynamic and innovative yet very destructive if not well directed, this was meant to create awareness as well as forestall harmful behaviour such as violence, drug abuse, irresponsible sex and indiscipline.
The medium of sports was used to reach out to the youth. Several activities were held including focused group discussions on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, career choice, positive thinking, self esteem and drug abuse. Also held were sports and games activities among them Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Netball, Darts, and Tug of war. Information sharing and exchange was well articulated through dissemination of Information, Education and Communication (I.E.C) materials, Music, poetry, dance and drama during the four days.
The event provided a perfect Easter holiday to the youth, as recreation, leisure and educative goals were all met at one go. The Juhudi project beneficiaries expressed their gratitude and satisfaction as it was highly beneficial to them. They would wish that the event be held annually, if other partners can support or sponsor the initiative. Please feel free to forward your feedback regarding this update.
Students from George Washington University in the USA visited Kenya in the third week of March 2009 on behalf of Globalgiving. They had the opportunity to visit and learn more about Juhudi’s projects. Christine Illanes and Michael Acton who arrived on 15th of March 2009 had very cordial and informative talks with the Juhudi Children in Crisis representative in Nairobi on 18th March 2009. The meeting was an open forum of free discussions about Juhudi organization, its donors and Globalgiving’s effort to connect them to their noble causes.
Christine and Mike shared their objective of visiting Kenya for interviews. They were visiting on behalf of Globalgiving to establish the information that donors would respond to best about projects that interest them. They also illustrated how ranking of projects is done and the criteria utilized. They provided several information handouts from Globalgiving that answered the most frequently asked questions about GG’s marketplace and how it works. The handouts were very ideal in marketing Globalgiving to other organizations in Kenya that may be interested in raising funds for community projects.
Mike and Christine also had the opportunity to learn about Juhudi, which is a Kiswahili term for “effort”. They received a narrative background of the inspiration behind the organization’s inauguration way back in 2005 as well as a written brief profile of the organization. They were briefed on how the project had transformed lives of indigenous community children and more so the feedback received from the actual beneficiaries. Indeed they were absolutely impressed by the good work at Juhudi. The Juhudi Board of directors on the other hand profoundly appreciated the endeavor by Globalgiving to go an extra mile in obtaining first hand feedback from beneficiary organizations. We believe the information shared will be resourceful in taking community projects to the next level. This exercise was very commendable as it added value to our fund raising strategies and therefore we recommend that it remains an on going engagement.
Ebby Nyapara, a 19 year old girl received admission to join a private dressmaking school in one of the suburbs of Eldoret town, North Rift Kenya. She started attending classes on the 27th of February 2009, courtesy of Juhudi’s efforts to rescue her from neglect and violent parents in her rural home. Her dream is to become a world class designer.
Ebby’s woes started when she dropped out of school in November last year (2008), after getting pregnant. Her parents were annoyed by this occurrence and hence mistreated her leaving her so depressed. She could sometimes spend two to four days without food, as she was prevented from accessing the family facilities. Unfortunately due to the frustration, misery and poor pre natal care, the pregnancy was miscarried in the month of January this year. This made her weak, sickly and miserable.
Prior to joining the dressmaking school, she was treated at Hope Medical centre and continues to receive periodic medical check up from professionals affiliated to the centre. She also underwent trauma and psychological counseling from hired professional counselors.
When interviewed about her new status as a dress making student, this is what Ebby had to say. “I had lost hope of ever continuing with education after my own parents disowned me”, “But now with the dressmaking skills I shall acquire from here, I look forward to dressing the whole world one day”.
It is quite encouraging to note how positive she is now, yet a couple of weeks ago she had despaired. Ebby’s classmates were delighted to receive her and were quite empathetic on learning of her story. They find her a team player and also quite humorous. She participates actively in group work assignments and discussions.
Juhudi Organization is most grateful to the donors who have lent a hand in bringing positive change in Ebby’s life. Please keep up the great job as we help her achieve her greatest dream of becoming a world class designer. Who knows; she could design your fabric one day!
Director of Sustainability
Anne Nanjala, one of the girls rescued from marriage by Juhudi organization volunteers has been successfully attending weekly counseling sessions to help her heal from the trauma of being forced into marriage.
The sessions have been necessitated by Anne’s previous attitude towards male teachers, which she developed against men while in the brief painful marriage union. Because of her immediate experiences, Anne has been having a mind-set that all men are bad. However, to reverse this trend, we at Juhudi have engaged services of an external counselor to help her out of that mind state.
We thank those who have contributed towards this noble course and we are happy to report that it is adding value due to the positive results being witnessed. We also thank Mabel the counselor, for finding time to attend to Anne despite her busy schedule in the counseling profession.
This is what Anne said a week ago when asked about what she thought about the male teachers in her school: “When I came here to join the school, I wasn’t free as I thought the male teachers were just like the cruel man who had forcefully married me”. “But now I realize that they are actually out to assist me get educated, I am no longer afraid”.
We welcome comments on this update from all our sponsors and readers.
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