August 8, 2015
Below is a report from one of the girls, Caroline, who we have mentored. I thought you would like to hear from her in her own words.
"When I joined SAWA in July 2012, I did not have any work experience; the three month mentorship period was to make a complete change in my life, a change that has made me who I am today, a model to be emulated by girls in my community. The experience gave me an opportunity to build my confidence which because I was assured that I was important regardless of my humble background. Up to this day, I have carried the motto and walk shoulders high because I can do anything presented to me without fear.
In the initial weeks at SAWA, I experienced language difficulties. I communicated well in Kiswahili but poorly in English, however the majority of persons I worked with talked in English. Therefore I was very reserved in communication at the beginning, but in the course of months, through interaction and encouragement by others I improved. Today my English is so good that I am proud to play the role I have as a secretary in my local church.
Through the workshops that we attended I learned about conflict and management and through this knowledge I act as a peace ambassador in my home particularly between my parents and siblings. I am valued due to this which makes me proud of myself.
Currently I am doing a secretarial course while at the same time operating my saloon business. The business skills that I got from SAWA helped me draw a business plan and start this business. Although in its early stages, it is doing fairly well and I am able to do bookkeeping as well as communicate to my customers well and attract a good market. In the secretarial course class, I am the best because I have computer skills learnt at SAWA. My classmates mates look up to me for advice and coaching.
I also started a group with six ex-high school girls where we go to primary schools giving talks to girls on sex, early marriages and careers. I am the brain behind the idea. Although we are busy in other things, we make sure that such talks are offered at least once in a month. An in such talks,I am the coordinator. And I have the confidence to do it. Thank you SAWA for building my confidence."
With gratitude for your support in this effort to mentor young girls in Kenya.
My community is extremely grateful for the purchase of the mill that grinds our cassava into flour to make many food products ranging from donuts to cakes. By having the flour available, these products can be made and sold at a profit resulting in the income of our community increasing greatly. I am not through though. My goal is to keep working to help my community to be as prosperous as possible.
We have been learning many lessons. One has to do with the processing of cassava. Before cassava flour is milled, cassava tubers are first chopped and dried. Farmers in the area have been using some rather unhygienic means. They have been spreading the cassava chips on gunny bags and drying in the sun. This exposes the cassava into all manner of contamination especially dust.
Fortunately, this will now be history. Farmers have started fabricating driers. They are making these driers from cheap and readily available materials. Cassava chips are dried in these covered driers. This goes a long way in improve hygiene standards of the food. The covers are intentionally dark to absorb more heat thus quickening and making the drying process more efficient..
Thank you for your continued support to improve food security and the local economy in my village.
Work is going well at the Dentcare Kenya dental clinics-Mihango/Embakasi and Kayole-Matopeni , and at the Mwingi Dental Hospital. In addition, my postgraduate schooling is interesting and indeed a new experience in learning healthcare systems. I have learned a number of things on healthcare laws and the making of health policies, financial accounting and management in the healthcare sector as a well as quantitative analysis and statistics for healthcare management. The coursework is really interesting-we even did a case study of the Obamacare in comparison with our own NHIF/Free Maternity care/Free under 5years healthcare. At the end of the taught classes we are meant to submit a research thesis on our areas of interest in the healthcare sector.
This is one of a kind program in East Africa and probably the whole of Africa. So far only 2 intakes have been done, I am in the 2nd lot. Healthcare in Kenya as per the 2010 constitution was devolved/decentralized to the county governments and so far the system is experiencing a myriad of teething problems. It’s in the wake of this that I have seen the opportunity to study healthcare management with the hope that when we have new leaders in the county governments, I can be part of the reformists in the healthcare sector.
The going is tough but the tough have to keep going. I continue working with volunteers to offer dental screenings to the poor. It is a rewarding experience. Thank you for your support in this effort.
With warm appreciation,