Dec 4, 2018

Safo The S-Hero

Water Tank for rain water harvesting
Water Tank for rain water harvesting

As the world celebrated International Day of Disabled Persons 2018 on 3rd December we would like to celebrate a little known s-hero who despite all challenges she has coped with what many will term impossible. Her name is Safo and she lives in a small village in the outskirts of the town but what makes her the s-hero is the fact that she is taking care of her 9 children and 10 grandchildren single handedly. When people talk about disability what comes to mind is physical only and mental illness is not highly rated as it is not physically visible. Hidden from the masses and lost in their own little minds is the fate of the children the mother bore and one after the other they all had the same disorder affecting them. None of them is married and the girls keep on being defiled and giving birth to children with unknown fathers.

One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. In the case of Safo and her children seeking professional help is not even one of the options. Many call them the mad people and even go ahead to describe how the entire household is full of mad people. No one identified Safo's household as vulnerable and until one HODI staff visisted them. The stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders like Safo's family, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the case of Safo, 4 girls, 5 boys and now the 10 grandchildren there is total neglect and very little understanding of what ails them in the first place. Days turned to months, then years and now decades they have been feeding off leftovers from the trash bins. Many days are without anything to feed the family but Safo never gave up. Single handedly she scavenged for whatever was available until when one day she identified by a HODI staff leading to a visit for vulnerability assessment. It was heartbreaking what the team witnessed and all agreed that they are indeed vulnerable. Some good news coming Safo's way and she could not believe what she was hearing breaking down in tears. She confessed having not received any support for her family but was so scared almost talking in whispers for fear of anyone overhearing the conversation. In one room they all lived spreading down boxes the structure barely holding on due to the long exposure to rain and harsh weather. Not a single container to collect the rainwater instead the water literally collected in the house leaving them with no place to put their heads when night falls. But this was the least of their worries as the survival mode kicks then every month since September of 2017 the worry was no more.

As one of the 80 Households supported the family received cash transfer for 4 months combined to buy dry foodstuffs and just the basics needed in their household. With your donations were able to make this possible and also provide one water tank with gutters to collect rainwater. It was a scary moment as the 4 months come to an end and while we were figuring out how to convey the message we got one donor giving on monthly basis and there was a glimpse of hope for the family. It is the small little acts of kindness that make a difference. To Safo, her 9 children and 10 grandchildren there is need to keep the lights on, food on the table and achieve stability with resilience. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and generous donatons and we look forward to sharing how Safo's family and children will get professional help. 

The Tap fitted on the tank
The Tap fitted on the tank

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Dec 3, 2018

Hope with a ball in village

Asugo with his only tool football
Asugo with his only tool football

Some moments change ones life for good and in the case of Asugo football has completely transformed his life. He started playing from a very young age and is now a HODI champion for peace. he lost his father as child and was raised by a single mother. Life was not easy for him including access to education and sports and play was a luxary beyond his dreams. His inspiration has made many young boys and girls pursue their education and have fun while plating football. He comes from the pastoralist nomadic community in a little known village and his hope was one day to just play in the village league. But as fate will have it he had a chance to play at the highest level in the history....the world cup in russia. The year was 2018 June as he left the village he was blessed by the elders and 6 months later he came back to transform his little village now with 10 teams and everyday kids playing football. 

Your support has enabled the provision of balls to start off the training in the village in the past 3 months. As he recently visited the town center all he had was gratitude from him, his mother and the entire community. You invested in one young player who has had a ripple effect of reaching 100 children just by himself. Imagine if Asugo was given all the support he needed to take the game to the next level? The rough pitch in the village has become his arena where he performs and gets the kids to learn about shoot to score not to kill. Through football bringing the young people together and even talking about the conflict issues while learning team play, tolerance and acceptance of diversity.

Our hope is to have the Shoot to Score Academy operational by the year 2020 this will only be achieved only with your support. It has been a long journey but you have walked with us through the toughest path and now its time to make what was once a dream the reality. The sun is almost setting in this little unknown village and we have to catch up with Asugo on how many kids he trained today! Tomorrow is another new day and as the sun rises so does the hope of transforming the communities through football. 

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Aug 16, 2018

One Girl at a Time

Teams lining up ready for football
Teams lining up ready for football

One out of every four girls in Kenya is married off before the age of 18, a new report has revealed. North Eastern and Upper Eastern have the highest prevalence of marrying off underage girls at 56% and Nairobi has the lowest at 7%.

Many girls in the villages are seen as capital and parents are ashamed of the girls getting pregnant before marriage. Many parents enter into a future contract in advance where the parents of the boy will buy the girl at a predetermined price at a specified time in future. In order to facilitate the exchange the parents of the girl have to ensure they deliver quality girl or one that is untouched. In most instances now the exchange is inform of livestock or money and to justify this economic transaction communities have combined culture coated with religion so that no one can question.

Despite the fact that Kenyan parliament adopted Marriage Act in 2014 which gives the age of marriage as 18. The legislation has done little to curb the criminal act even though the legislation purportedly applies to both customary and religious marriages. If the law was to be followed to the latter then many of the parents we are currently working with will be in jail. We choose to break the silence through football. In the beginning the girls playing football was unacceptable; lifting your legs up was considered a taboo.

In the past 4 years HODI's numbers are impressive, it's seeing HODI's work at play in the lives of individual girls that really illustrates how the innovative approach is transforming lives. The initial team had 12 girls who played in HODI league. This was short lived after the 1st regional tournament 8 of the girls was kidnapped for marriage the year was 2008. A decade later the situation has changed for the better but this took a lot of commitment and encouragement from the staff, the schools and the community.

We will share with you the story of the vice president; the 1st one ever in her school and from her village. A young girl, 14 years old, is the Deputy President at her school. This is something you cannot dare dream of in the past. Having been brought up by a single mother in a vulnerable family the young girl was the only daughter of her parents. "I was so shy at first," she says, "but after some time football changed me.

For several years parents did not support girls playing football but in the future, when I'm a mother, I want to support girls playing football. Breaking the silence sessions deal with issues of confidence, hygiene, rights and responsibility and learning about money. “She’s also in the top five of her class - a position usually reserved for the more outspoken boys, says her head teacher, ”Since she started participating in football league, she has opened up in terms of her performance and leadership skills." All of this is possible because of the football otherwise she would have been a child mother like many others.

It takes a lot of courage and commitment to keep a girl away from child marriage and help her pursue her dreams through education. The young girls dream is to be the Governor of Marsabit County one day in future; this will only remain as a dream if not nurtured. Daring to dream is the first step and this has been made possible because of the support you have continued to give HODI as an organisation. The donations helped purchase sanitary pads for the girls; offer life skills sessions; football sessions and above all support girls like the young girl with leadership awards to pursue her studies.

In order for a vulnerable girl to access basic education she will need tuition fees for 4 academic years in high school; sanitary pads and other essentials. This is combined with football and lifeskills sessions on being herself, being healthy, being empowered and knowledge about money giving her confidence and enabling her to have a voice and choice.

The cost of tuition fees alone for one vulnerable girl is $1,000 for one academic year. While we have 2 football pitches and a few safe spaces for the girls to play; HODI;s Dream is to have the HODI Center where the girls have access to all the services in one place and are kept away from child marriage. The physical plans are already in place and as a team we shall keep you posted on the bigger dream on making every home safe for the girls.

It’s now 4.00pm in Kenya and time to start packing and getting ready to walk home!

Girls getting ready for their1st game
Girls getting ready for their1st game

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