Vision Africa

Vision Africa equips and empowers children and youths for a brighter future, ensuring that they have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and make a difference in their families and communities. The following principles guide our project partnerships and work. The emphasis will vary depending on the nature of the project. Provision - We contribute towards meeting the children's material and emotional needs. Protection - We protect the rights of children to have a happy childhood free from neglect, cruelty and exploitation. Preparation - We support projects that enhance educational opportunities and prepare children to fulfil their potential.
Feb 20, 2017

New Dawn For Caroline and All First year Students!

Caroline
Caroline

Seed of Hope programme has come a long way in the journey of transformation of girls who had once lost hope in life as they come from disadvantage background. These can be measured by the number of graduates who have progressed in life through employment or self-employment after successfully completing their course of studies. But for the changes to happen, it begins with students knowing their purpose, show commitment and work hard in their training for the period of time the course takes.  The courses offered at Seed of Hope do not only focus on vocational skills training but also business enterprise, personal growth and development. All this is geared towards giving them hope, dignity and opportunity to be self-reliance hence raise their living standards.

I have had the opportunity to interact with both the current students and the graduates of Seed of Hope and what I keep affirming them is that these skills are relevant in the job market and what is needed is for them to focus on learning something new each day so that they can bring their own ideas into life as they pursue their dream careers. One such girl is Caroline who joined Seed of Hope Nairobi a week ago.

Caroline and her sister were raised by their father since she was 9 years old after her mother passed on. Her father depended on farming to cater for her children’s needs but the income he got after every harvest was not sustainable to the family.  This led Caroline to drop out of secondary school while in form two as her father could not afford to pay her school fees. In the same year of 2015, she came to Nairobi to live with an aunt who needed a helper to care for her little baby when she goes back to work. Caroline became the nanny although this was not something she had dreamed of hence led her in to depression as she wanted to go back to school and complete her studies. When we spoke, I asked her what her dream was while growing up and this is what she said. “I love nursing. This is because as I was growing up, I saw how my mum struggled with a terminal illness that needed special care thus prompted me to study nursing after high school so that I could take care of sick people. But after I dropped out, I felt like my dreams have been shattered”

Two weeks ago, her aunt attended a meeting called by the area chief. The meeting was to mobilize people in the community to come out and register as voters. It was at that time that she learned about Seed of Hope from the one of the community mobilizers. She went home and asked Caroline if she would be interested to join a vocational training school. She said “I was Overwhelmed with joy since I had given up in life as I had nothing to show off as a school drop out!”  She accompanied her aunt to Seed of Hope Centre in Nairobi and got admission in Home Care Management course. This is because the course was in line with the kind of work she has been doing and she thought that if she was going to achieve her childhood dreams, she needed to focus on becoming great by equipping herself with skills that willl enable her to earn a living and become independent. Caroline knows that her family will not be able to take her back to school but during our conversation I gave her examples of girls that I have met who graduated from Seed of Hope but later went back to complete secondary education. Five have graduated from different universities with degrees while 10 went to colleges and they are currently pursuing their dream careers. I encouraged her to focus on her skills training now as it is the first of many opportunities she will have in life as she works towards her dream to become a nurse. I believe her dream is valid and she will to achieve it in the near future.

The number of new enrolment has significantly increased from 140 to 215 in the last few weeks. The window period of enrolment will be closed in March to allow few more girls to join in although the training had already begun. The orientation of new student began in mid-January across all the centres after a good number of girls reported and as a result, they settled quickly to begin their lessons. Some of these girls were selected by teachers to play various roles in the management of the institution as they portrayed good leadership qualities.

