Mar 10, 2020

One stitch after another towards self-reliance

Tailoring trainees at work
Tailoring trainees at work

Dear Friends,

I want to tell you about how your help has allowed us to start a new tailoring and dress-making project.

We've purchased program manuals and 5 tailoring machines, including one specially-designed for disabled persons, and recruited a volunteer trainer. As of January 15th, we're thrilled to have 8 youth enrolled in this new course. Once we can acquire the funds to purchase five more machines, we'll expand enrollment.

Through this training, we help marginalized youth to find employment or start businesses so they can become self-reliant and support their families.  We know this community-focused approach works. For 19 years, the Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre has supported youth through skills training, health education and life and leadership skills initiatives. The 12 youth who completed our recent 6-month masonry and tile-fitting course, for example, are all now employed in the construction industry.

Ways to Increase Your Impact

You might have heard before that successful fundraising is all about tapping into your direct network - asking the people in it if they know anyone who might become a supporter. This is a challenge for SYSC because our network -- our board members, staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries -- generally come from within Shauri Yako's impoverished community and have many responsibilities already. For SYSC to help more youth, we know we need to focus on fundraising and we'd love your help. From telling a couple of friends about our grassroots efforts to bring hope and opportunity to youth, to researching grant opportunities or writing applications, your help or connections to those who might be able to get involved would be invaluable to us. Please hit reply to let us know of your interest.

Thanks again for your continued generosity. Without it, we could not support the disadvantaged youth, displaced peoples and refugees here in the Shauri Yako slums of Nyeri. Your commitment to improving the lives of our youth and their families is a wonderful gift.


Dec 11, 2019

Empowerment: The Best Kind of Gift

2019 Masonry Trainee
2019 Masonry Trainee


As the year draws to a close, we want to thank you for all that you have made possible! Thanks to you, our new project - to provide livelihood and live skills training to the impoverished youth of the Shauri Yako community - is on its way.

We have acquired 4 new sewing machines in preparation to launch a new tailoring and dress making program and recruited a volunteer teacher. We're eager to raise to buy the 4 additional machines we need to get going (1 for disabled students)! 

Are you still searching for holiday gift ideas for someone that has everything and likes to have an impact? How about donating toward the cost of these machines and changing the life course of trainees?

Tailoring skills are in high demand in our community because they provide opportunities for self-employment and home-run businesses and have low start-up costs. All of the students that SYSC trained in tailoring and dressmaking in past years are successfully self-employed.

We are also ready to launch a new masonry, plumbing and tile fitting training program in early 2020, once we raise funds to cover trainees' workers compensation insurance costs. And we're thrilled to tell you that all 12 of the youth who trained and apprenticed in 2019 in partnership with Options for Homes Kenya have secured employment. 

It is because of your generosity that we are able to empower youth with these skills, so they may escape the challenges that poverty brings.  

Thank you for your kindness.

Joe Mwai

Oct 25, 2019

Goal accomplished!

Jambo Friends!

We are thrilled to let you know that we've met our goaland are de-activiting our "Provide Job Skills to Kenyan Slum Youth" project on Global Giving. Thank you, and read on for a snapshot of what we accomplished through your help. 

Please continue to support us through our newly launched Livelihood & Life Skills for Impoverished Youth project. We will train youth in construction trades, tailoring and computer skills, and support their success through health education and life skills training. Everything we do is achieved through hard work, funding from Global Giving donors and the support of volunteers in our community.

Over the past 8 years, we are proud to have:

  • Offered many rounds of job skills training in high demand trades like tailoring, welding and masonry
  • Forged partnerships with the private sector and local trade associations to offer apprenticeships
  • Rebuilt our drop-in centre so it is not just a refuge from the streets, but also structurally sound
  • installed 2 flush toilets in a community where up to 30 people shared each pit-latrine
  • Built a computer lab and provided basic computer training
  • Offered ongoing soccer, Scouting and music and theatre programming to give youth an outlet and confidence
  • Delivered reproductive health education to prevent high rates of teen pregnancy, STDs and violence against girls, including peer-led training within schools and radio programming that aired for 45 minutes twice a week
  • Collaborated with a local church to provide medical checkups and treatments
  • Started an informal school that operated at capacity to help give little kids who cannot afford to attend school a shot at an education.

This project occurred over a remarkable period of time for Kenya. The country suffered the worst drought in over 60 years as we began this project, with over 11 million Kenyans needing food aid and most in our community only able to afford 2 meals a day. We worked hard with government representatives and other stakeholders to brainstorm ideas for food security and poverty reduction. 2 fires ravaged our community, leading to loss of homes and even 1 life, despite our ongoing petitioning to local government to instal a water point (and sewage system). And political turmoil after the disputed presidential elections polarized the country, creating uncertainty about the future, taking a toll on the economy and making life even more challenging for the people we serve. On the bright side, after 52 years and lots of advocacy from SYSC, the Kenyan government agreed to give title deeds to the residents of Shaurio Yako slums.  This brought enormous peace and security for the people here, some of whom had been living in uncertain since being displaced during the Mau Mau freedom war in the 1960s.

Again, our achievements are possible because of your generosity. We think the best way to show how deeply your support was valued is to hear again from some of its beneficiaries. 

“I was very hopeless, desperate for something to do … to make a living. Here in Shauri Yako slums … everybody here is fighting for survival, women are vulnerable to abuse, and sex related diseases, HIV/AIDS and being sold to slavery. I had given up, and SYSC’s program has given me hope… I want us to form a cooperative with others and start a small business or Jua kali, making affordable women’s sanitary pads.” - Mercy N -

“I am 48 year of age; I learned how to use a computer and how to operate an email account here at SYSC. Today, many Kenya government services are offered online, and most people in Shauri Yako community are not computer literate, but we can learn and access the free computer services at Shauri Yako Centre.”. - Jane M -

I am 19 years old and unemployed single mother of two children. I didn’t have knowledge of reproductive health until I attended SYSC Reproductive Health Program here early this year. I am now able to take care of myself, but many youth here are ignorant. There is a huge need for RHE in our community. Girls from 14 years who live in Shauri Yako, Manjengo and Kiawara slums are always at risk. Our custom doesn’t allow parents to teach their children about reproductive health, as a result we make many mistakes that have painful consequences. SYSC project was very helpful. -Ngendo M _

We know this world has many causes that need support. Thank you very much for directing yours to the youth of Shauri Yako. Asante sana!

Joe Mwai

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