The final term is underway for Seed of Hope students. For those in their second year graduation season is fast approaching. A total of 111 girls will be graduating this year across the four Seed of Hope centres.
Kitui Seed of Hope will be the first centre to hold a graduation ceremony this year. The students are busy preparing for the event and have been working on their oufits. Teacher Emmanuel proudly posted a picture on Facebook to give us a sneak preview of some of the dresses that have been made. The centre in Nairobi will host the final graduation of the year at the beginning of December. The girls haven't started their final projects yet but are busy fine tuning their skills in preparation. I commented to the Head Teacher, Florence, that I've never seen the machine room filled with so many outfits before final projects get underway. She explained that this has been one of her most committed groups and they have been keen to practise as much as possible.
This came across over the August holidays when many of the second year students chose to come in to school and practise their stitching. What also came across was the confidence they have gained in their time at Seed of Hope. Sitting in the office one day I could hear chatter and laughter coming from the machine room. I went to see if I could take one photograph of the students who had sacrificed their holiday to come to school...I wasn't prepared for the fashion show that followed! The girls each tried on outfits they had made and asked me to take their photographs. I was amazed at their confidence because when they enrolled early last year they were a very quiet group and it was hard to get them to talk to us. Building up their self-esteem and confidence is part of Seed of Hope's work to empower these girls so they can deal with the many challenges that life throws at them.
Seed of Hope presents graduates with certificates for the various subjects they study including vocational skills, enterprise skills and life skills. For those whose families can find the funds, there is the option to sit national accredited exams which can improve employment prospects. Seventy first year students are currently preparing to sit these exams which will take place in December and thirty of the second years were able to sit the second level in August.
Our thanks to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope by donating through GlobalGiving. Your support is helping Florence, Emmanuel and all the other staff at Seed of Hope equip young girls with Dignity, Opportunity and Hope.
Did you know that GlobalGiving has a Bonus Day on 15th October? All donations up to $1,000 will be matched with 30% until the matching fund runs out. Why not ask your friends to make a big difference by donating that day? Matching begins at 9am EDT and as funds usually run out very quickly we'd recommend making a donation as soon as possible after that.
I recently had the absolute pleasure of catching up with a graduate of Seed of Hope. Alice completed her two year course in 2012 and was always quite a quiet girl.
During her time at Seed of Hope she met an American intern, Allison, who paid a return visit to Kenya in June. Allison had asked to follow up on some of the students that she met so we headed out with Gitau, the Nairobi centre's Business and Enterprise teacher.
We discovered that Alice lived quite a distance from the centre where she trained and Gitau explained that her uncle had worked hard to ensure that she could afford the fares for transport while she was a student. When we reached Alice's shop she was busy working hard and had a few customer orders waiting to be worked on. Some were small repairs and others were new clothes to be made. In the thirty minutes that we were there two or three customers passed by the shop either checking up on work or dropping off something to be done.
Alice shared with confidence how she had built up her business and is now proud to say that she can provide for herself and not have to rely on other people.
Allison and her sister were impressed with the range of fabrics on display and even placed orders of their own while Gitau asked to look over Alice's business records to see if she was putting in to practice what he had taught her.
We all left Alice's shop feeling inspired at how her two years at Seed of Hope have changed her life and given her independence.
Thank you to each and every one of you who has supported Seed of Hope through Global Giving and changed not only Alice's life but the lives of many girls who now have a brighter future.
July 16th is the next GlobalGiving Bonus Day when your donations can be matched with up to 50%.
In August 2009, we posted our Seed of Hope project on GlobalGiving to compete in the challenge and secure a permanent place on their website. Since then, over 900 donations have been raised totalling over $39,000. This has supported the training of hundreds of girls across our four Seed of Hope centres. Graduates are now employed or running their own businesses, supporting their families and training other disadvantaged girls in their communities. This has all been possible because of YOU.
The funds received through GlobalGiving keep Seed of Hope going. They ensure that students can learn the skills they need to earn a living and have hope for their future.
Please take a couple of minutes to watch the attached video where graduate Mariam and Seed of Hope Administrator Florence have a message for you.
Message from Seed of Hope
You can also read about a new initiative that will support graduates from the Nairobi Seed of Hope centre. The Dhamira Hub opened on the 2nd of March and will benefit graduates like Mariam as they work towards setting up their own small businesses.
In Nairobi today the vehicles used for public transport are on strike. We had expected this to affect the number of students attending school but were shocked (and very pleasantly surprised) to find the classrooms filled up by 8am. The students value Seed of Hope and the education they receive so they had left home early and many of them walked long distances to ensure they didn't miss a day of school.
Thank you for ensuring that these students had a school to go to!
On behalf of all the staff and students at Seed of Hope, we wish our friends and supporters at Global Giving a Happy Thanksgiving.
There have been great celebrations over the last few weeks as graduation ceremonies took place to mark the achievements of the students. The speeches from graduating students expressed just how much their training has meant to them. They have not only gained practical vocational skills, they are more confident and have a sense of purpose.
Members of the local communities expressed their appreciation for the work of Seed of Hope and encouraged the community to make good use of the training offered by the programme.
This week, representatives of all four Seed of Hope centres met in Nairobi. The agenda was to discuss the curriculum and make improvements so that we have an even better year in 2014!
As the school year draws to a close and we look at all that has been achieved we know it would not have been possible without your generosity.
Seed of Hope students are back in class after a month long holiday. For some of them, the holiday time was used to sit their Government Trade exams which will help them if they choose to seek employment after graduating.
For our second year students, graduation is getting close with the first ceremony on the 24th October at our centre in Kisii, quickly followed by the Nairobi graduation the following day and ceremonies in Kitui and Kariti within the next couple of weeks. The students are busy putting the finishing touches to their final project. They have designed a collection of clothes and produced one item which they will wear to the graduation ceremony. At our Nairobi centre this week, students have also been putting their craft skills to use making jewellery to accessorise their outfit.
Last week, we had a visitor at Seed of Hope Nairobi who spent a couple of hours with a group of second year students. In this short time, she showed the girls how to cut and stitch sunhats for babies. It was amazing to see them quickly pick up this new skill and to see the pride in their work. It was also great to see them interact with the visitor as they would not have had the confidence to do that when they first joined Seed of Hope.
In fact, I was reminded of the recent report for one student, Nereah, which said “She was very shy and would even miss school because of avoiding questions from the teachers or any activity that needed participation of all students. Nowadays, she's one of the celebrities in the school, she is really outgoing." Looking at the picture of the girls modelling their hats last week, I don’t think any of them look shy! The self-confidence that they have gained in their time at Seed of Hope will go a long way to help them in the future.
Your donations have helped them on that journey. Thanks to all our friends at GlobalGiving who have supported Nereah and all the other students at Seed of Hope.
This year, we have been running a campaign called Be The Spark. This asks everyone to find a way to support our work....using their time money or skills. We are looking for staff to improve their projects, local communities to assist and all of our friends to do one thing to help.
Wednesday the 9th October is GlobalGiving's Bonus Day for Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Donations made that day will be matched with 30% until the matching fund of $25,000 is exhausted.
Can you Be The Spark? Tell a friend about the GlobalGiving Bonus Day and ask them to donate on 9th October to make a BIG difference to the lives of our little ones.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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