“A journey that started in my early years had come to another level. I had finally completed my high school studies and taken final exams. Waiting for the results is not the best part of any Form Four leaver because you end up with butterflies in your tummy,” says Dorcas.
Along with her two sisters, Dorcas came to St. Vincent’s Rescue Center when she was 5 years old after having lost her mother. Even as a child, Dorcas loved school and demonstrated an impressive work ethic. Today, Dorcas’ hard work in school has paid off. She scored the amount of points needed to attain entry into one of Kenya’s higher learning institutions, which for most is just a pipe dream. Earlier this year, Dorcas was admitted into The Catholic University of Eastern Africa where she chose to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Chemistry.
Dorcas describes her first day at university as ‘amazing’ in many ways. She was anxious but excited as she embarked on her journey to her new campus, wondering what campus life would be like and bubbling with ideas about her career path.
“Growing up, we have heard so many stories about campus life. Now this is me in the same spot,” says Dorcas.
Now in her second semester, Dorcas talks about her new experience with pride and appreciation. It is clear her thirst for education is strong. Dorcas says, “I like that our lecturers are able to share their personal numbers with us students and we keep comparing notes on matters pertaining to education."
Dorcas is enjoying her coursework and interacting with professors. She has joined the school’s table tennis club and the Young Christian Society where she has been able to make friends and participate in community service. Dorcas says:
"Campus life is teaching me to be more independent and explore as much as possible. I can comfortably stand firm and confess that this is a dream come true!”
Dorcas in 2012
Mar 12, 2020
Parent Economic Empowerment Program: Where Are They Now?
By Alice Wanjiru - St. Vincent's Head Teacher
In our last report, we shared with you our efforts in launching a new initiative to help empower parents and other members of our community through business training and lending. We are excited to report on the progress of this work, which commenced one year ago.
At the outset of the program, we recruited 10 participants to join our project. Nine of these were parents of our nursery school children and one was a young woman from our own Rescue Center. All of those recruited participated in the initial training and seven have continued to participate in the program - building their businesses, repaying loans, saving, and attending refresher trainings.
The seven active participants received a total of Kshs 30,000 (~USD$300) in loans, of which 86% of loaned funds have already been repaid (including three participants who have repaid loans in full and four women who are continuing to make payments). All of these participants have started and/or expanded businesses which they continue to run today. Throughout the loan repayment period, these seven participants have also managed to save a total of Kshs 5,700. Below is the status of active participants:
Peris received start-up funding in the amount of Kshs 5,000, which enabled her to open up a local food vending which is still in operation. Peris has been able to repay her loan in full and has saved Kshs 2,500.
Adelight received a loan of Kshs 3,000, which she used to start a business selling corn and onions. Profits from her business are used to pay for rent and food. Adelight has repaid Ksh 2,500 and has saved Ksh 1,500.
Rose received a loan of Kshs 7,000, which she used to improve her auto shop by restocking spare parts. Rose has repaid Kshs 4,000 to date.
Susan received a loan of Kshs 3,000 to start a business selling porridge. The business is doing well and Rose has repaid Kshs 2,800 and has saved Kshs 200.
Beatrice received a loan of Kshs 3,000 to start an egg selling business. Having repaid the loan in full, Beatrice has been able to start saving, with a Kshs 1,500.
Pius received a loan of Kshs 5,000 to expand his food vending business. Increased sales allowed Pius to employ his wife in the business. He has repaid Kshs 4,500 and saved another Kshs 4,500, which he hopes to utilize to further expand his business.
Veronica received a loan of Kshs 4,000 to set up a nail salon. She has repaid the entire loan and her business is doing well. She is hoping to expand her service offerings this year.
We are excited about the acheivements of our participants and our currently exploring ways to grow the program to reach additional parents.
Nov 27, 2019
3 Youth from Rescue Centre Admitted to University
By Alice Wanjiru - Head Teacher, St. Vincent's Nursery School
St. Vincent’s is proud to share the accomplishment of three youth from our rescue centre who graduated from high school last year, and this year, have been enrolled in university. Now accomplished young women, Dorcas, Teresiah and Mercy came to the rescue centre along with their siblings at the young ages 3, 4 and 6, respectively, after the loss of their parents. Two of the young women continue living in the rescue centre today, while one was able to be reunified with family, but has continued to receive educational support from St. Vincent’s.
Throughout their childhood and youth, St. Vincent’s provided shelter, food, health care, and education to these young women. Through life skills training, mentoring and psychosocial support, the young women learned about their sexual reproductive health and rights and were empowered to make decisions to keep themselves healthy.
We are so proud of each of these young women who have overcome tremendous hurdles and trauma in their lives to make it to where they are today. Dorcas is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Education at The Catholic University of Eastern and Central Africa, while Teresia and Mercy are both studying Hotel and Hospitality Management at Utalii University College. We continue to provide support and guidance to them and are excited to watch them navigate their new adventure.