The class is full of students. From their faces you can guess that they have been eagerly waiting for this day. The students are between 13 and 17 years, from the back you can hear them giggling and whispering, probably happy that the visitors have arrived.
The teacher tells me there are 100 students. “Great, that is manageable,” I reply with a hesitant voice. From the front I could notice a few boys. They are visibly uncomfortable. It is clear that they do not know why they are there in the first place. I do not want to judge, so I tell my team to continue with the session. From the window I can see more students peeping, perhaps an indication that they want to be part of this session. One of my colleagues starts talking about puberty asking a few questions. The reality hit me in 2014, when my friends and I visited a local orphanage, one girl approached me for Ksh 50 (50 cents). At first I was very hesitant, but she insisted. I gave her. She disappeared for about 10 minutes and came back. I asked my female colleagues to inquire what the money was for. It turned out that someone she trusted was asking for sex in exchange for sanitary towels. My heart sunk. I was angry at the situation and I vowed to support women and girls get access to menstrual products since then. Some 1.2 billion women and girls globally lack access to feminine hygiene products (Menstrual Products).
The past 3 months, Garden of Hope Foundation through your generous supported has supported 1,500 women and girls get access to menstrual hygiene products. WE have seen the number of school dropout out decrease, self-confidence of women and girls increase and the classes are full.
"My name is Janet, I am a mother of two beautiful children. I was raised in the Village about 7 hours away from Nairobi. Growinig up, I had dreams of becoming a succefull Doctor and be able to take of my family. I come from a poor village and my family was not able to take care of my education. I then started to work as a houselp in one of fthe nearby estate as I also go to school, I was earning a minimum of $ 2 a day supporting my family and myself.
Life was so difficult and evnetually dropped out of school, back in the village my family belileve that girls are "assets", and they should not work because they will end up being married and their husbands will take care of them. I found myself in this lie and before I knew it, I was forcefully married and taken to Nairobi with promise of a "better life". After 2 years, my "husband" became physiclally and emmotionally abusive. "You cannnot read or write,useless woman" He told me these hurting words. I left that home with two kids and my friend offered to host me.
I learnt about the women economic empowerment program from friend and I applied for it. The women economic empowerment equips young mothers or women who have been forcefully married with practical skills on leadership and entrepreneurship. My friend has offered me to stay in her house untill I get back on my feet through this program.I have so far learnt how to start a small business and how to use my skills and talents" Janet 25 years.
You donation this April will be matched up 50%.
You donation is supports young mothers like Janet with practical entrepreneurship skills.
"I am done with my final high shool examination" these were Joyce's words in December 2018 after graduating from high school. Joyce joined Garden of Hope Foundation school mentorship program four years ago after completing her primiary education. Coming from a humble background, Joyce worked hard to ensure that her final primary school grades could at least admit her to a local high school. We met her three months after she joined high school. Our team had a short conversation with her since she had expressed interest in joining the school mentorship clubs.
'I am currently not sure if I will graduate from high school" Joyce said "My parents earn $ 6 a day and I have six siblings who are also going to school" She continues. Joyce's story represents over 500 students Garden of Hope Foundation work with on a weekly basis through our mentorship program. "Some of the challenges I face currently include access to menstrual products, I miss school when I get my periods because my parents would rather buy food instead of sanitary towels. My books are not enough and I also have school arrears"
The shool mentorship program provides 1,500 girls with menstrual products per quarter. Garden of Hope Foundation was able to suppport Joyce with menstrual products, in addition, we partnered with another organization to ensure that she stayed in school without being sent home.
Joyce just graduated from high school and she is looking forward to joing uniersity in May. Partner with us in 2019 to keep more students like joyce in school.
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