Aug 27, 2019

Esther: "I want to support other girls who have lost hope"

Esther
Esther

Seed of Hope provides more than skills training to our young people across the counties we are working in Kenya.  The majority of the young people have said that Seed of Hope has enabled them to grow; spiritually, mentally, emotionally and also in different skills.  The graduates also tell us how Seed of Hope has built their confidence, self-esteem and character, which has transformed their lives positively. 

Currently we have girls who have taken up leadership roles thanks to various programmes implemented like the mentorship, Amuka, peer education, and focused group discussions that help to bring out the inner strength and confidence from our girls just like in the case of Esther, a fashion and design student.  Esther joined the Seed of Hope Nairobi centre in the second term of 2018 after trying out casual jobs in order to support her father.  When she enrolled, she would come into class very early and sit alone at the corner where nobody will recognize her presence.  She was softly spoken and shy but managed to stand out among other girls with her mode of dressing, makeup and hair styles. 

It was when Seed of Hope moved to its new premises that I got the opportunity to know more about Esther since she was among the few girls who remained behind as the other students went for their industrial attachment.  As I interacted and got to know our students better, I learnt that Esther is the last born in a family of two.  They were raised by their father after the death of their mum when she was 15 years.  Her father remarried so that his daughters could get motherly care, advice and support but this did not last as they separated when Esther was about to complete secondary education.  This affected her thus she did not perform well at the end of secondary school exams.  For the one year she stayed home, Esther was lonely with no hope of going to college as her father, who works as a security guard, had struggled to pay for her secondary education and it was obvious that he would not afford the college fee.  This forced her to go out and look for any job in order to meet her personal needs, as well as support her father in paying the bills.  According to Esther, this was the best decision she made because it was during her daily duties as a house help that she met one of Seed of Hope graduates who informed her about the programme and the courses being offered.  Esther shared this news with her father who decided to inquire further by vising the Seed of Hope centre.  He feared the fee payment but at the same time he did not want to disappoint his daughter.  After getting positive feedback from the Seed of Hope project administrator about the free courses, Esther’s father did not hesitate and asked his daughter to enrol immediately. 

At Seed of Hope, Esther has greatly transformed from the shy girl at the corner of her class to this bold, confident and responsible girl.  She was anonymously elected by other students as the Head Girl since she has led students to participate in different activities within the school and also with our partners.  She is also in charge of the dressmaking, fashion design class and the teacher has entrusted her with the role of assisting other students as she has worked hard to perfect her skills.  

In the last few weeks, Esther has been attached to one of our Seed of Hope graduates called Rosebella.  When I asked her teacher why she chose Esther, she said; “I have trained so many of our girls at Seed of Hope and I could tell the potential each one has.  Esther has shown interest and commitment in her course by working hard to improve her skills.  I want her to learn more from professionals like Rosebella who have been in this business for a long time so she too can build her own empire in future.”  When I asked Esther about her ambition in life, she said; “After graduating, I would like to start my own fashion business that will be recognized regionally but also internationally. I also want to support other young girls like me who have lost hope and face challenges in their lives.”  We wish Esther all the best even as she prepares to graduate at the end of the year.

In other news, the Seed of Hope centres took a short recess beginning of August but they will be resuming in the first week of September.  Apart from the Amuka programme, our students were given the opportunity to voice their concerns, share ideas and suggestion on how we can improve the programme through the focused group discussions.  They also participated in visioning meetings for the Nairobi new build project as we plan for the future growth of the Seed of Hope programme.  We believe that by engaging our students, their concerns, views and suggestions will significantly bring change, growth and development as they are the reason that Seed of Hope programme exists.

On behalf of our girls, teachers and management we would like sincerely thank you for the generous contribution towards this programme as we would not have made it this far without your support.  I believe that you will walk with us in this journey of transformation as we give hundreds of girls hope and opportunity to become change makers in their own lives, their families and the community they live in.  In as much as the impact is measurable, there are still many young girls who are unreachable and are in need our support to become self-sustained hence raise their standards of living.  

Thank you again for your kind support!

Sherry Waweru
Senior Programmes Officer

Focused group discussion
Focused group discussion
Aug 14, 2019

David returns to a safe education - thanks to you

David
David

Thank you for enabling children like David to have a safe place to learn

By Sherry Waweru - Senior Programme Officer, Kenya

 

It is always exciting to visit Percy Davies, one of the special schools being supported by Raising Futures Kenya. This is because every time I pass through the school gates, heading towards the principal’s office, I always get a warm welcome from the learners who run out calling me ‘aunty‘!  

During my recent briefing with the principle he shared some news about a boy, David, who was brought back to attend the school by well-wishers after he was found wandering the busy streets of a town called Kenol.

David was among the first children to join Percy Davies special school when it was established to provide specialised care and education for children with a disability. For 7 years David, who has special educational needs, had made significant improvement in sensory, speech and fine motor skills. He could follow instructions given by the teachers and was thriving, but all this changed once his parents transferred him to a mainstream school since they believed that he was able to compete with other children. According to his class teacher, David was sadly bullied and discriminated against by other children which made him run away from the mainstream school and from home.