Purity is such a gir. She is confident, social and a quick learner hence elected as the class representative in the Dressmaking, Fashion and Fabric Design class. She completed high school but with poor grades since she was in and out of school due to lack of school fees. Her father who is a pastor in a local church does not have a source of income to cater for his six children hence depend on well-wishers to support his family. He came to Seed of Hope to request for her daughter’s admission since he had nothing else to offer her because Purity has other four siblings who are still in school and paying for their school fees is still a struggle. When I talked to Purity she had this to say. “I want to be a great designer after completing this course. I am so grateful to Seed of Hope for this opportunity to acquire skills free of charge which has motivated me to work hard so that I can go out there and start my business so as to support my family. I hope that one day when i become financially stable, I will resit for my high school exams so that i can go to university to study Fashion and Design so that i can also be one of the top designers in Kenya"

Thank you for your support because it is through your generous giving towards Seed of Hope that has made it possible for the girls like Caroline, Purity and many other girls to raise their confidence, self-esteem through the opportunity given to them so as to have a bright and promising future.  We believe that they have potential to transform their lives and also raise the living standards of their families. The also have potential to create positive impact wherever they go!

Caroline met new friends during cookery lesson.
Caroline met new friends during cookery lesson.
Purity
Purity
Dressmaking, Fashion & Fabric Students
Dressmaking, Fashion & Fabric Students
Feb 14, 2017

Fidelis Finally Meets Her Mother After Two Years!

Pretty Natasha in school uniform
Pretty Natasha in school uniform

The St. Andrews baby unit has been a safe haven for babies and young children rescured from deprerate situations. Each year the baby unit received a child or siblings who were vulnerable and in dire need of protection, shelter and utmost care. There are a number of children who were brought in due to parental negligence like in the cases of John and his brother Ian, Lewis and her older sister Fidelis, Derrick and the little Fidelis as well as Raymond. All these children have parents or extended families but due to poverty and domestic violence within the family, the children bear the brunt hence suffer due to parental negligence, abuse and trauma. Currently the number of children at the baby unit is 8 since there are no new cases that was reported in the year 2016.

Vision Africa through the vulnerable child support program  is working closely with house mothers at St. Andrews Baby Unit  to trace parents and relatives of the children to ensure that they too are involved in the re-integration program and they are being empowered to take parental responsibilities in the near future. Am glad to report that through collaboration of a team from Vision Africa,  the Area Advisory Council and Children Officers have managed to trace some of the parents and immediate relatives of these children. The team is now making home vistis to carry out needs assessment to ensure that by the time these children are taken to be with their parents  or relatives, all issues that will make them vulnerable again have been resolved.

The first parent to be traced was Fidelis mother. Fidelis who is a sister to Derrick is one pretty and happy girl. She and her brother were rescured by their neighbours and taken to the police after their mother who had the tendancy of locking them in the house and go away for a day or two never came back. The neighbours who were kind enough to feed and look after them while their mother was away got fed up with her unmotherly actions and decided to report her to the local authority who in turn inform the children’s officer who broght them to St. Andrews baby unit . According to matron Lucy, their mother was traced in a village far away and when the team payed her a visit, she said that her husband left them after Fidelis was born and in the process she got depressed and frustrated hence went back to her maternal home. She could not live with her parents due to poverty hence opt to move out again and look for casual work. Raising two little children was not easy task with a minimum wage of $2 per day. This prompt her to live the children behind with neighbours to go find greener pastures. She worked as house help for a while before starting a small business as a vegetable vendor in the market. It was during that period that she had another baby thus making her a mother of three. In Novemberof 2016, Fidelis mother met her children for the first time in two years. Although Derrick recognized her, little Fidelis had no idea who she was. The social worker encouraged her to make several visits so as to build the bond and eventually was allowed to take them home to spend Christmas Holiday.Our vulnerable child support officer made home visits to ensure that the children are taken care of  and after the festive season ended, they were returned back to the children’s home so that the process of reintegration can begin.  At the time the mother took the children home, their father came to visit and he wanted to take Fidelis away living Derrick behind but our staff intervened since both parents had unresolved issues which would cause massive harm to the children. The vulnerable child support who is in charge of the reintregration program is working with community elders and other local counsellor to ensure that both parents have resolved their differences so that the children can find a happy and safe environment when the right time comes.

