Jul 11, 2017

The Nakuru Safehouse has become such a great project.

The first half of our group arrives safely.
The first half of our group arrives safely.

Hello Everyone,

I have just returned from a very exciting visit to Kenya. Our newest project, the Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children, which was started back in November 2016 is blossoming in ways we could never have imagined. Initially, the need for the safehouse was presented at our weekly Rotary Club of Nakuru meeting. Renting, furnishing and staffing a facility that could accommodate lost and runaway children on a temporary basis while authorities looked for relatives or permanent housing solutions sounded like a project that Springs of Hope Foundation could comfortably afford to run. What I wasn't expecting was to find such an absolutely perfect house for the project at a rent that is manageable.

In the meantime, my Kenyan friends have always shared the fact that their high school or college educated children are struggling to find employment. Kenya's rate of unemployment is among the highest in the world.

Now... imagine that you're a Kenyan girl from a poor, rural village. You would be one of the extremely lucky girls if your family could afford to send you to primary school. Even then your chances of finding employment, never mind a trade are virtually non-existent. So we came up with a fabulous program for our very large rental house. We have converted the living room, dining room area of our facility into a tailoring classroom for young, single mothers. Our first group of ladies was selected by the area chiefs and Anglican Bishop in the Samburu region, which is a long, dusty, bumpy 8-hour drive north of us on mostly unpaved roads.  The ladies and their children will live with us for one year while they learn every aspect of tailoring. Our first class began on July 1st with the ladies learning basic pattern making. When this group graduates they will have all the skills needed to open their own small business. We'll also provide a small, repayable business loan upon graduation. 

The energy and enthusiasm in our first group of ladies was very exciting to watch and enjoy. The ladies have bonded and formed a small family group where the preschool children are learning to play together. We were able to enroll the older children in our local primary school. 

I'm really looking forward to updating you as the ladies learn new skills and we all learn and grow together.

Mark your calendar! GlobalGiving is having a GG Rewards Bonus Day on Wednesday, July 12th, beginning at 9 AM EST, that's 6 AM West Coast Time. All donations will be matched by a 50% bonus. The funds are limited, so donate as early as possible to ensure your gift is matched!  Please increase your impact so that as many young women as possible can acquire important skills and the training they need to succeed! 

Please share this report with your friends on facebook and social media or just forward with a personal request to donate as little as $10.00 on July 12th. If we receive just 30 donations from unique donors on July 12th we are also eligible for additional bonuses.

Together let's make the education dreams of each of these young mothers and girls come true! There is truly no better gift that you could give!

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about this program or our other programs, please contact me at jenniferhughes@springsofhopefoundation.org

Thank you all so much for your continued support of our work in Kenya.

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

The 2nd half of the group of ladies upon arrival.
The 2nd half of the group of ladies upon arrival.
The first day of tailoring class. Pattern making.
The first day of tailoring class. Pattern making.
One of the daughters on her first day of school.
One of the daughters on her first day of school.

Links:

Apr 12, 2017

One of the many reasons why we desperately need the Safe House project.

Lavix, baby Raj & Job finally reunited.
Lavix, baby Raj & Job finally reunited.

Hello Everyone,

One of the heartbreaking realities of life in Kenya is the extreme poverty. Six-year-old Joab and nine-year-old Lavix’s HIV positive mother was put in jail when she was reported to the police for child neglect. She was forced to leave Job, Lavix and their one-year-old brother Raj inside their 12x12, one room home while she went out looking for odd jobs such as washing and cleaning to feed her family. The one-year-old was allowed to stay in prison with his mother sleeping on a thin dirty mattress in a room with 20 plus women and their babies; however, the older children were placed in a place known as Juvenile Remand. This is a horrible place for young innocent children as they are placed in a dormitory with older children who are there awaiting trial for crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery with violence. Alleged criminals up to 18 years of age are sharing the same dormitories with innocent children such as Job and Lavix at remand. I have been told that some of these alleged criminals are actually up to 21 years old and simply lie about their age to stay in juvenile remand as opposed to jail. I learned about remand several years ago when I went down to Children’s Services to pick up the magistrate's commitment orders for two children that had been placed in my care and (of course) came home with two sets of orders and these two gorgeous children, Job and Lavix. Who could say no after hearing that they had been in remand for over three months?  These children had no idea why they were suddenly placed there or where their mother and baby brother had been taken.

