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Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children

by Springs of Hope Foundation
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Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children

Dear *|FNAME|*,

I hope and trust that this finds you and your loved ones healthy and well in these unprecedented times. We stand alongside you in supporting our fearless frontline workers and first responders globally. They give us hope and inspire us daily with their courage. 
As trusted allies and supporters of our work at Springs of Hope Foundation I wanted to share how we are pivoting our efforts to protect our education programs, and most importantly, the women, girls, and families we serve in our community in Nakuru, Kenya during these rapidly changing times. As you know, many African countries are currently being devastated by the exponential rise of COVID-19 on the continent. ICUs, emergency rooms, sanitary water for hand washing and social distancing are provisional luxuries afforded to a tiny percentage of the population of Sub Sahara- Africa.
This week our area chief informed us that while traveling outside their homes, everyone must wear a face mask. That's a pretty daunting challenge for most people in our community. These are women who have to fetch water in 20 Liter Jerry cans daily and visit the market several times a week as they can't afford to purchase food in bulk. There simply aren’t any face masks available to the poorest, most vulnerable members of our community.
We were in the final stages of making free school uniforms for the children at Slum Hill Primary, to be delivered next month. However, with the unknown of exactly when school will begin again in Kenya, we have instantly switched gears and are now making face masks,to be given out to our community for free. In the months ahead, or maybe weeks ahead, I’m sure we’ll also be making scrubs for the health care workers, and quite frankly, anything else that will be needed in the upcoming, unknown difficult times ahead. 
In truth, I never expected this to be our challenge and focus this spring in Kenya. But our ability to pivot and answer this unexpected call to action and meet the ever-changing needs of our community is a testament to your collective support. Our work is a reflection of the inspiration you give us daily through your encouragement and outreach. Our community in Kenya has never needed us more. 
Thank you for all you do to support women's and girl’s education and empowerment globally.
Warmest regards,
Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

  • As you know, I always like to share positive, uplifting pictures of our students in my newsletters, as I share their many success stories with you. 
  • However, I wanted to give you a glimpse into our neighborhood.
  • It's called Free Area.
  • However, for the families who live in these overcrowded rental houses there is nothing free about living here.
Each door is home for one family of 6 or more.
Each door is home for one family of 6 or more.
There is one pit toilet at the end of the row.
There is one pit toilet at the end of the row.
Our neighborhood. "Free Area" Nothing is free here
Our neighborhood. "Free Area" Nothing is free here
Rent can be a large portion of the family income
Rent can be a large portion of the family income

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I am very excited to tell you that the young women who graduated from our one-year training course last December and choose to remain in Nakuru are doing very well in the facility that hired them. It took a month for them to learn how to make the very stylish bags and fashion accessories that the facility is making for the export market, but for the past 6 weeks, they have been paid per item produced. They’re thrilled to be earning a living and becoming productive members of their society. Fourteen months ago this would have only been an impossible dream for these young women. Their families couldn’t raise the money to send them to vocational training. Their futures, especially our deaf students, as marginally educated women would have been unmanageable. Our students tell us stories of childhoods where, instead of going to school, they had to walk long distances to fetch water. If they were orphaned a neighbor or relative would take them in and, instead of letting them go to school year-round, use them as house girls and childminders.

As with almost every other corner of the world, COVID-19 arrived in Kenya a little over a week ago. Fortunately, the Kenya government had ample time to prepare and acted immediately. To date, there are only 7 cases. On Monday this week, the Kenyan government announced mitigation policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya. It has directed all schools to close for the next 30 days, beginning immediately. Similar measures have been taken in other East African countries including Rwanda and Tanzania. My immediate worry was that, while we’re a vocational training college, coming under the same mandate, sending our students home to overcrowded slums would be much worse than staying put in our facility and self-isolating until things settle down. We spoke to our area chief about the situation. Unfortunately, his hands were tied, and we were required to send the students back to their respective villages.