Other news is that the all the children are healthy and making good progress. Natasha who was taken by her maternal uncle to celebrate Christmas holiday with his family has been brought back and started school .She joined Blessing, Lewis & John who joined baby class last year. All these children are allowed to go for their break time snacks and lunch at the baby unit to maintain their health as they are used to enjoy nutritious meals prepared by the house mothers. Raymond’s mother has also been traced and a meeting with Natasha relatives is ongoing since her mother is mentally retarted. I believe that all the children deserve to live in good and safe environment where they will be raised with love, affection and best care so that they can grow well and become responsible citizens in future.

I would like to sincerely thank you for your continuous support towards the St. Andrews Baby Unit. It is through your generous giving that we are able to raise the children in a safe and homely environment where they received love, affection and protection besides the basic needs. The reintrgration program will take a while before it if fully implemented since Vision Africa would like to empower parents of these children and the community they live in so that the children’s rights are well protected.

Thank you and may you have a blessed year ahead!

Natasha and classmates
Natasha and classmates
Fidelis with Bedan at the background
Fidelis with Bedan at the background
Its Time for Lunch at the Baby Unit
Its Time for Lunch at the Baby Unit
Dec 7, 2016

Keeping Children Busy Over the Long Holiday

KiMMTa Children enjoying a meal
KiMMTa Children enjoying a meal

End of term three came too early for pupils in both public and private schools despite the fact that children sits for end of year exams that determine if they are moving to the next class.  It is also believed that the ministry of education changed schools calendar to enable all students sitting for the end of primary and secondary examinations have peace and quietness and desist from exam malpractices. The major concern for parents and other stakeholders was the length of the holiday period and what would happe

Vision Africa shared the same concern as parents since it was bound to affect pupils in the early years of learning especially children living in informal settlement like Kibera. According to the recent survey carried out to early childhood education centres supported by Vision Africa, the teachers were asked to explain the significant benefits of the feeding program to pupils. The results indicated that the health of the children have improved by 76% hence enable the children to concentrate in class that boosted their class performance. The teachers also affirmed that 75% of the children attend the early childhood education because of feeding programme since their parents can only afford one meal per day. With this in mind, the management of Kibera Mpira Mtaani (KiMMTa) decided to extend the learning for two more weeks so that the children could continue to enjoy their meals while in school as they prepare for graduation of the pre-unit class.The graduation day at KiMMTa was filled with excitements as graduates entertained their parents and guests who came to witness their transition from pre-school to primary school. This year, 25 children graduated from KiMMTa ecd and are expected to join standard one in the coming year. According to the head teacher, all the pupils performed well in their end term exams as well as the standard one interviews. She informed us that16 of the pupils will be joining public primary schools while 9 will join private schools within the Kibera slums.

 In addition, KiMMTa after school program came up with holiday activities for all pupils in their programme who were at home. With support from Vision Africa and other stake holders, the after school management team prepared a two week programme that will bring positive change in the lives of  the children and young people who are at greater risk of engaging in vices due to idleness this long holiday period.  These activities included mentorship workshops, community services and football tournaments.The KiMMTa management also partnered with other community based organizations within the slums who are engaged in educational program by involving their members in all these activities. Vincent the KiMMTa chairman said that the holiday programme was a success as 240 children and young people participated directly in the tournaments while approximately 750 children and young people who attended were involved in community work like cleaning the market, dispensaries and the collecting garbage. They also got the opportunity to be mentored each day during mentorship sessions. I hope that there will be more of such programmes in the coming year so that many more children and young people can be empowered to make right decisions about their lives during school recess.

 Thank you for supporting the education of children in Kenya by contributing to this project. As it has been quoted severally, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world’. I believe these children from Kibera slums and other informal settlements will not only change the world but also their lives and living standards of their families.

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. You know your friends and family best so use your own words - tell them why you chose our project and what it means to you.

Pre-unit class graduation
Pre-unit class graduation
Youngstars before the tournament
Youngstars before the tournament
Mentorship Session
Mentorship Session
 
   

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