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Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya

by Empowering Minds International, Inc.
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Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Feed and Empower Domestic Violence Survivors-Kenya
Imani in the workshop
Imani in the workshop

Our work at Agatha Amani House goes on during the three-month  lockdown due to COVID-19. We continue to serve our current residents, but have not taken new survivors into the shelter since the virus outbreak due to risk of infection. We utilize remote screening to advise survivors in the community of the options and resources available to them. 

 AAH is grateful to be approved for a GlobalGiving microgrant to address challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Planning is underway to build a quarantine room separate from the shelter house where we can house and safely integrate new residents, as well as our furloughed staff members as they return.

 Self-sufficiency is a goal we strive for, and it has been a benefit during these challenging times. Cultivating crops and livestock within the shelter compound have provided for most of our food needs. Through a grant from Urgent Action Fund-Africa, we are constructing a new biogas digester to replace our old one, which will better generate sufficient clean energy for heating and cooking.  The grant also covers the purchase of two additional cows and an expansion of the cowshed.

 In the midst of these challenges, we celebrate the success of one of our graduates. Imani (not her real name) fled an abusive marriage with her child. The fact that she is deaf created an additional barrier to independence, but during her time at Agatha Amani House, she was able to heal and to develop strength and resiliency. She is now self-sufficient, working in a mini-factory which allows her to provide for herself and her child.  

 As AAH strives to adapt to a “new normal”, we are grateful to those donors who support our work to provide healing and hope to the survivors of gender-based violence.

Young residents
Young residents
Dolly and Dotty at Agatha Amani House
Dolly and Dotty at Agatha Amani House

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Valentine's Empowerment Message
Valentine's Empowerment Message

The farm is doing well thanks to plentiful rain, which is expected to continue. We were able to hire a farm supervisor last month, who will oversee the operation of the farm and animal care. Through a Creation Care grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, EMI is exploring the development of a demo Permaculture garden on our land outside the shelter walls. This partnership will allow EMI to share the experience and expertise the staff and residents have gained in this method of farming.

We have been blessed with volunteers from Germany and Canada, who bring a great deal of enthusiasm and energy to our programs. In preparation for Valentine’s Day, they helped staff an Agatha Amani House display at the mall in nearby Navaisha, with this message: If everyone showed their partners love, there would be no victims of abuse. We also provided information about Permaculture and its three principles – People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share.

The Agatha Amani House shelter has been at capacity since November, usually with an equal number of survivors and children. Two survivors graduated this month into safe and violence-free living situations. We have identified the need for a transition fund to provide initial rent and living expenses for our graduates, in order to better set them up for success. 

We remain grateful for the donors and volunteers who support our work to break the cycle of poverty and gender-based violence in Kenya.

New graduate preparing to move to her own place
New graduate preparing to move to her own place
Everyone helps on the farm
Everyone helps on the farm
Farm bounty
Farm bounty
Valentine's Day display
Valentine's Day display
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Thanks to the plentiful rain this season in Kenya, the gardens at Agatha Amani are flourishing.  An international volunteer has provided solid guidance in sustaining our Permaculture program. She put together classes for the residents and tracks their progress in learning the principles of this approach to agriculture. As the residents progress, they take on roles with more responsibility. EMI has one resident who was selected for an internship as Farm Supervisor. Another resident has begun work as Farm Caretaker, with her earnings set aside to provide funds for when she transitions to the community. EMI is intentional in providing growth opportunities for individual residents, in order to prepare them for independent living.

The residents have been working to write their personal stories, as a means of both healing and empowerment. They have also been assisted in writing resumes. As many are still quite young with limited work experience, strengths assessment is important. Their resumes may be aspirational at first, but this exercise provides focus for the future.

We continue to plan for our expanded capacity. EMI has secured an agreement to purchase the adjoining property, and are working with an attorney to secure the title and finalize the purchase. We have funding for the new fencing that will be required. Once that is completed, we plan to purchase and equip a greenhouse.    

