Train 300 destitute Kenyan girls for self-reliance

by Vision Africa
Vetted
Caroline
Caroline

Seed of Hope programme has come a long way in the journey of transformation of girls who had once lost hope in life as they come from disadvantage background. These can be measured by the number of graduates who have progressed in life through employment or self-employment after successfully completing their course of studies. But for the changes to happen, it begins with students knowing their purpose, show commitment and work hard in their training for the period of time the course takes.  The courses offered at Seed of Hope do not only focus on vocational skills training but also business enterprise, personal growth and development. All this is geared towards giving them hope, dignity and opportunity to be self-reliance hence raise their living standards.

I have had the opportunity to interact with both the current students and the graduates of Seed of Hope and what I keep affirming them is that these skills are relevant in the job market and what is needed is for them to focus on learning something new each day so that they can bring their own ideas into life as they pursue their dream careers. One such girl is Caroline who joined Seed of Hope Nairobi a week ago.

Caroline and her sister were raised by their father since she was 9 years old after her mother passed on. Her father depended on farming to cater for her children’s needs but the income he got after every harvest was not sustainable to the family.  This led Caroline to drop out of secondary school while in form two as her father could not afford to pay her school fees. In the same year of 2015, she came to Nairobi to live with an aunt who needed a helper to care for her little baby when she goes back to work. Caroline became the nanny although this was not something she had dreamed of hence led her in to depression as she wanted to go back to school and complete her studies. When we spoke, I asked her what her dream was while growing up and this is what she said. “I love nursing. This is because as I was growing up, I saw how my mum struggled with a terminal illness that needed special care thus prompted me to study nursing after high school so that I could take care of sick people. But after I dropped out, I felt like my dreams have been shattered”

Two weeks ago, her aunt attended a meeting called by the area chief. The meeting was to mobilize people in the community to come out and register as voters. It was at that time that she learned about Seed of Hope from the one of the community mobilizers. She went home and asked Caroline if she would be interested to join a vocational training school. She said “I was Overwhelmed with joy since I had given up in life as I had nothing to show off as a school drop out!”  She accompanied her aunt to Seed of Hope Centre in Nairobi and got admission in Home Care Management course. This is because the course was in line with the kind of work she has been doing and she thought that if she was going to achieve her childhood dreams, she needed to focus on becoming great by equipping herself with skills that willl enable her to earn a living and become independent. Caroline knows that her family will not be able to take her back to school but during our conversation I gave her examples of girls that I have met who graduated from Seed of Hope but later went back to complete secondary education. Five have graduated from different universities with degrees while 10 went to colleges and they are currently pursuing their dream careers. I encouraged her to focus on her skills training now as it is the first of many opportunities she will have in life as she works towards her dream to become a nurse. I believe her dream is valid and she will to achieve it in the near future.

The number of new enrolment has significantly increased from 140 to 215 in the last few weeks. The window period of enrolment will be closed in March to allow few more girls to join in although the training had already begun. The orientation of new student began in mid-January across all the centres after a good number of girls reported and as a result, they settled quickly to begin their lessons. Some of these girls were selected by teachers to play various roles in the management of the institution as they portrayed good leadership qualities.

Purity is such a gir. She is confident, social and a quick learner hence elected as the class representative in the Dressmaking, Fashion and Fabric Design class. She completed high school but with poor grades since she was in and out of school due to lack of school fees. Her father who is a pastor in a local church does not have a source of income to cater for his six children hence depend on well-wishers to support his family. He came to Seed of Hope to request for her daughter’s admission since he had nothing else to offer her because Purity has other four siblings who are still in school and paying for their school fees is still a struggle. When I talked to Purity she had this to say. “I want to be a great designer after completing this course. I am so grateful to Seed of Hope for this opportunity to acquire skills free of charge which has motivated me to work hard so that I can go out there and start my business so as to support my family. I hope that one day when i become financially stable, I will resit for my high school exams so that i can go to university to study Fashion and Design so that i can also be one of the top designers in Kenya"

Thank you for your support because it is through your generous giving towards Seed of Hope that has made it possible for the girls like Caroline, Purity and many other girls to raise their confidence, self-esteem through the opportunity given to them so as to have a bright and promising future.  We believe that they have potential to transform their lives and also raise the living standards of their families. The also have potential to create positive impact wherever they go!

Caroline met new friends during cookery lesson.
Caroline met new friends during cookery lesson.
Purity
Purity
Dressmaking, Fashion & Fabric Students
Dressmaking, Fashion & Fabric Students
Beautiful girls from Kitui Posing for the camera
Beautiful girls from Kitui Posing for the camera

Seed of Hope like many of our graduates like to say ‘is the place to be’. This is because many of our girls came in hopeless and unsure of what the future holds for them but by the time they graduate, their lives have been transformed and they are better prepared to face the world with confidence through the skills acquired in their course of training. Every year, the month of November is a hive of activity as with preparation for graduations and first year students preparing to sit their end of year external exams. The graduates at Seed of Hope Kitui had a fitting day for their graduation outfits and it was interesting to see the confidence in these girls as they posed for the camera with beautiful gowns. I believe their self-confidence will go a long way to ensure that they are able to market their products once they start up their business. We wish them all the best as they prepare to graduate this week.

