Mentoring 16 orphan and needy girls in Kenya

by PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress

Jan 26, 2016

 

 

Dear Global Giving Friends,

As the year 2015 came to a close, we looked back with gratitude as we counted the many direct and indirect beneficiaries of our project. We will celebrate graduation from university of two of the first group girls at the end of this year. Many others have been impacted positively by the two. Besides, other beneficiaries have joined the informal sector and doing well, some as employees while others are doing their own businesses.

One of such girls is Glory who came to SAWA in December, 2012 after completing her high school education. During her two months mentorship and training period, she was prepared to face the world as an adult now that she was out of school and do activities that would make economic sense to her. As she completed her two months experience she had this to say  “This training has changed my perspective in life, I only thought of employment as a career, but with the skills I have acquired, I can identify a business idea, write a plan and implement it efficiently.  I am confident that no matter how my KSCE results will be, I will not be stranded in life,  thanks to SAWA.”

Three years later, I visited Glory in December 2015 to find out what she was doing. I found her in a Hair Salon/Beauty Palour where she works in a nearby town. She was quick to tell me that although she was employed, she wanted to raise capital and start her own beauty shop where she can train other disadvantaged girls who do not make it to go to the university. She is still thankful to have been part of SAWA to learn that one can do any kind of a job to earn a living. SAWA built her confidence to handle what she is doing.

Glory and another mentee, Caroline live in the same town and attend the same church where they hold leadership positions in their youth group. They have become strong leaders and mentors to the other youths who look upon them for guidance. The mere fact that the two travelled all the way to Nairobi for a mentorship program has given them recognition by the youth, besides the guidance that they provide. They hold social activities at the church where they meet to discuss challenges facing young people and encouraging each other to avoid unplanned pregnancies and early marriages. When schools are closed and many youths are at home, the group invites motivation speakers, who coach and mentor them as they focus them in organized social lives, education and careers.

With my sincere gratitude for your support in this effort to improve the opportunities for young girls,

Catherine Kaimenyi

Links:

Girls benefitting from mentoring project
Girls benefitting from mentoring project

October 2015-10-25

Dear Friends,

I am exited to see such impacts our mentoring program have had on Caroline, one of the first girls we mentored. Please see her recent report below. 

It all began slowly and now have improved my skills to extentent of getting myself a better job and a good position as per my career. 

Over the past year my role has encompassed the following:

  • The overall management of board processes.

 

  • Ensuring members’ and directors’ meetings are properly called and held.

 

  • Provision of agendas for general meetings and directors’ meetings.

 

  • Providing minutes of meetings.

 

  • Ensuring records of members’ and directors’ meetings are kept in compliance with the rules of the Company.

 

  • Ensuring that any directors’ interests or conflicts of interest are recorded as stated

 

I started with simple work of recording and admitting new students in college and am grateful that have now progressed to better part of life. Through the training I have received both at work and in college to become a competent secretary. I have learned and still have a lot to learn from my colleagues and over the past years they have given my great support and knowledge of the building of my career.

 

This is a good exercise to highlight the successes and review the obstacles

which I face in my career, but for real this gives me high hopes and keeps me going in this journey. I also sometimes play the part of the employer and ensure they satisfy their work experience report criteria. Am so proud of myself now because I also attend a meeting with the work experience and reflect back on my work

Above all, I have experience that a secretary needs to be well-organised, capable of turning their hand to a variety of tasks and unflappable, no matter how stressed your boss might be.

Also, it's not a job for someone that isn't interested in their company or even their co-workers names, as you’ll need to have a thorough knowledge of the business to do your job effectively.

A year ago I made up a vision for the future of my life and am so determined and not ready to give up at all. I was somehow new to the job. Now, a year later, I'm here to provide a progress report on my efforts.   

I thank my mentor Catherine Kaimenyi and the family for once again providing me with the advices and for the better part of it, she was my mentor and helped me to pursue my career. Catherine is a wise supporter, advisor and mentor. She means a lot to people like me. I could not govern without you. Thank you for everything that you did to me.

Life for sure is how you want it to be, and become more enjoyable once you pay attention to your advisors just as I did to my Coordinator Catherine, were it not for SAWA maybe I would not be this far, It’s where I build my skills first and felt that I should not look down upon myself whereby I usually underestimated myself not aware that I am very vital and capable person in my community.

