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Mar 30, 2020

We're already responding, thanks to you!

Left to right: Mercy, Calmax, Gabriel, Evans
Left to right: Mercy, Calmax, Gabriel, Evans
Your donations to our Emergency COVID-19 Appeal have already been put to use supporting our most vulnerable young people - thank you so much for enabling us to respond so quickly. 

We hope you, your friends and family are safe and well.

Your generosity and fast action at this critical time has meant that we've already been able to deliver emergency public health information and practical support to our most vulnerable children, young people and families in Kenya. Pictured, from left to right: 

Mercy  - Fashion Design and Dressmaking student at Seed of Hope- both her parents are casual labourers, right now most work places are closed down and it is a struggle for them to feed their children. Her food supply will last approximately one week as she will share it with her family.

Calmax  - Fashion Design and Dressmaking student at Seed of Hope -   has to work when he isn't at the training centre to pay for his rent and up keep. He was working in a hotel which has closed down due to COVID-19. The money he was earning would be saved for rent and his daily meal would be provided by Seed of Hope. His food supply will last approximately two weeks. 

Gabriel - Motor Vehicle Mechanics student at Seed of Hope -  he depends on the lunch program to eat, his parents send him part of his rent and a small amount for one meal a day which is never enough. He shares a room with another student, Christopher, who has managed to travel to his rural home to see out the pandemic. His food supply will last approximately two weeks. 

Evans - Motor Vehicle Mechanics student at Seed of Hope-  he has no one supporting him, he works when he is not at the training centre to pay for his rent and upkeep, he relied on Seed of Hope for food. The car wash he was working in has closed down so he has no way of making money. His parents are poor in the rural area they cannot support him, he fears going to his rural home because he may not be able to get bus fare to bring him back to Nairobi. His food supply will last approximately two weeks.

We've also been able to establish WhatsApp support groups for each of our classes to support the mental health of students whilst they are in isolation. Staff have been offered counselling themselves and have also been trained remotely in delivering trauma counselling for students. See photos below. 

This morning we heard that the situation at our most rural centre in Kitui is worse than we thought with staff and students very fearful for their livelihoods and what COVID-19 is going to mean for their futures. We are reviewing our response at this centre and will increase our level of support wherever possible. 

Thank you so much for making this work possible. We will keep you updated. 

Stay safe, 

Vic and Mary (UK Director and Kenya Operations Director)

 

Virtual counselling via WhatsApp
Virtual counselling via WhatsApp
Virtual counselling
Virtual counselling
Feb 20, 2020

Raymond's mom, Linda, opens their family business

Raymond, his little sister, and his mom Linda
Raymond, his little sister, and his mom Linda

Linda is 36 years old and a mother of 4 adorable children. Things haven’t been easy for Linda, she had to drop out of school at the age of 16 due to pregnancy and got married at an early age, having a further 2 children.  Sadly, as a result of domestic violence and an alcoholic husband, Linda was forced to run away for her own safety. Her three children, the youngest being Raymond who was just 7 months, were taken in by Linda’s mother but since Raymond was just a baby and needed a lot of care and attention, the children’s officer placed him at the baby unit in Kandara children’s home. 

For two and a half years Raymond didn’t see his mother again until she was traced during the reintegration process.  In 2017, Raymond was finally reunited with his mother and siblings after months of counselling and psychosocial support for the whole family.  Happily Linda has now remarried, to a nice man called Peter, they have a daughter together and are now raising all four children together.  You can see Raymond next to his baby sister in the photo with Linda.

We are providing finance and business training and a start-up grant for families like Linda, to enable them to start a small business and increase their income to provide for their children.  Linda, who is a hairdresser, requested start-up capital to open a salon as she was previously engaged in small scale farming to support her family which didn’t generate much for them.  The group of families formed and registered as a self-help group which enabled them to open a group and individual bank accounts which they are using to save monthly.  Linda was among the first families that received the start-up capital in January so she has opened her salon (pictured).  Being an industrious lady, Linda has combined her salon business with selling second hand baby clothes, making full use of the space she rents.  She says that through this business she will be able to provide for her family’s needs as well as save for the future.  We wish her all the best as she works hard towards a sustainable future.

Over the last 3 years the family strengthening project has seen 63 children move from institutional care to family care though a vulnerable child support programme and continues to work and walk closely with these families.  All the reintegrated children continue to be supported to access education by fully paying their school fees and provision of other educational needs.  In 2019, 4 students finished high school and 1 completed vocational training while the rest are continuing their primary, secondary and vocational education.

Sustainability

The project is working with the families of the 63 children (40 households), 10 families have completed their training and were given their business start-up grant in January - they are all doing well and supporting each other to make their businesses a success.  The other families are continuing their training and will receive their grants in the next 2 months.