After graduation, all graduates are expected to go for 3 months attachment to put their skills in to practise as well as learn from other professionals before they seek employment or establish their own businesses. This has been the norm in all Seed of Hope Centres but not for Ruth, a graduating student at Seed of Hope Nyamache.

Ruth joined Seed of Hope in 2015 after her dreams of joining high school were shattered as her parents could not raise enough money to enable her get admission to a local school that she had wished to join. It was at this point of hopelessness that her mother was informed about Seed of Hope by a neighbour whose daughter had graduated the year before. Ruth’s mother was encouraged to send her daughter to Seed of Hope centre to acquire relevant skills so that she too could become self- reliant in future. The first year came with its challenges for Ruth since she comes from a village which is 8 km away from the Seed of Hope Centre. It was difficult for her to walk this journey every day and she opted to skip some classes twice a week. Her class teacher was concerned and she decided to make a follow up. She visited the family to find out about Ruth’s absenteeism. After hearing about her situation, the teacher decided to offer her accommodation so that she could attend her classes regularly. This made life much easier for Ruth who now concentrated with her studies and became the top student in her class. In her second year, she worked even harder in her class work and impressed her guardian who connected her to a business lady from the locality who became her mentor and later her employer.

In the month of August when Seed of Hope students went for a recess, Dorcas the business lady decided to employ Ruth in her dressmaking shop since she was impressed by the kind of work that she was doing despite the fact she had not graduated.  She now trusts Ruth so much that she leaves her in charge of the business as she goes to town to buy stock or deliver products to her clients. During my recent visit to Seed of Home Nyamache, I visited Ruth in her place of work and found her together with her boss busy making wedding gowns. I asked Dorcas why she decided to employ Ruth before she graduates from her course and this is what she said “I was impressed by her work since I took her in and she has proved to be hardworking, committed and trustworthy person. My clients are happy with her work and that is why I had no problem employing her”. I was inspired by Ruth’s determination to live a better life since she is now earning a living and able to support her family back in to the village. She promised to save part of her salary in the next one year so that she can eventually start her own business and give other girls an opportunity to learn from her.

With the graduation at Nyamache now complete, we are looking forward to more celebrations at the other three centres and hearing more inspirational stories like Ruth’s.

 Thank you for supporting the Seed of Hope Centres! By contributing to this Programme, girls like Ruth are able to acquire skills so that they can be independent and able to raise the living standards of their families. I hope you find this partnership valuable and worthwhile. I would request you to please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. You know your friends and family best so use your own words - tell them why you chose our project and what it means to you.

Please note that on Giving Tuesday (29th November) The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match up to $1 million in donations on GlobalGiving with 50%. Matching begins at 00:00:01 EST and ends at 23:59:59 EST on November 29th, 2016 or when matching funds run out.

The gifts brought smile to Hair & Beauty Students
The gifts brought smile to Hair & Beauty Students
Ruth
Ruth
They had to show off their graduation gowns
They had to show off their graduation gowns
Business partners Anne, Monicah,Shakira and Hannah
Business partners Anne, Monicah,Shakira and Hannah

Fridah was among the first graduates in Home Care Management at Nairobi Seed of Hope. When she recently came to visit our offices, we couldn’t believe the transformation. Instead of the student we were used to seeing, in walked a confident young lady proudly telling us about the work she is now doing at a large restaurant. She is independent and able to provide for herself and family who are in the village. This is exactly what we want for every graduate of Seed of Hope.

Sitting beside Fridah at a recent meeting of Seed of Hope alumni were three young ladies Monica, Anne and Hanna who graduated from the same course just last year. Although one of the girls named Shakira was not among them during the alumni meeting, each of the girls shared that they are working, building up their experience before they start a business together. Through one of our supporters, they have been bought an oven as part of our Roots programme to help them set up their own business. Their training in enterprise skills has helped them to prepare their business plan and they are ready to put all their training in to practice!

Irene is a second year student in the Fabric and Fashion Design Course. She touched the hearts of a group of American visitors recently when she told them that before starting at Seed of Hope “I felt useless because people discriminated against me because of my low level of education.” Irene went on to explain how the life skills she has learned at Seed of Hope have really boosted her self-esteem and made her value herself. This is so important because as a young mother of two, Irene is a role model to her children and can use the life skills she has learned to ensure they grow up as confident individuals. That’s the great thing about Seed of Hope – it doesn’t just impact the students who are enrolled at the centres. There are ripple effects that ensure many more lives are touched.