Back in my village I managed to form a group of twelve young women whom I have assisted to take their lives positively and that of the society after them failing to proceed with education due to lack of fees, They have gained courage after seeing my point of view and joined different courses, Hairdressing, Tailoring and their those who have gone a step of starting their own business, which encourages me very much. I am the coordinator and I do balance between my job and that of the group. For example below is one of my group members who pursued a career in Hairdressing and managed to complete her course.

I take humble time with them and make sure we discuss other important topics about their own lives, early marriages and other related topics. I try to make them understand that nothing is impossible because I remember very well during the internship everything to me seemed difficult, even my language was not fluent and felt like giving up because having studied in a local day school it was not all that good, but I thank God my Coordinator was by my side all the time, the majority of interns I worked with were very good in English. Therefore I was very reserved in communication at the beginning, but within a short period of months, through interaction and encouragement by others I improved.  Today my English is so good well spoken and written that I am proud to play the role I have as a secretary in my company. I like socializing to learn new things since life is full of learning and for real that has become very easy, SAWA is where all my confidence, Courage and knowledge came from, through workshops we attended and the trainings we lead in. Have put all this into action back in my village and all is working out well. In future I think of venturing into farming business but I will first take time to come out with a clear idea and plan on how to carry it out. Thanks to SAWA a million times because it made me to be the person I am today.

 

My well built foundation and confidence, I can proudly say is from this mentorship program. –Caroline Pioneer Beneficiary Girls’ Mentorship Programme

 

Thank you for supporting our girls’ mentoring program.

Catherine Kaimenyi

Project Leader

Links:

mentored girls enjoying themselves
mentored girls enjoying themselves

August 8, 2015

 

Nairobi, Kenya 

Dear Friends,

Below is a report from one of the girls, Caroline, who we have mentored.  I thought you would like to hear from her in her own words.

"When I joined SAWA in July 2012,  I did not have any work experience; the three month mentorship period was to make a complete change in my life, a change that has made me who I am today, a model to be emulated by girls in my community. The experience gave me an opportunity to build my confidence which because I was assured that I was important regardless of my humble background.  Up to this day, I have carried the motto and walk shoulders high because I can do anything presented to me without fear.  

In the initial weeks at SAWA, I experienced language difficulties. I communicated well in Kiswahili but poorly in English, however the majority of persons I worked with talked in English. Therefore I was very reserved in communication at the beginning, but in the course of months, through interaction and encouragement by others I improved.  Today my English is so good that I am proud to play the role I have as a secretary in my local church.

Through the workshops that we attended I learned about conflict and management and through this knowledge I act as a peace ambassador in my home particularly between my parents and siblings. I am valued due to this which makes me proud of myself.

Currently I am doing a secretarial course while at the same time operating my saloon business.  The business skills that I got from SAWA helped me draw a business plan and start this business.  Although in its early stages, it is doing fairly well and I am able to do bookkeeping as well as communicate to my customers well and attract a good market.  In the secretarial  course class,  I am the best because I have computer skills learnt at SAWA.  My classmates mates look up to me for  advice and  coaching.  

I also started a group with six ex-high school girls where we go to primary schools giving talks to girls on sex,  early marriages and careers.  I am the brain behind the idea. Although we are busy in other things, we make sure that such talks are offered at least once in a month.  An in such talks,I am the coordinator. And I have the confidence to do  it.  Thank you SAWA for building my confidence."

With gratitude for your support in this effort to mentor young girls in Kenya.

 

Catherine

Mentees having a group discussion
Mentees having a group discussion

Nairobi Kenya,

 

Dear Friends,

Our mentorship program, launched in 2012, initially admitted four girls who went through a two months training at Solidarity for the Advancement of Womens’ Agenda (SAWA) offices.  The activities were both outdoor and indoor and meant to propel individual growth and interaction abilities with other members of the society.  Mentors occasionally joined the mentees to offer individual and group mentorship and covered various topical issues like relationships, health and hygiene, careers, businesses and spirituality.  Interestingly, the girls   also offered peer mentorship which was an unexpected outcome of the project. As they graduated from the program, they had built communication skills, computer skills, business skills as well as interpersonal skills.