The purpose of the businesses are to enable the families to be financially independent, we realise it is disempowering to rely on external support so we’re working alongside the families to enable them to support themselves eventually.  We anticipate that by the end of 2021 the first group of families will be earning enough to provide for all of the needs of their family.  They’ll be empowered, not reliant on anyone else, and most importantly no child will be at risk of growing up in a children’s home because poverty forced their family apart. 

All this would not have been possible without your immense support so, on behalf of the children and families, we would like to sincerely thank you for your generous giving towards this project Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families (4104) because it is through your continuous giving that Raising Futures Kenya was able to reunite children to their parents and relatives but also bring transformation in their lives through sustainable livelihoods.

Linda in her new family salon business
Linda in her new family salon business
Elijah, a guardian, showing the bags he has made
Elijah, a guardian, showing the bags he has made
Feb 20, 2020

"I can't wait to open my own business" - Harriet

Harriet showcasing her self-made graduation outfit
Harriet showcasing her self-made graduation outfit

The beginning of the year is always flurry of activity at the Seed of Hope centres as the current students report back before graduation and the new group of students stream in for enrolment in vocational courses of their choice. 

There has been a significant increase in the fashion and fabric design course enrolment after Florence, who is the Seed of Hope manager, was invited to talk about Seed of Hope on one of the most listened to radio stations in Kenya!  Florence was accompanied by Linnet who is one of the 2018 fashion and fabric design graduates who is now working in the fashion industry.  Linnet confidently shared her journey before and during her time at Seed of Hope and how the teachers helped her to deal with low self-esteem and build her confidence.  She encouraged many young girls who have lost hope and are on the verge of giving up on their dreams to visit one of Seed of Hope centres and get enrolled for a course that will transform their lives. 

In January 139 students graduated.  The graduation events were full of pomp and colour with former graduates honoured and current graduates showcasing their skills!  The fashion design students came up with very unique gowns to celebrate their day, the homecare management students prepared the best meals for the celebration while the hair and beauty therapy students ensured that all the girls looked absolutely gorgeous with their hair and make up!  Harriet is one of the girls graduating and she was wearing the Ankara shorts and matching top she made.

Harriet comes from a very humble family of four siblings.  Her mother is a house manager while her father is a preacher who depends on well-wishers for support as he has no other source of income.  Although Harriet completed her secondary education, she did not perform well enough to advance to university.  After finishing school, Harriet looked for a job in order to contribute to family’s basic needs.  She worked as a waitress in a restaurant for 4 months before her father learned about Seed of Hope, he knew that his daughter’s desire was to study fashion design, and so Harriet joined Seed of Hope. 

Our Seed of Hope training centres not only provide free high quality skills training, we offer a holistic package of support to help young students deal with many of the issues they’re facing by providing; mental health support, free lunches, sanitary products, empowerment programmes and other extracurricular activities that motivates and enables them to nurture their talents, improve their self- esteem and build confidence. 

During graduation, Harriet’s mother was emotional seeing her daughter being presented with a graduation certificate, they'd had to sacrifice some of the little income they had as a family to make sure that Harriet had bus money to attend the course as they lived 14km away.  Her teacher also ensured that if she missed any lessons she was able to catch up since she had seen Harriet's talented potential and worked closely with her to the last minute when Harriet presented her final project, her wonderful graduation outfit (pictured).  After graduation, Harriet has now been offered an internship with Penninah, a Seed of Hope graduate with a well-established fashion design business.  We look forward to seeing Harriet progress as she gets hands-on experience in the workplace and advice from an expert in the fashion industry.  This resonates well with a statement made earlier this year by Kenya’s First Lady who declared, “We need a world that is safer and more open to equal opportunities for our girls and women. We need to unlock the potential of girls, to raise girls that are bolder, better educated and ready to give their best to our world—in whatever capacity.” 

Harriet believes that this programme has done exactly that as she said “Seed of Hope has imparted skills that encouraged me not to give up on my dreams and to focus on everything I want to achieve in life.  I am now learning new designs and I can’t wait to complete my internship and open my own business”.  We wish Harriet all the best as she charts a new path towards a bright future.

Good news is that Raising Futures Kenya has received a grant that will support graduates from the two centres located in marginalised communities.  The 2019 graduates from Seed of Hope Kariti and Kitui will have access to a revolving loan that will enable them establish businesses using skills gained from training to start their own business, become financially independent and boost their livelihoods.  Both graduates and parents have completed financial literacy training, written their business plans and will shortly be receiving their business start-up loan.

Thank you for your generous giving towards Seed of Hope programme as it is through your support that girls like Harriet are able to overcome some of the challenges they face in their young life so they can thrive and reach their full potential. It is through your continuous giving that vulnerable girls are empowered, encouraged and equipped with skills that gives them a voice in creating their own path, improve the family living standards and participate in building the economy of the nation.

Fashion and fabric design students at graduation
Fashion and fabric design students at graduation
Graduation day in Nairobi!
Graduation day in Nairobi!
Hair and beauty students getting ready!
Hair and beauty students getting ready!
 
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