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Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums

by SAFE SPACES ORGANIZATION AFRICA
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Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums
Educate & Empower 1200 Girls in the Nairobi Slums

Coming up this December: Graduation from Secondary School. But what’s next?

 

Safe Spaces Nairobi is very proud to announce that right now, 15 Safe Spaces girls are taking their KCSE examinations. The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education marks the completion of 4 years of High School and at the same time is the entrance requirement for Kenyan universities. 15 of our talented girls are lining up to prepare and pass the national exam, opening the way to college education. 

The high school candidates are tested in 7 subjects: 3 compulsory ones, English, Swahili, and Mathematics. Plus a choice of at least 2 subjects in Sciences, 1 in Humanities and 1a so called practical or technical subject like a foreign language (Arabic, French, German), music, art, computer skills.  

The KCSE examinations usually start on October 22 and end in late November. From December on, the exam is graded and the results are released at the end of the month. The passing mark is grade C+. This examination is very important because a good grade guarantees a place in one of the public or private universities in the country. So this exam has a major impact on a girl’s future career. 

Our 15 girls have worked hard to prepare the exams. Many among them have the potential to become university students. Unfortunately, Safe Spaces cannot guaranty their educational future, as the organization doesn’t have the necessary funds to finance these promising girls’ higher education. 

Here are the stories of 5 of our brightest girls who want nothing more than pursue their education. They dream of becoming a teacher, a business woman, a musician, a nurse, so that they can get a job and have a better future. They have ambition and what it takes to succeed. But no money to pay for the university fees. 

                                             

My name is Millicent, I am 18 years old, I was born and raised in the Kayole slums. I am the first born of six children. My father is a garbage collector and my mother a housewife. We have always lived from hand to mouth as my father’s income has never been sufficient to support the family. I joined Safe Spaces when I was in primary school and 12 years old. Safe Spaces helped me better my life and believe more in myself despite the everyday challenges I face in the slum. Safe Spaces helped me through high school and I have always been a good performer. I will be doing my KCSE this November. I hope that I will excel so that I can go to Kenyatta University to get a degree in teacher training as I have always dreamt of becoming a teacher. I hope that Safe Spaces will help me reach my goal.

 

My name is Laura, I am 17 years old, I was born and raised in the Mathare slums. I am the second born of two children. I lost my father in a road accident and I have been living with my mother who is a casual laborer. I joined Safe Spaces in 2011 while in primary school and I have been an active member of Safe Spaces till date. I got a high school scholarship from Safe Spaces and joined a secondary school where I will be doing my final exams in 2019. After high school, I have always dreamt of studying music at a technical university in Kenya and hope that Safe Spaces will make my dream come true. 

                                             

My name is Florence, I am 18 years old, I was born and raised in the Mathare slums. I am an only child. I was orphaned at the age of 6 after my parents were poisoned by unknown people; I have been living with my aunt who is a hawker. I joined Safe Spaces in 2010 and I have been an active member since then. When I finished primary school, my aunt was not able to cater for my high school education and Safe Spaces offered me a 4-year scholarship to High School. I am a very bright student who has the urge to be successful. I will be doing my final exams this year and I hope to pass and join the university of Nairobi to major in Education and Arts.

                                             

My name is Euphy, I am 18 years old and I was born and raised in the Kayole slums. I am the youngest of four children. I was raised by my father, a bus driver. My mother died while giving birth to me and I never knew her. Growing up with my father was never easy because he did not really care for us. When I was 7 years old, he remarried and my stepmother never loved us. When my father was not around, she would not give us food and she at times beat us and lock us out of the house. After years of hardship my older brother got a job in the slums and I moved in with him, though his income was never enough. At least I had peace being away from my step mom. In 2010 our father died in a road accident. In 2011, I heard about Safe Spaces from a friend and ever since Safe Spaces has always been my second home. After primary school, I never thought I would go to high school but Safe Spaces awarded me a four-year scholarship at a nearby secondary school. I will be doing my final KCSE exams this year and I am very hopeful that I will do well. I hope to go to university and study for a business management degree because business has always been my passion.  