SAWA has keenly followed these pioneers of the program to find out what they are doing in their lives and compiled the following individual report:

Kawira is currently in her final year at the university.  The concept of community service has become very meaningful to her and she mentors other orphaned girls at the university and beyond to show them that they can still face life successfully. She informs us that the program stimulated her to appreciate people and know that she does not only need to help her siblings and those related to her, as she puts it “ I now look at the world with different lens, that my happiness is not complete until all are happy, especially other girls.  My task henceforth will be to preach this hope and inspire others to do something good to someone else. “   She has confessed this since she left SAWA more than two years ago.

Another mentee, Margaret has actively been engaged in community life in all aspects.  She got married a year ago and is blessed with their first child.  Margaret can now confidently stand and talk in front of a group, something she could not when she joined SAWA.  In her own words “When I joined SAWA, my self-esteem was too low having been brought up to believe that as a Maasai girl, my place at family and community level is always second-class and that I do not measure to the standards of girls from other communities”.  Margaret does tailoring for a living and organizes a group of girls from Gichagi village where they engage in public health activities as well as business skills training – mainly making baskets and beadwork for sale.

For Caroline, courage and determination are prerequisites to success in life - virtues that brought a lot of meaning in her life.  She is currently working in her small business in her rural town as well as doing some hair dressing classes.  Caroline confesses that her perspective for life was changed through the SAWA experience and she can now do anything to earn a living as long as it is something ethical. She trains other girls in the community to engage in small businesses rather than be idle and engaging in immoral behavior which leads to unwanted pregnancies and at times exposes them to sexually transmitted infections.

Wairimu is currently in her third year at the university and says her experience with SAWA transformed her thinking and positively shaped her life. She associates her success in school to her experience with us where she learnt the principles of hard work, self-respect and focused life.

Other mentees of the program have been inspired by these four and aspire to get to where they are in their school and careers.

We are thankful to you for enabling us impact on the lives of needy girls in the community.

 

With gratitude,

 

Catherine Kaimenyi

Margaret speaking about relationships
Margaret speaking about relationships

Nairobi Kenya,

 

Dear Friends,

 

I would like to tell you about a one-day seminar we ran to train girls from Gichagi slum area of Ngong Division, Kajiado County. The seminar had three objectives:

  1. To create awareness of issues surrounding rape and how girls can protect themselves against this behaviour
  2. To discuss girl-boy relations issues with a view of empowering girls to say no to sex and control their lives in such relationships.
  3. To encourage girls to effectively compete with boys in academic cycles so that they can acquire necessary education to brighten their lives.
  4. To enhance knowledge and best practices on hygiene particularly during the menstrual cycles.

After a warm welcome and settling down as everything was in order, we participated in the following activities:

Everyone was requested to introduce herself to the group. This offered an opportunity to know the names, age and level of education as well the school. The girls were given the first priority, then trainers and SAWA staff concluded. The main purpose for this was to enhance familiarization and create good rapport.

Margaret spoke about girl-boy relationship, their strengths and weakness and how they should be used to foster education.  She also gave the girls tips on how to avoid early pregnancies which would affect their education. There were so many questions which all the other facilitators helped to answer.

I talked about rape which is increasing in Kenya today, particularly where old men are spoiling young girls, mostly their relatives.  She stressed on behavior and habit of such people which girls need to be aware of.  She also gave tips of how to avoid being victims and advised that should one become a victim they should not hide it but report to the parents, guardians and other grow-ups so that medical attention can be sought and necessary legal action taken.  There were so many questions and the topic was not exhausted.  It was postponed to April 2015.

The reusable sanitary towel project was revisited where nine of the girls present confirmed that they still make them for their own use though not every month.  Our group distributed some sanitary pads packets that.  It was a very exciting moment.

It was a wonderful session and the girl articulated ‘life is a learning process and each and every day we learn a new thing’.

 

Thank you for supporting us in our efforts to mentor young girls and encourage their education and empowerment.

 

Catherine Kaimenyi

Girls participating in session
Girls participating in session

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Organization Information

PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress

Location: Lilburn, GA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.pathwayslp.org
Project Leader:
Angie Gust
PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress
Lilburn, United States