Quinter with one of her clients at Vera's Saloon
‘After completing my course and graduating, with support of NIGEE’s Girls Employment Bureau, I was able to get attachment at Vera’s Saloon where I currently earn KES 500 (USD 5) on a good day and I’m happy that I can pay rent, sort out my bills and even support my sibling’s education .’ ~ Quinter
We started the year well and lively with many more beneficiaries streaming into our Girls’ Empowerment Center (GEC) for courses, bringing with them a zeal to all our activities and classes.
During the period January –March 2018 NIGEE continued to advance the GEC within Kisumu:
- So far we have reached 455 girls with the skills training since the inception of the program. In the period under review, we were able to enroll 95 new girls.
- Currently there are 42 girls enrolled in computer classes, 35 girls in hairdressing and 18 girls in the dressmaking class.
- We are delighted to report that 8 of the 18 girls who graduated from dressmaking and design course got a one year business tender to make school uniforms for over 800 girls in a partner’s project in Siaya.
- Our porridge program is doing great and currently 25 toddlers are benefitting from the daily porridge at 10am; knowing that their children are being cared for and are close by, our beneficiaries can concentrate on their studies as the children play under supervision.
- The GEC safe space continues to offer a temporary haven for girls and young women who have been exploited or abused and are in immediate danger; we provide ongoing counseling and investigation with a goal of reconciling them with their families. In addition to counseling, they are linked to appropriate sexual and reproductive health services as their cases are processed.
- 30 of the 112 girls who graduated in December 2017 from the centre have been linked to employment within and outside Kisumu town. The girls were first prepared for the job market through CV and cover letter writing and interviewing technique trainings.
- To build self-esteem, the GEC continues to provide life skills training on a biweekly basis; to this end, the Centre has developed a life skill training manual for the mentors who act as facilitators.
- The tutors,with the help of theTraining Coordinator,launched a training manual in January 2018 which gives the girls an opportunity to specialize in their area of interest.
- NIGEE participated in International Day of Women in partnership with other organizations and the County Government of Kisumu; the theme was: Pressing for Progress.
- 87 young women and adolescents girls were trained on soap making – a skill they now use to produce detergents and sell to earn a living.
- NIGEE is currently fast-tracking the construction of the new GEC as part of our strategy to address the increasing number of girls enrolling for courses given the limited space at the current centre; the new site will serve approximately 300 girls at one go.
NIGEE is proud to share a success story of one of our beneficiaries:
Quinter was once a disappointed and hopeless young girl. She dropped out of school when her parents got separated. However, her life gained a new meaning when she was enrolled in the NIGEE’s Girls Empowerment Centre where she undertook a hairdressing course, completing in 2017. She is now a paid intern and is able to provide for her and her siblings’ needs.
Quinter hails from Nyando Sub County in Kisumu County. She used to stay with her parents till the year 2007 when her parents separated and her mother left her and her younger siblings, the last of whom was a toddler, under the care of her father and her step mother.
When her mother left, Quinter was 12 years old and in Primary Grade 4. Despite the young age, she took over the role of her mother. She would leave school early in order to look for what they would eat, wash her siblings and their clothes. She reports that the father would leave the house in the morning and return back in the evening empty-handed. They would be reminded to look for their mother any time they asked for food.
Despite the struggle and the condition, she managed to sit for her Grade 8 national exams and scored 306 marks out of the possible 500, an equivalent of grade B Plain. With that, she was qualified to be admitted to a good secondary school; however, her step mother did not want to hear any of that and influenced her father to not support her education.
Luckily, through the intervention of community and well-wishers, she joined secondary school with high hopes of securing and a better future, but this was not to be as the money donated could not sustain her four years in school. She was sent home for fees so many times she ended up dropping out. Her extended family also declined to help: “I remember trying to seek help from my uncles who turned me away, saying my dad was able to afford my fees but my step mother was adamant. I left home disappointed and bitter with everyone, and especially my dad.”
She then decided to move to Sori Beach in Homabay County with the hope of earning a living. At the beach she would wash and sun-dry dagaa (sardine-like) fish for the fishermen and women and earned about KES 4500 (USD 45) a month. While at the Beach, she learnt about NIGEE Girls Empowerment Centre through a friend: “I learnt about NIGEE’s Girls Empowerment Centre through a friend and I got interested in knowing more so I borrowed a phone from a friend and made a call. I was briefed about the courses and requirements for the registration. I got interested in Hair Dressing and Therapy.”
She saved the little she was earning at the beach to help her register and for her upkeep during the training and was enrolled in 2017. She was one of the best students in her Hairdressing class – a performer both in theory and practical sessions. She was passionate about what she was doing.
After completing her course and graduating with a certificate in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Vera was placed for attachment at a saloon where her performance was exemplary, and they offered her a job at the saloon. She reported earning KES 500 (USD 5) on a good day. She is now an independent woman able to take care of her bills, pay rent and even support her sibling’s education.
Quinter plans to save and start her own hairdressing business by opening her own saloon, with a hope to eventually creating job opportunities for other girls like her.
The 1st Floor walling and formwork at the GEC site
The New GEC site under construction.
Part of the girls during the hairdressing session
NIGEE school girls during a mentorship session