Stunning designs, displays of craftwork, proud teachers and happy students – November saw graduations at all four Seed of Hope centres in Kisii, Kitui, Muranga and Nairobi. Approximately 115 girls graduated this year on completion of their two year course. To mark the event, each graduate was presented with four certificates – MicroBusiness Skills, Life Skills, Vocational Skills and overall achievement.
At each centre, the students put together a display of their work to show parents and guests. At the Kitui centre, first year students were on hand to take people on guided tours of the compound before the graduation ceremony. These tours showed the work that was being done on the shamba (farming of crops), income generating activities such as beekeeping and chicken breeding as well as an introduction to each of the subjects studied as part of the two year course. At this centre, the first year students had also used their lifeskills lessons to bake a cake for the graduates. This was shared out amongst the graduates, students and guests.
Also included in the program at each centre were testimonies from girls explaining how Seed of Hope has changed their lives. One of the most moving speeches was by a Nairobi graduate who told the audience how she had passed her primary school exams “with flying colours” but her parents were unable to afford secondary school fees. She then went on to say how she felt upset, useless and ashamed as she watched her classmates go to secondary school while she was left at home. There was a silence as this girl stood before a tent full of people and told them that in her darkest moment she even wanted to die. In her words, “an angel” (family friend) came to her mother and told her about Seed of Hope. After being interviewed and enrolled, she then started the program which she feels gave her the opportunity to turn her life around. As she spoke with a confidence which she says is a skill gained in her time at Seed of Hope, there was no doubt that this is one graduate who is going to work hard to succeed in life.
Each year, second year students are required to create their own graduation outfits. This year, this formed part of the final project and was a competition between the four centres. The top designers from each centre all came together at the Nairobi graduation. This was a great opportunity for the graduates to see the work of their fellow students from other parts of the country.
Leading the way in terms of fashion design was the Nairobi centre. As in recent years, a fashion show was held and each second year student had produced an outfit to be modelled by a first year student. This year, the first years requested the opportunity to play a bigger role and designed outfits for a bride and bridegroom which featured in the show. The headteacher from the Muranga centre told us that her graduates who attended the Nairobi event had been inspired and wanted to go back and tell their fellow students to raise the bar next year in terms of design.
One of the key messages at each graduation ceremony was appreciation for the support shown by Vision Africa donors and sponsors. Emily, a graduate from Kitui centre said that she would like to thank the sponsors because “the knowledge we have and the things we have are because of you”. We would like to echo this message and pass on our gratitude on behalf of all students and graduates of Seed of Hope and we hope that with your help we will be able to continue our program in the coming years.
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