                       

My name is Cecile, I am 18 years old, I was born and raised in Soweto, Kayole slums. I live with my parents, but they are both crippled, they sell sweets in the streets and don’t make enough money to support me and my 4 siblings. I joined Safe Spaces when I was 9 years old and got sponsored at primary school. Safe Spaces has had a major impact on my life ever since. After primary school, I got a Safe Spaces scholarship to join secondary school. My motto in life is that hard work pays. I have been putting more work and effort to my studies and I am very hopeful to pass my final exams which I will be doing this year. I wish to join the Kenya medical training college and study medicine and become a nurse.

 

How to make their dream come true?

Safe Spaces is looking for private sponsors who would agree to take on the commitment to support one individual girl. You can also form a group of sponsors with your friends of family members, to spread the costs. Imagine what that would mean for each girl, to have the chance to study in higher education and reach her goal. That would really be a ticket out of the slums!

At Safe Spaces, we already have private sponsors who support university girls for 4 to 5 years. Becoming a sponsor has its tax benefits. If you want to know more, please contact us at : info@safespaces-nairobi.org.

Our girls are super motivated, not afraid of the challenge. We are extremely proud of them because of what they already achieved with their previous scholarships to the various high schools, through hard work and basketball trainings. They just need someone to help make it happen!

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Reproductive Health Training And Peer Educators

Introducing Girls Choice, an interactive board game, to help Peer Educators lead real discussions on personal choices and Reproductive Health.

Reproductive health training is the cornerstone of the Safe Spaces Program. Female empowerment starts with knowing how girls and young women's bodies work. The program focuses on equipping girls with age-appropriate factual knowledge on reproductive health, addressing myths and stereotypes around menstruation, pregnancy, sexual health and personal safety.Research shows the importance of teaching girls to manage their menstruation, avoid pregnancy and stay in school. For each year that a girl stays in school, her first pregnancy is delayed by at least one year and her ability to earn her own income increases also. If a girl can earn her own income she is truly empowered!

Recently, we introduced our Peer Educators to the board game called Girls Choice. The introduction was a great success and the Peer Educators were so enthusiast that they quickly incorporated the game into their  reproductive health program. There are presently 10 Peer Educators, ages 16-18, who lead weekly reproductive health sessions for Safe Spaces girls afterschool.

Girls Choice, a cross between the games Trivial Pursuit and Truth or Dare. It is designed to help girls obtain knowledge in a new & effective & fun way. The use of this game helps encourage more participation by the students. When a Peer Educator asks her students  “tough” & / or “embarrassing” questions, the students usually do not feel comfortable to offer honest answers. When the game asks the questions, there is less taboo and more girls open up and speak the truth. 

Sometimes the game asks the participants to “Act Out Your Answer.” This is especially effective, as the acting out leads to a lot of laughter, tearing down barriers and bonding develops between the girls. It creates a safe environment where they can express themselves & trust others.

Findings:

-Peer Educators loved the FUN brought by the game to a subject which some students find difficult or embarrassing.

-The Game generates discussion: As one or more girls open up, it gives others the encouragement to do the same.

-“Are there other games on other subjects”? Peer Educators are investigating whether similar tools are available on subjects such as: Heath, Hygiene, Nutrition & Leadership Skills.

 Next Steps:

Girls Choice has been implemented in our after school programs. As we only have three board game sets, we are sharing the games on a rotating basis. We hope to obtain funding to purchase additional game sets to be used by each of our Peer Educators.

Girls Choice is a simple tool, which is very effective and produces positive results!

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By the water
By the water

Hellen is one of the many alumni of the Safe Spaces in Nairobi, a non-profit organization for underprivileged girls in the Eastland slums. Hellen has had a passion for photography ever since she was introduced to it. When Hellen first came to Safe Spaces, in 2013, she was living and working on a dumpsite. Her mother was ill, and she was vulnerable for violence and sexual abuse. She had no secondary education, and therefore had no bright expectations for her future.