However, we’ve been given a very unexpected reprieve at the very unfortunate expense of our two volunteers from Germany, Kira, and Sara who arrived in Kenya the day before the government banned all but returning citizens and residents from entering Kenya. After spending the weekend sightseeing in Nairobi, they met up with our office manager, Beryl and traveled back to Nakuru together on a crowded minibus. The following morning Beryl mingled with our students, introduced our volunteers to our students and then learned of the government mandate to close all schools. Learning that we had two visitors from Germany staying with us, the health department put our project into quarantine for two weeks. For us, that’s good news, as the students are safe for the time being. Our teacher, Martha, who is also under quarantine from home, checks in on the students daily.

As for Kira and Sara…they have taken their quarantine admirably. Sadly, visiting us was the first leg of their one year journey across Sub Sahara Africa. One a social worker and child advocate and the other an engineer, they were so excited about the contribution they could make to our students' personal empowerment, growth, and education. They have had to remain separated from our students in our guest house, with no social interaction. As soon as their two week quarantine period is over they will be returning to Germany.

As you can undoutably appreciate, this is going to be a particularly tough time for fundraising for charities and NGO’s worldwide. Thank you for your ongoing support of Springs of Hope Foundation. Your support will ensure that our young women and staff can work through these issues and resume providing free, quality education as soon as it is practicable.

 We will keep you updated but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at jenniferhughes@springsofhopefoundation.org

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

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Some of Margaret's proud family members at graduat
Some of Margaret's proud family members at graduat

 

 Meet Margaret, along with just a few of her very proud family members on Margaret's graduation day earlier this month.

Margaret comes from a family of twelve, four brothers and seven sisters. She is the last born in the family. Her father is a casual laborer and was not able to take her to college after her form four. Margaret was born as a normal child, able to hear and talk. She went to her nursery class as a normal child. When she was in class two, she developed recurring headaches. She was hospitalized for three months, during this time the worst happened and she lost her hearing ability completly. Her parents could not believe what had happened to their daughter, but afterwards enrolled her into Ngala school for the deaf. During her last year of high school, she lost her mother, who had been struggling with poor health for several years. This left Margaret devastated. She says life has never been the same since losing her mother, until she came to Springs of Hope Foundation's Kijiji Mission project and now sees a bright future ahead

There is indeed a bright future ahead for Margaret, along with the other young women who recently graduated from our 12-month course earlier this month. They have all been offered jobs at a local company. That’s right…ALL of the young women, including our hearing-impaired students.

It can be very difficult for the deaf to find employment in Kenya, or anywhere else in the underdeveloped world for that matter, so we are thrilled to know that they will all go on to paid employment when they return from a very well earned Christmas break in January. 

We are so very grateful for your continued support in 2019. As we look forward to a new intake of young women in the new year our wish is that you continue to include Springs of Hope Foundation in your charitable giving.

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and a New Year filled with Many Blessings.

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

CEO

 



Our proud graduates and family members
Our proud graduates and family members
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Hi,
Wow, it will be two weeks today since my return to Kenya after a wonderful, but fleeting, three months spent at my Northern Michigan home in Big Bay. Returning to Big Bay is always wonderful. Being back with family and friends, sleeping in my own bed and just loving a long, hot shower...Ahhh, the comforts of home! Being able to just turn on the tap and drink the water, or go among the shelves of the supermarket with bountiful fresh produce and way, way too many choices for other goods :)  all of which there are no comparisons to where I spend so much time each year.
A couple of years ago a dear friend asked me a question. At the time we were just enjoying the company of a few good friends and sharing thoughts. 
The question we were all asked was: "Where in the world would want to be at this moment?" My immediate response was, right here, right now, enjoying this moment with you, sharing the blessing of your friendship and good company. No matter where here and now is, be it Kenya, Michigan or our home in Australia or wherever I may be, I always enjoy the moment, savor the experience and give thank to God for my abundantly blessed life...

Our training project is coming along tremendously. Our students have had the opportunity to recieve invaluable taining from volunteers from all over the world. Each  volunteer contributes a different, unique skill to our program.

Sophia from Isreal spent her time with us helping organize our office after our recent move.

