Jul 29, 2021

The Educational Business Hub is almost finished!

Construction almost complete!
Construction almost complete!

Hello,

After a challenging few months coping with restrictions in place due to COVID-19, we are delighted to announce that the construction of the new Educational Business Hub in Kitui will be completed next week!

We are hosting a handing over ceremony next Friday, with key members and leaders of the local community and graduates invited to formally open the Hub. Graduates will be able to use the Hub to launch their business, gain extra tuition and support in running a successful business, manage their finances and learn how to use computers.

We have also launched a new short 7 week course to teach business skills, financial literacy and computer skills at Seed of Hope Kitui so this will be taught from the Hub too. A new computer cafe will also be opened, for the community to use. The money generated from the computer cafe will contirbute towards the running costs of the hub in the future.

We still need to fully furnish and equipment the Hub so are still in need of support for computers and equipment for the graduates to use to launch their successful businesses.

I look forward to sharing photos with you when it is fully complete and open for graduates.

Thank you for your kind support for this valuable project.

With best wishes,

Kirsty
Co-Director

kirsty@raisingfutureskenya.org.uk

Jul 7, 2021

The impact of COVID-19 continues

Linet - Seed of Hope student
Linet - Seed of Hope student

Hello,

I hope you are well and have been able to get together with loved ones recently.

In my last email I mentioned that students were delighted to be back in the classroom. Sadly 2 weeks later Kenya went into another lockdown, thankfully this has now been lifted and the vaccine rollout is underway.

As I'm sure you understand, it will be a long time before things return to normal. Sadly unemployment has doubled in Kenya since COVID-19, with a staggering 1.5million young people now out of work. Many families live hand-to-mouth and the casual labour jobs they previously relied upon have been lost. We've seen firsthand the devastating impact this has had. With very few jobs available, self-employment can provide an opportunity to earn a living.

Mary, Florence and the team in Kenya have interviewed 300+ members of the community to assess the impact of COVID-19 on employment and business opportunities, and what training and skills are needed locally. The results showed we urgently needed to make changes to our Seed of Hope vocational training programme to cope with a huge increase in demand for technical and business skills training. This is coupled with a significant drop in funding available to international development charities, including cuts to Government funding, which we had previously received.

To address the increase in demand, and the drop in funding, we are now condensing our technical vocational training courses into 6 months instead of 12 months. Mary and Florence have worked closely with the training authorities to develop a curriculum which covers everything the students need, in a shorter time. This will mean students can learn their skill and start earning quicker, and it means we can train double the number of students at no extra cost.

We are also introducing a new Business, Financial Literacy and Computer Skills short course at all 3 centres which will run for 7 weeks and teach young people everything they need to know to launch a small business and earn a secure income.

These changes will mean in the next year we are able to support 900 vulnerable young people to build a bright, financially secure future, previously this was just 250. Within 3 months of completing the courses we anticipate 90% of students will have set up their own small business or gained employment, and within 6 months we anticipate they will be earning enough to live above the poverty line.

This new beginning for Seed of Hope starts this month with the new cohort of students joining us. We're really excited about the opportunities that await these young people with the right training and support.

This wouldn't be possible without you standing by us. Thank you for helping us get through the toughest year we have faced. We know this has been a difficult time for everyone and your support means the world to us, thank you. 

 

Linet’s story

 

We support young people like Linet, who had an incredibly traumatic childhood, experiencing ongoing sexual abuse and becoming a mother of twins at an early age. Despite performing well at secondary school, before joining Seed of Hope Linet struggled to make ends meet, with no practical skills or opportunities for further education or training.

“My life wouldn’t have been good without Seed of Hope. I’ve found everything that I’ve never had before. I don’t know where I would have been right now without it, I would have been demoralised, I probably would have died because of my low self-esteem and depression.” 

Linet joined Seed of Hope in 2019, completing a vocational training course and accessing mental health support through the programme. She graduated with a qualification in Fashion Design and is now a tailor at the company where she did her work experience. As well as supporting her twins, she is now able to send money to support her six siblings with their education and hopes to start her own business when she has saved enough. 

 

Stay safe and thank you once again for your incredibly generous and kind support.

Best wishes,

Kirsty
UK Director

May 14, 2021

School farms are thriving!

Tomatoes ready for harvesting soon
Tomatoes ready for harvesting soon

Thank you for your kind and generous support to enable two special educational needs schools in Kenya become fully self-reliant.  Unfortunately the 9 month school closure in Kenya due to COVID-19 last year, and a further lockdown in March this year, has delayed the progress of the income generating projects at both schools.  We are still very hopeful that both schools will be generating enough income to no longer require external support by the end of the summer this year.  Increasing their sustainability, and reducing reliance on overseas funding, will make the schools more resilient and able to help future generations of children.

School lunches and physiotherapy services

All students returned to the two schools in January when they reopened, they were delighted to be back with their friends.  The two schools were supported with a feeding programme for the learners’ lunches and with physiotherapy services.

The school lunches were especially important as the majority of the parents could not afford to pay the school fees, although they are highly subsidised, due to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy and the majority of them sadly losing their livelihoods and jobs. The learners enjoyed hot meals for their breakfast, lunch and dinner, and additional mid-morning and evening snacks thanks to the feeding programme support from you and a grant from Help Every Day.

The physiotherapy sessions were also very well received by the parents and the teachers especially since most learners had missed those while at home for 9 months in 2020. The parents could not hide their joy when collecting their children for the school holiday when they saw the improvement their children had made from the therapy sessions!

Income generating activities

Percy Davies school, with the support of the Rotary Club of Parklands in Nairobi, built a small building to house the new posho mill in.  The building was completed in mid-March after approval and sign-off by the government public works officer.  They also had high voltage power installed in the house to run the posho mill.  

Unfortunately, on March 26th, Kenya went into a second lockdown and cessation of movement due to escalating cases of COVID-19.  The delivery of the posho mill was postponed until the movement restrictions could be lifted.  The restrictions were lifted on 1st May and we are delighted to say that the posho mill has now been delivered and is ready for use!

The greenhouse in Percy Davies was planted with tomatoes by the beginning of March after the tomatoes had germinated from their nurseries in February.  The training of the teachers and non-teaching staff to tender the tomatoes continued with an agronomist supervising their progress fortnightly.  The team has done an excellent job and the tomatoes started fruiting in April and they should be having their first harvest by the end of May 2021.

We are very excited to see the progress of the green house and are looking forward to the first harvest soon!  This wouldn’t have been possible without your kind support and a grant from Help Every Day, thank you!

The school continues to tend to the orange and mango trees in their farm and are positive they should be getting their first harvest by December this year as the trees have already started flowering and fruiting in small numbers. Their maturity period is at two years and therefore we expect that all should be fruiting later this year. They have also intercropped seasonal beans with the fruit trees as they are yet to form big canopies to restrict ground farming. The beans will be used fully to supplement their feeding programme and are expected to be harvested in June 2021.

The school reopened for the second term this year on 11th May as the COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted allowing schools to re-open again.  We are looking forward to more engagement and witnessing a major success for the income generating activity projects in the school. The feeding programme for the lunches and the physiotherapy support will continue in this term with an agreed phase off by the end of July when the schools will be ending the second term.

On behalf of the children, teachers and everyone at Raising Futures Kenya, thank you for your kind support which is enabling these two schools to become more sustainable and self reliant.

Posho mill to generate income for the school
Posho mill to generate income for the school
Fruit trees growing well
Fruit trees growing well
Beans will be ready in June
Beans will be ready in June
 
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