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Mar 21, 2020

Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children update

I am very excited to tell you that the young women who graduated from our one-year training course last December and choose to remain in Nakuru are doing very well in the facility that hired them. It took a month for them to learn how to make the very stylish bags and fashion accessories that the facility is making for the export market, but for the past 6 weeks, they have been paid per item produced. They’re thrilled to be earning a living and becoming productive members of their society. Fourteen months ago this would have only been an impossible dream for these young women. Their families couldn’t raise the money to send them to vocational training. Their futures, especially our deaf students, as marginally educated women would have been unmanageable. Our students tell us stories of childhoods where, instead of going to school, they had to walk long distances to fetch water. If they were orphaned a neighbor or relative would take them in and, instead of letting them go to school year-round, use them as house girls and childminders.

As with almost every other corner of the world, COVID-19 arrived in Kenya a little over a week ago. Fortunately, the Kenya government had ample time to prepare and acted immediately. To date, there are only 7 cases. On Monday this week, the Kenyan government announced mitigation policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya. It has directed all schools to close for the next 30 days, beginning immediately. Similar measures have been taken in other East African countries including Rwanda and Tanzania. My immediate worry was that, while we’re a vocational training college, coming under the same mandate, sending our students home to overcrowded slums would be much worse than staying put in our facility and self-isolating until things settle down. We spoke to our area chief about the situation. Unfortunately, his hands were tied, and we were required to send the students back to their respective villages.

However, we’ve been given a very unexpected reprieve at the very unfortunate expense of our two volunteers from Germany, Kira, and Sara who arrived in Kenya the day before the government banned all but returning citizens and residents from entering Kenya. After spending the weekend sightseeing in Nairobi, they met up with our office manager, Beryl and traveled back to Nakuru together on a crowded minibus. The following morning Beryl mingled with our students, introduced our volunteers to our students and then learned of the government mandate to close all schools. Learning that we had two visitors from Germany staying with us, the health department put our project into quarantine for two weeks. For us, that’s good news, as the students are safe for the time being. Our teacher, Martha, who is also under quarantine from home, checks in on the students daily.

As for Kira and Sara…they have taken their quarantine admirably. Sadly, visiting us was the first leg of their one year journey across Sub Sahara Africa. One a social worker and child advocate and the other an engineer, they were so excited about the contribution they could make to our students' personal empowerment, growth, and education. They have had to remain separated from our students in our guest house, with no social interaction. As soon as their two week quarantine period is over they will be returning to Germany.

As you can undoutably appreciate, this is going to be a particularly tough time for fundraising for charities and NGO’s worldwide. Thank you for your ongoing support of Springs of Hope Foundation. Your support will ensure that our young women and staff can work through these issues and resume providing free, quality education as soon as it is practicable.

 We will keep you updated but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at jenniferhughes@springsofhopefoundation.org

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

Links:

Mar 21, 2020

Quarantine update from Springs of Hope Foundation

As with almost every other corner of the world, COVID-19 arrived in Kenya a little over a week ago. Fortunately, the Kenya government had ample time to prepare and acted immediately. To date, there are only 7 cases. On Monday this week, the Kenyan government announced mitigation policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya. It has directed all schools to close for the next 30 days, beginning immediately. Similar measures have been taken in other East African countries including Rwanda and Tanzania. My immediate worry was that, while we’re a vocational training college, coming under the same mandate, sending our students home to overcrowded slums would be much worse than staying put in our facility and self-isolating until things settle down. We spoke to our area chief about the situation. Unfortunately, his hands were tied, and we were required to send the students back to their respective villages.

However, we’ve been given a very unexpected reprieve at the very unfortunate expense of our two volunteers from Germany, Kira, and Sara who arrived in Kenya the day before the government banned all but returning citizens and residents from entering Kenya. After spending the weekend sightseeing in Nairobi, they met up with our office manager, Beryl and traveled back to Nakuru together on a crowded minibus. The following morning Beryl mingled with our students, introduced our volunteers to our students and then learned of the government mandate to close all schools. Learning that we had two visitors from Germany staying with us, the health department put our project into quarantine for two weeks. For us, that’s good news, as the students are safe for the time being. Our teacher, Martha, who is also under quarantine from home, checks in on the students daily.

As for Kira and Sara…they have taken their quarantine admirably. Sadly, visiting us was the first leg of their one year journey across Sub Sahara Africa. One a social worker and child advocate and the other an engineer, they were so excited about the contribution they could make to our students' personal empowerment, growth, and education. They have had to remain separated from our students in our guest house, with no social interaction. As soon as their two week quarantine period is over they will be returning to Germany.

As you can probably appreciate, this is going to be a particularly tough time for fundraising for charities and NGO’s worldwide. Thank you for your ongoing support of Springs of Hope Foundation. Your support will ensure that our young women and staff can work through these issues and resume providing free, quality education as soon as it is practicable.

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

 

 

We will keep you updated but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at jenniferhughes@springsofhopefoundation.org

Links:

Dec 23, 2019

We're blown away by your support and generosity.

Margaret and just a few of her very proud family
Margaret and just a few of her very proud family

 

Meet Margaret, along with just a few of her very proud family members on Margaret's graduation day earlier this month.

Margaret comes from a family of twelve, four brothers and seven sisters. She is the last born in the family. Her father is a casual laborer and was not able to take her to college after her form four. Margaret was born as a normal child, able to hear and talk. She went to her nursery class as a normal child. When she was in class two, she developed recurring headaches. She was hospitalized for three months, during this time the worst happened and she lost her hearing ability completly. Her parents could not believe what had happened to their daughter, but afterwards enrolled her into Ngala school for the deaf. During her last year of high school, she lost her mother, who had been struggling with poor health for several years. This left Margaret devastated. She says life has never been the same since losing her mother, until she came to Springs of Hope Foundation's Kijiji Mission project and now sees a bright future ahead

There is indeed a bright future ahead for Margaret, along with the other young women who recently graduated from our 12-month course earlier this month. They have all been offered jobs at a local company. That’s right…ALL of the young women, including our hearing-impaired students.

It can be very difficult for the deaf to find employment in Kenya, or anywhere else in the underdeveloped world for that matter, so we are thrilled to know that they will all go on to paid employment when they return from a very well earned Christmas break in January. 

We are so very grateful for your continued support in 2019. As we look forward to a new intake of young women in the new year our wish is that you continue to include Springs of Hope Foundation in your charitable giving.

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and a New Year filled with Many Blessings.

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

CEO

Springs of Hope Foundation.org

Proud family members celebrating their achievement
Proud family members celebrating their achievement
 
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