Laura, a social worker from Germany focused on giving our students power point lessons on mental health, self esteem, self-talk etc.

Leila from Switzerland spent the majority of her time with us running our computer classroom and teaching an HIV/AIDS awarement course.

Mayca and Robin from the UK.
Mayca focused on teaching the students many new sewing and craft skills. The most popular one being crocheting. The young ladies now spend their evening leisure time chatting, laughing, joking and just being teenage girls...while crochet needles are at full speed. They love this new skill and I must say, their work is very good.

Robin was kept very busy during his time with us. I think he will agree that his most important contribution to our project was assisting our hearing impaired students, who will be graduating in December, with the paperwork and filing needed to apply for a small business startup government grant for the disabled.
The girls have a well thought out business plan
and this grant will set them on their path to success.

Melissa from Brazil was with us for a couple of months and taught our students so much about the delicate environment we all live in. Among the many things Melissa taught our students was how to make Ecko Bricks out of plastic bottles. Melissa's most enduring gift to our students will be the time she spent teaching them how efficiently compost their organic waste into rich soil that will nourish a fertile and productive family garden plot.

Every volunteer contributes their own unique and valuable talent to our program and leaves a lasting impression with our students. If you would like more information about becomming a volunteer with us please email me at jenniferhughes@springsofhopefoundation.org or visit our web page www.springsofhopefoundation.org

Asante Sana,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom



Laura, a social worker from Germany.
Laura, a social worker from Germany.
Leila from Switzerland teaching our computer class
Leila from Switzerland teaching our computer class
Melissa from Brazil helping in the computer class
Melissa from Brazil helping in the computer class
Melissa also taught about recycling & composting.
Melissa also taught about recycling & composting.

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Graduation Day 2019
Graduation Day 2019

After a very long 12 months of hard work, sacrifice, and long periods of time away from their loved ones, our young ladies graduated at the beginning of this month. There was a great deal of excitement in the week leading up to graduation but on the day of graduation many tears of joy and sadness were shed as we all came to the realization that this brave group of young women who had become part of our family for the past 12 months would be leaving us and venturing into the next exciting stage of their lives. As the certificates were awarded each student made a very moving speech, expressing how much their lives had changed during the time they were with us, how much they have learned and how very grateful they were to be given this life-changing opportunity...More tears...followed by beautiful singing, dancing, and rejoicing.

During the 12 months that the young women are with us, they not only learn every aspect of tailoring, our volunteers also teach beginner computer skills which included working with Word and Excel, preparing their resume, creating their own personal email account and sending an email with an attachment. I know this sounds very mundane to most of us, but our students have not touched a computer when they first arrive. With shaking hands and sweaty palms, the young women are introduced to a whole new and exciting experience that they never dreamed they would be exposed to. This is not only a huge confidence builder for them, but it is also a great help when applying for work at one of the local manufacturing facilities or setting up and running their own business. By the time they graduate, they are quite confident and always eager to take their turn on our computers.

Empowering one young woman not only makes it possible for her to feed, support and educate her family, but the trickle-down effect will also continue for many future generations.

Please help us to continue to empower underprivileged young women by spreading the word about our project and our work. Please share this report on your Facebook, Instagram and other social media pages and encourage your friends to consider becoming one time or monthly donors. We have no office overhead, travel or salary expenses in Australia or the US. 100% of your donation goes directly toward our work in Kenya.

Asante Sana, thank you so very much.

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

Proud family members joined in the celebrations.
Proud family members joined in the celebrations.
With up to 4 generations coming along to rejoice.
With up to 4 generations coming along to rejoice.
Our youngest and oldest proud family members.
Our youngest and oldest proud family members.
A proud moment for Mama Esther.
A proud moment for Mama Esther.
Our counsellor & 2 of our hearing impaired student
Our counsellor & 2 of our hearing impaired student

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Organization Information

Springs of Hope Foundation

Location: Big Bay, MI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Kijiji Mission
Project Leader:
Jennifer Hughes
Big Bay, MI United States
$30,728 raised of $50,000 goal
 
255 donations
$19,272 to go
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