When she got involved with Safe Spaces, she seemed so thankful and you could clearly see a light coming back into her eyes. Once Hellen joined, she quickly learnt basic important facts about the female body and also some software skills. We encouraged her to pursue her passion of photography, to express herself and the harsh realities of growing up and living in the Eastland slums. Her self-esteem started to grow and she became stronger while developing her skills for photography and filming. In the meantime, she developed herself as a creative and talented photographer. Safe Spaces supplied her with the necessary equipment and she started capturing the daily lives in the Eastland slums. Below are some of her pictures that she took during her time at Safe Spaces.  

Not long after, a private media company was looking for a creative photographer. An opportunity struck and Safe Spaces recommended Hellen, which led to them hiring her immediately. The job was a success and she loved it! Her newly increased income gave her the possibility to take care of her mother and pay the necessary medical bills. She moved out of the Eastland slums into a more high-end residential area. In 2016 she even got promoted to a supervisory position for this media company.     

Now Hellen is happily married and ready to start a family of her own. She still remembers her life in the slum and shows a lot of gratitude towards Safe Spaces. 

Hellen’s story is one of many, many girls who have come to Safe Spaces with very no education and a very grim outlook on life.

Safe Spaces was founded by Peninah Nthenya Musyimi, a strong empowered women who also grew up in the Eastland slums. Her goal is to engage, educate and empower these young women in the Nairobi slums. She has reached out to many girls, and plans to continue to do so until all futures are secured.  

Neighborhood clinic
Neighborhood clinic
In search of...
In search of...
Looking up
Looking up
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What becomes of the girls who went through the Safe Spaces program? Where are they coming from? What is the impact on their life? 

Here is the story of Elizabeth, now 26 years old, raised in the Nairobi slum of Kayole. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old. Together with her younger sister, she was put in her mother’s custody. Her mum used to work in a food processing company but in 2004 the company closed, so her mum lost her job. Life became hard. Elisabeth’s mother started doing casual jobs. Some days, she didn’t get any work so they didn’t eat at all. They had to borrow food from the neighbors. Sometimes, the landlord would lock them out of the house due to rent arrears and they would be forced to sleep out in the cold.

Though Elisabeth loved school, it was hard to concentrate while hungry. She was often sent home for lack of payment of school fees. During her second year of high school, things got worse and Elisabeth dropped out. Elisabeth went with her mother to do casual jobs. Most of the time, they were cleaning people’s houses and clothes. The pay wasn’t much but it helped to survive. 

Elisabeth used to feel very bad seeing girls her age go to school and wear nice clothes. She felt worthless, her self-esteem was very low. She avoided interacting with people. One day, while she was cleaning with her mum, she collapsed and woke up later at a hospital.The doctors explained to her that she was suffering from depression. One lady doctor told Elisabeth about Safe Spaces and how this organization could help her tackle some of the things she was stressing about.

A week after leaving the hospital, Elisabeth visited Safe Spaces. She met with Peninah, who told her about their programs and how Elisabeth could be involved. She started attending the after-school programs, where she was taught about self-esteem, hygiene, peer pressure, public speaking and reproductive health. Elisabeth met girls from different places and could share her challenges and dreams.

In 2009, Safe Spaces enrolled Elisabeth back in secondary school, in 2ndyear. Elisabeth felt so happy and hopeful. She loved school and was eager to learn.She passed her Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education in 2011 with a plain C grade. In 2012, she received a Safe Spaces scholarship to follow a six months computer course, which she completed successfully. Later that year, she got a job at a supermarket as a cashier. She worked for two years and after saving some money, she ventured into self-employment. She started a wholesale food store in 2015. Her business picked well and nowadays, it’s one of the biggest wholesale shops in Kayole. Elisabeth is planning to open another branch.