We appreciate those donors and volunteers who support our work to provide healing for survivors of gender-based violence. At Agatha Amani House, we are working to provide these women and their children with hope for the future.  

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Young residents at Agatha Amani House
Young residents at Agatha Amani House

EMI is pleased to report continued progress toward expanding the capacity of Agatha Amani’s agricultural component. We have negotiated a price with the owner of the adjoining property, and have an agreement to purchase it. Thanks to funds raised through Global Giving, our annual golf tournament, and two significant individual gifts, we have the funds in hand to make this goal a reality.

Once the property purchase is completed, EMI will tackle the improvements outlined in our project proposal – fencing the property and purchasing and equipping a greenhouse – all with the dual goals of self-sustainability for the shelter and increased skills and healing for the residents.

The shelter population continues to consist of equal numbers of women and young children. While this provides the opportunity for parenting education in the shelter, children pose an additional challenge for residents to find suitable housing, child care and employment upon leaving Agatha Amani House. Staff provides follow-up for residents as they transition to the community; at times, women may return to Agatha Amani House for help in navigating the barriers they encounter in the community, whether related to safety or finances. 

One resident completed the required training for a security certificate. She has obtained employment, however, she continues to seek work in the security field. Another resident is enrolled in a 2-year college program in business. A third continues her training in a hydroponics program.  

We have been blessed with a number of international volunteers seeking a meaningful experience at Agatha Amani House. Their energy and enthusiasm have enriched the programming for our residents, including life skills, exercise, and music.

We remain grateful for the support of donors who support our work to address gender-based violence. At Agatha Amani House, we are working each day to break the cycle of domestic violence and poverty in Kenya.


Planting in no-till/dig beds
Planting in no-till/dig beds
Learning about water conservation through mulching
Learning about water conservation through mulching
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Agatha Amani crops
Agatha Amani crops

EMI is excited to report that we have raised 100% of the funds projected necessary for the purchase of an acre of land adjacent to our property but we are still in need of funds for a greenhouse and fencing. Funds raised through GlobalGiving provided us a strong start, and we employed a diversified approach to raising the remainder through a local fund-raising event, presentations to civic groups and leaders, and following up on leads from strong supporters of EMI’s mission of empowering victims of sexual and domestic violence and their children in Kenya.

 

EMI has been in conversation with the owner of the property we hope to buy. Further negotiations will be pursued in the coming months. The purchase of an adjoining acre is critical to growing the agricultural component of our programming. In addition, the increased acreage will provide Agatha Amani House with adequate distance from neighbors to maintain the confidentiality required for the safety of our residents and posible room for future expansion.

Once the property is purchased, EMI will continue to work toward the improvements outlined in our project proposal – fencing the property and purchasing and equipping a greenhouse – all with the dual goals of self-sustainability for the shelter and increased skills and healing for the residents. 

 

We have welcomed new women into the shelter in recent months, nearly all with infants or young children. We have also celebrated residents leaving us for job or training opportunities, and assist them in finding a healthier living situation than the one they fled when they came to Agatha Amani House.

 

One resident graduated with a certificate to work in the security field. Another is enrolled in cosmetology school, after some initial struggles upon leaving the shelter. We are particularly proud of one resident who has been admitted into a program to be trained in the use of hydroponics in agriculture. We look forward to learning from her, as we strive to maximize our agricultural productivity. We feel confident that this education will enhance her employment prospects when she leaves the shelter.

We remain grateful for the support of donors who are helping make this project a reality. At Agatha Amani House, we are working each day to break the cycle of domestic violence and poverty.

Hydroponics school
Hydroponics school
Hydroponics school
Hydroponics school

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Organization Information

Empowering Minds International, Inc.

Location: Leawood, KS - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AgathaAmani
Project Leader:
Nyakio Kaniu-Lake
Leawood, KS United States
$6,301 raised of $40,000 goal
 
84 donations
$33,699 to go
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