David became homeless and was alone on the streets begging for food and water, and was extremely vulnerable. It took the intervention of good people who traced his family and took him off the streets. They decided to sponsor him back to Percy Davies school where they believed he will receive the best care and support from qualified teachers and caregivers. It broke my heart when a learned about this story but am glad that David is now in a safe haven where his safety, security and general welfare is guaranteed. Percy Davies has reserved a place for former children who dropped out or transferred due to various circumstances. We will continue to support the two special schools to create awareness to ensure child protection is embraced by parents and the communities around them.

In other news, the schools have taken a recess to enable children to spend time with their families during the August holiday. According to Mr Samuel, the principle at Percy Davies special school, the children get very excited towards the end of the term as they look forward to going home and spending time with their parents and siblings. I also learnt that with the introduction of the competence based curriculum (CBC), learners from Percy Davies and Kirunguru special schools will sit for the foundation level assessment so that the examiner can monitor and provide evidence on the learners’ progress.  This is a nation-wide assessment being carried out for children in grade 3 at mainstream schools as well as special schools across the country. We wish all the best to our special school learners as they prepare for the assessment.

Lastly, there has been good progress made at Percy Davies school compound where the playground is being renovated to create enough space for additional play equipment but to also ensure safety of the children. Kirunguru special school has received new therapy equipment to enhance physio and occupational therapy that is being provided to each learner twice a month. 

We sincerely thank you for the generous contribution towards our specialised care for 200 children with disabilities, as we would not have done this work alone without your support. Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, or just bring us up in conversation and let people know what supporting our project means to you!

Thank you once again!

Sherry

Learners showing off their work
Learners showing off their work
Percy Davies motto
Percy Davies motto
Equipment being used for physiotherapy
Equipment being used for physiotherapy
May 31, 2019

"Seed of Hope is the best place for me!"

Seed of Hope class during World Menstruation Day
Seed of Hope class during World Menstruation Day

“Seed of Hope is the best place for me because I have the opportunity to get skills free of charge, learning materials and a good meal at lunch time!” Annet says as we sat down during our one on one conversation. It is through these kinds of interactions that we get to learn more about the background of each student who enrols at Seed of Hope. We build good rapports with our students so they feel able to approach us whenever they have an issue that might affect their training while at Seed of Hope. Annet comes from a polygamous family and has six siblings. Her mother was a single parent when she got married as a second wife when Annet was 7 years old. Life was not easy for Annet in her new family as she was expected not only to carry out house chores after school but also sell groundnuts on the streets in order to get money for the family since she was treated as the outsider. This caused her to perform poorly at the end of primary education exams hence her home and dreams of joining high school were shattered. She said that her parents could not even afford to pay for her school fees in the local day school much as she had pleaded with them.

In 2017, Annet’s older brother brought her to Nairobi to help him in house chores as his wife was about to have a baby. For the two years after completing primary school, Annet has been living with her brother helping out around the house. One day she went to a salon and the lady who does her hair asked whether she was interested in getting some skills in hair or fashion design. The hair dresser had heard about Seed of Hope after we moved in to the new community and thought it would benefit a young girl like Annet. This news excited Annet and she shared with her brother who was very supportive of the idea of getting vocational skills. They came to inquire about Seed of Hope and eventually, Annet was enrolled in dressmaking, fashion and design course.

Teacher Florence who is in charge of the dressmaking class says that Annet’s self-esteem was very low when she came but through the empowerment programme for the young girls her attitude, confidence and self- esteem improved significantly and more so she has improved in her course work as well. Annets’s plan for the future is to find employment in the textile industry in order to become independent but also support her parents , educate her younger siblings to the level of education they would have wanted.

Seed of Hope has come a long way in transforming the lives of girls like Annet who were once hopeless and unsure what the future holds for them because of poverty in the family. The skills imparted to our students not only focus on vocational courses but business enterprise, life skills, and mentorship and many other empowerment programmes. All this is geared towards giving them hope; dignity and opportunity to be confident, creative and self-driven in order to become self-reliant so as to raise their living standards and that of their families.

In addition, Raising Futures Kenya provides a platform where students can share their views, opinion and concerns regarding their time at Seed of Hope. Through focused group discussions that is ongoing across the Seed of hope centres, our students now have the opportunity to inform the organization on how best they can be supported to achieve their goal but also how we can improve the Seed of Hope programme.

The girls also celebrated World Menstruation Day on 28 May by expressing their gratitude to Seed of Hope programme for the provision of sanitary towels. Majority of our girls confessed that due to poverty, their parents cannot afford to buy them a packet of sanitary towel hence forced to find other alternatives .It is through your donations that our girls receive this essential commodity in order to keep them in school during that time of the month but also protect them from men who lure and take advantage of their lack of money to buy.

Thank you for your continuing support because it is through your generous giving towards Seed of Hope that has made it possible for the girls like Annet to raise their confidence, self-esteem through the opportunity given to them so as to have a bright and promising future.  We believe that girls at Seed of Hope have potential to live independent and successful lives through employment or self-employment.

Annet in class
Annet in class
Annet
Annet
 
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