The first thing I did was arrange for a visit to their mother and baby brother in prison. I then arranged to have Mama Lavix released into our care on parole and enrolled in a program training HIV-positive women to sew beautiful bags for sale to tourists.

Mama Lavix and the three children lived with us for a month while she was on probation and training at her new job. I loved seeing the joy and happiness the two older children experienced at being reunited as a family again. The bitter, sweet day came when Mama Lavix passed her unpaid one month training period and was hired on as a full-time paid employee. For the first time in her life, she was receiving a regular, reliable income. I say bitter, sweet only because it was time to say goodbye to two great kids who had been part of our family for several months, and Mama Lavix and baby Raj who had lived with us for just over a month. We assisted her with the first month’s rent on her new home, mattresses, blankets and a few necessities to get her set up.

That was over five years ago. I recently heard that Mama Lavix is still working at the same organization sewing bags for tourists. However, and this is the other great part of her success story, she has also opened a hair braiding salon which employs three vulnerable young women who would have found themselves in a similar situation if it wasn't for Mama Lavix's help.

If it wasn’t for your support back then I simply cannot imagine what the fate of this family would have been.

We didn’t place in the top 4 in GlobalGiving’s Little by Little campaign last week, missing out on  $3,000 in bonus money. But we are delighted with the response we did get. Your donations made a lasting difference for our children in Kenya AND created a race to the top!

Because our project did so well, the other projects in contention had to ramp up their efforts to get ahead of us - meaning your support for girls in Kenya inspired others to empower more girls in the Dominican Republic, educate more girls in Cambodia, sponsor STEM camp for more girls in Nigeria, and help more girls in Vietnam get to school. We're so proud to have been a part of this competition where girls around the world came out as the clear winners.

Thank you so much to every one of you who made this campaign such a success! 

I appreciate your readership, please pass on our newsletter to family and friends, it is a way of helping us help more children in Kenya.

Warmly,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

Prison visit for the first time in almost 3 months
Prison visit for the first time in almost 3 months
On the first day the kids arrived from Remand.
On the first day the kids arrived from Remand.

Links:

Apr 10, 2017

Meet Grace

 

Meet Grace,

Grace’s HIV positive mother was introduced to us 4 years ago when Grace was just 5 years old. Her mother’s only source of income was seasonal work in the fields which earned her $2.00 a day when work was sporadically available. Four generations lived in their tiny two rooms, mud home. Mama Grace’s very ill, HIV-positive husband, their  80 year old grandmother, 4 daughters and the one year old baby of Mama Grace’s 15 year old daughter. Desperately poor does not begin to describe the conditions this family of 9 had to live in with no electricity or running water,  but above all else, Mama Grace’s  biggest priority was that her children get a good education.  We began by assisting the family with rent, food, clothing and cooking fuel while the 3 younger girls attended the local public school. It soon became apparent that these three very bright girls would not receive the education they deserved in the very overcrowded public school system which has as many as 95 children per classroom. We enrolled the girls in one of the best boarding schools in the district while being mindful that they must be within walking distance of their family, allowing their mother to visit them. At boarding school the girls get three nutritious meals a day and their own bed, ensuring a good night sleep.

Little Gracie and her older sister Theresia are both placing #1 in their class at Rosepark Academy.  The oldest sister, Margaret is in class 6 and will be graduating to high school at the end of this year. Well done girls…

If it wasn’t for YOU and your generous support, bright young girls like Grace and her sisters would not have access to education. They would never know that they are capable of achieving whatever they reach for.

We didn’t place in the top 4 in GlobalGiving’s Little by Little campaign last week, missing out on  $3,000 in bonus money. But we are delighted with the response we did get. Your donations made a lasting difference for our girls in Kenya AND created a race to the top!

Because our project did so well, the other projects in contention had to ramp up their efforts to get ahead of us - meaning your support for girls in Kenya inspired others to empower more girls in the Dominican Republic, educate more girls in Cambodia, sponsor STEM camp for more girls in Nigeria, and help more girls in Vietnam get to school. We're so proud to have been a part of this competition where girls around the world came out as the clear winners.

Thank you so much to everyone of you who made this campaign such a success! 

I appreciate your readership, please pass on our newsletter to family and friends, it is a way of helping us help more children in Kenya.

Warmly,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

Grace when we first started sponsoring her at age6
Grace when we first started sponsoring her at age6
My recent trip to their boarding school so grownup
My recent trip to their boarding school so grownup

Links:

 
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