Linet - Seed of Hope student
I hope you are well and have been able to get together with loved ones recently.
In my last email I mentioned that students were delighted to be back in the classroom. Sadly 2 weeks later Kenya went into another lockdown, thankfully this has now been lifted and the vaccine rollout is underway.
As I'm sure you understand, it will be a long time before things return to normal. Sadly unemployment has doubled in Kenya since COVID-19, with a staggering 1.5million young people now out of work. Many families live hand-to-mouth and the casual labour jobs they previously relied upon have been lost. We've seen firsthand the devastating impact this has had. With very few jobs available, self-employment can provide an opportunity to earn a living.
Mary, Florence and the team in Kenya have interviewed 300+ members of the community to assess the impact of COVID-19 on employment and business opportunities, and what training and skills are needed locally. The results showed we urgently needed to make changes to our Seed of Hope vocational training programme to cope with a huge increase in demand for technical and business skills training. This is coupled with a significant drop in funding available to international development charities, including cuts to Government funding, which we had previously received.
To address the increase in demand, and the drop in funding, we are now condensing our technical vocational training courses into 6 months instead of 12 months. Mary and Florence have worked closely with the training authorities to develop a curriculum which covers everything the students need, in a shorter time. This will mean students can learn their skill and start earning quicker, and it means we can train double the number of students at no extra cost.
We are also introducing a new Business, Financial Literacy and Computer Skills short course at all 3 centres which will run for 7 weeks and teach young people everything they need to know to launch a small business and earn a secure income.
These changes will mean in the next year we are able to support 900 vulnerable young people to build a bright, financially secure future, previously this was just 250. Within 3 months of completing the courses we anticipate 90% of students will have set up their own small business or gained employment, and within 6 months we anticipate they will be earning enough to live above the poverty line.
This new beginning for Seed of Hope starts this month with the new cohort of students joining us. We're really excited about the opportunities that await these young people with the right training and support.
This wouldn't be possible without you standing by us. Thank you for helping us get through the toughest year we have faced. We know this has been a difficult time for everyone and your support means the world to us, thank you.
We support young people like Linet, who had an incredibly traumatic childhood, experiencing ongoing sexual abuse and becoming a mother of twins at an early age. Despite performing well at secondary school, before joining Seed of Hope Linet struggled to make ends meet, with no practical skills or opportunities for further education or training.
“My life wouldn’t have been good without Seed of Hope. I’ve found everything that I’ve never had before. I don’t know where I would have been right now without it, I would have been demoralised, I probably would have died because of my low self-esteem and depression.”
Linet joined Seed of Hope in 2019, completing a vocational training course and accessing mental health support through the programme. She graduated with a qualification in Fashion Design and is now a tailor at the company where she did her work experience. As well as supporting her twins, she is now able to send money to support her six siblings with their education and hopes to start her own business when she has saved enough.
Stay safe and thank you once again for your incredibly generous and kind support.