Each new year at Seed of Hope begins with a flurry of activity as our teaching team work hard to enrol new students. Since January we have enrolled 191 girls who have joined our vocational training to acquire knowledge and skills in different courses of their choice. There are several new courses that were introduced so that we could attract many young girls to join Seed of Hope – such as Business Administration, Basic Computing, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Agribusiness and metal work.
The enrolment process is facilitated by our work in the community through our outreach ‘Empowerment Clubs’. These clubs are run by Seed of Hope staff in the communities surrounding our centres. They help us to identify and build relationships with disadvantaged girls in the community in order to prepare them for enrolment at Seed of Hope.
Some of these Empowerment Clubs target young mothers who have been forced to drop out of education because of their pregnancies. These young mothers have pleaded with the management of Seed of Hope that they might be given a chance to make something out of their difficult situation. Many of the young mothers are forced into early marriages according to traditional beliefs while others were rejected and sent away by their families.
In addition to new courses at Seed of Hope Centres, a pilot program that goes by the name Amuka was introduced at our Nairobi centre. Amuka means ‘Wake Up’ or ‘Rise Up’ in Swahili. This is a two week program designed to help the students develop self-awareness, build their self-confidence and helps them to explore their purpose whilst developing core values. This was extremely successful and, as a result, will be rolled out to all the centres in the coming year.
The students have already taken on leadership roles within Seed of Hope as a result. Hearing from previous graduates had a significant impact as it has helped them to see the possibilities and increased their confidence in themselves and the opportunities ahead of them.
There’s so much happening at Seed of Hope! It’s an exciting place to be! There’s not much space to mention them here but a couple of other highlights have been:
The work of Seed of Hope exists because We Believe in Girls! We believe in their potential to change the world, their potential to shape brighter futures for themselves and their potential to create positive impact wherever they go! If you believe in these young girls, we’d love for you to get involved in the work of Seed of Hope! Global Giving have two special bonus days coming up. The first is for our friends and partners in the UK – it launches on Monday 2nd March at 2pm GMT and you have the chance to have your donations matched with an extra 50%. Global Giving will add 50% to all donations up to £500! This campaign will run for one week but get in early before matching funds run out. Donations must be made through Global Giving UK, not the US site!
But don’t worry – if you’re in the US, you’ll have your chance! The bonus day for our friends and partners in the US is March 18th! We’ll send you more details nearer the time.
Please consider making a donation as part of these bonus days! Your giving really does go a long way. Every little helps!
Thank you all for your ongoing support of our work!
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!
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