Currently, Elisabeth is single but she hopes to start a family in the future. Safe Spaces really turned her life around. Elisabeth’s message to all the Safe Spaces girls is “never give up!”.

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Team 2
Team 2

Background

Basketball, one of the cornerstones of Safe Spaces, began in the days when Peninah herself was struggling to find a way to pay for her education. Years before she became director of Safe Spaces, she found a coach, learned the game in one month, succeeded at basketball trials, and made it to university. Today, basketball scholarships continue to be available for both secondary school and university. Competition is fierce, but if successful, each girl can earn her own ticket to school.Safe Spaces has two teams: a junior and a senior one. The girls play competitively against other Nairobi teams. They get an opportunity to win basketball scholarships, which funds their education.

 

Basketball and Life Skills

In December 2017 and in December 2018, Safe Spaces was invited to send its best young players (13-14 years old) to the Kenyan National Basketball trials, in Mombasa, in order to compete for four-year scholarships to premiere boarding schools around the country. All participating girls were successful: 9 in 2017 and 13 in 2018. Through basketball, Safe Spaces can support more girls in pursuing their education.

To achieve more structural success, Safe Spaces has kicked off a three-year project to strengthen the Basketball and Life Skills program, called Building the Talent Pipeline.

This project addresses the 3 goals of Safe Spaces:

-Educate: girls are taught basketball skills in combination with relevant life and job skills, develop their team work and leadership competencies to improve their prospects of work and their self-sufficiency. 

-Engage: girls build relationships within the team, with external stakeholders (schools and sponsors) via tournaments and the Nairobi Basketball League. The tournaments create visibility for the girls, and attract possible scholarships with secondary schools and/or universities.

-Empower: by integrating Life Skills with Sports, the program stimulates a philosophy of “A Healthy Body makes a Healthy Mind”. Safe Spaces girls develop a strong sense of self: leadership, determination, competition, teamwork. Empowered, they learn to perform under pressure, make decisions, and lead their own lives.

On top of that, Safe Spaces has hired a local coach and team manager to manage equipment and logistics, train the teams (1st team, 2nd team, basic skills), and build the talent pipeline of scholarship candidates. For the near future, SS would like to invest in maintenance of the basketball court and equipment and overall basketball court renovation. 

Applying the Safe Spaces Peer Educator philosophy encourages the girls, as they learn, to help others and ultimately become trainers. Doing community outreach makes schools/employers seeking basketball players aware of the Safe Spaces talent pool.

 

Basketball performance

Safe Spaces’ 1st team won the 2017 NBA league championship and the prize for Season Top Scorer and the prize for Most Free Throws throughout the season. In addition to personal pride and team spirit, winning the championship generated national publicity and community pride.

The 2nd team was invited to send 9 players to the National Basketball trials in 2017 and 13 in 2018. All of them were awarded four-year scholarships. This achievement impacts the girls’ families in a positive way and shows the community that investing in a sport can improve your prospects for a better life. 

Safe Spaces basketball project has created life-changing opportunities for 20 girls to date. The National Basketball trials as a perfect opportunity for Safe Spaces to send more girls to better schools, with a positive financial impact on our program and a much greater benefit for the community.

We hope to continue the project in 2019. This is subject to funding.

 

How to help further

We are extremely proud of our girls who became champion of their league in December 2017. 

If you are interested in making it possible for the girls to keep winning on the basketball court and at school, please consider donating. We are looking for sponsors to help secure the renovation of the basketball court: it needs to be resurfaced. The girls always need new basketballs to practice and proper sport attire (shoes!) in the beautiful blue and white colors.

To donate: click hereor go to http://www.safespaces-nairobi.org

Girls practicing
Girls practicing
Basketball court
Basketball court
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Organization Information

SAFE SPACES ORGANIZATION AFRICA

Location: NAIROBI - Kenya
Website:
Project Leader:
PENINAH MUSYIMI
Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya
$35,077 raised of $45,000 goal
 
623 donations
$9,923 to go
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