It’s the end of another great year at Seed of Hope.
Over the last few weeks we have seen students graduate from the four Seed of Hope centres. As always, these have been colourful events with Fashion Design students showing off their final project work by wearing an outfit they designed and made for themselves. There were also great performances of songs, poems and dramas by both the first and second year students.
At each ceremony, one of the graduating students spoke about how their life was transformed by Seed of Hope. The Nairobi centre was celebrating its 11th graduation ceremony and Sarah told the guests:
"Before I joined Seed of Hope I didn’t know my life had a meaning because after I had finished my primary school exams I couldn’t go to high school because of lack of school fees. I was forced to stay at home to help my parents with house chores.
Through studying at Seed of Hope I have become a better person because I have learnt so many things that I couldn’t even believe I could. I have gained knowledge and skills that have made me who I am. I have learnt business skills, life skills and vocational skills. These subjects made me improve everything like self-esteem and self-confidence…
After graduating from Seed of Hope I will go for my attachment and after that I am hoping to start my own business and to further my studies.”
Former students from the Seed of Hope programme also attended the graduation ceremonies and had words of encouragement for the graduating students. At the Nairobi centre Rosebella, one of the first ever Seed of Hope graduates, also had advice to share with the parents and guardians of graduating students. She encouraged them to support their children and work with them rather than just sit back and place too much expectation on them to provide for the family. From the success stories we have heard over the last few years we know that Seed of Hope graduates have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of their families if they are given the support they require in the early days.
Our thanks go to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope through GlobalGiving. The funds we receive from this platform ensure that Seed of Hope can continue to offer training opportunities to girls who have nowhere else to turn.
With your support, we look forward to making 2015 another successful year!
In the meantime, on behalf of the staff, students and graduates of Seed of Hope we wish you all the very best this Festive Season.
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.
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