Irene is one of a group of students using the August holiday period to work on her final project for Seed of Hope – designing and producing one outfit for a model and one outfit for herself. These will be on show at the graduation at the end of the final term. Irene then hopes to go on an industrial attachment for three months before setting up her own business. And what is great is that with the vocational, enterprise and life skills training that she has received at Seed of Hope, Irene believes that this will happen. She has confidence that she can make it happen!

Irene, Fridah and the group of Homecare students would not have been able to study and transform their lives without the help we receive through Global Giving. Every donation received contributes to the success of Seed of Hope and ensures the programme continues to run and to give girls Dignity, Opportunity and Hope.

Thank you for being part of the team making a difference to the lives of young girls in Kenya.

Irene designing her Graduation Gown
Irene designing her Graduation Gown
Fridah
Fridah

Giving can be done in many ways.

Although we are extremely grateful for all the financial donations we receive, there are other ways in which people can support our work. Recently, a film-maker in Nairobi offered to make a professional promo video for our organisation, Vision Africa, at no cost. This is an extremely valuable resource and we are so excited that he has now offered to make another video focussing on our Seed of Hope programme.

In the meantime, we couldn't wait until next quarter to share this footage he shot which shows how Seed of Hope has transformed Naomi's life.

Please take two minutes to check out her story https://youtu.be/9oa53z-qudI

By supporting Seed of Hope through GlobalGiving you have given hundreds more girls like Naomi a chance to transform their lives and break the cycle of poverty for their family.

On behalf of each and every one of those girls...THANK YOU!

We are making good progress in fundraising for this year's budget to continue training the girls who are currently enrolled however we still have some way to go to reach our target. If you are touched by the impact that Seed of Hope has made on Naomi's life, please consider making a donation via GlobalGiving on Wednesday June 15th when all donations to this project will be matched with 50% while bonus funds last.

Beautiful Girls From Kitui
Beautiful Girls From Kitui

Seed of Hope Centre will soon be counted as one of the best vocational institutions in Kenya. This can be attributed by the quality of courses being offered, resources available and the increased number of girls being enrolled each year to undertake different training courses across the four centres. In 2016 the number of girls who enrolled in various courses has increased from 191 in 2015 to 236. Previously there have been challenges within our communities in giving girls equal opportunities in education but the Seed of Hope community outreach has resulted in parents now determined to release their girls to our centres to acquire skills as they are now aware about the programs and the positive impact it has brought in their community.

Seed of Hope has continued to empower the young girls through its program by giving them hope, dignity and the opportunity to have a better life in future. There are positive impacts that have been seen throughout the years from the time that Seed of Hope centres were established and the courses being offered have benefited many who came in with only the primary school certificate but after going through the training, they not only graduate with a certificateheir course of study but they learn other skills such as business enterprise, life skills. The establishment of empowerment clubs has enabled the girls to develop their confidence and equips them with knowledge that will ensure they have equal opportunity in all aspects of life. Through mentorship, the girls are taught to stand for what is right and to believe in themselves so that they can face any challenges that come their way as they complete their courses and either start their business or join the job market.

Vision Africa has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals and has not only integrated these goals to fit in its vision 'to give a child a future' but ensured that Seed of Hope centres work towards achieving these goals so that the girls who join their program are empowered to participate at all level of decision making in political, economic and social life. There are several ways through which the girls are being empowered. One is through the Amuka Program which is two week program that is  designed to help the newly enrolled students develop self-awareness, build their self-confidence and helps them to explore their purpose whilst developing core values.  There is also the Empowerment club sessions where by the girls learnifferent topic each month from different facilitators but also meet some of the successful young entrepreneurs who become their mentors. In the month of February, a group of actors from a local comedy aired in one of Kenya's TV stations visited the Nairobi Seed of Hope. They spoke to the girls about nurturing of talents and how they can combine both the skills they have acquired from Seed of Hope and the special talents they have to earn a living and become independent. The girls were also encouraged to invest in profitable business by making sure that their business plans attract any investors but also enables them to benefit from the National Youth Fund that is being offered to young entrepreneurs.

 Last but not the least, the girls had the opportunity to engage in beneficiary participation training whereby they learned about their role as beneficiaries in making decisions, contributions, giving ideas of how to improve the project. Many of them shared their sentiments after the training. Eunice a first year Student in Hair Dressing and beauty in Seed of Hope Kitui had this to say after the training “I have always wanted to share some ideas of how to make our course more interesting but I never had the courage to tell the teacher because I was not sure she will agree but today I have learned that it is importance for me to contribute in this project because the decisions that are made to improve the project that affect both me and my fellow students.”

Everline a Second year student from Nairobi had this to say “This training would not have come at a better time than this. I have always thought that it is only the teachers who are supposed make decisions regarding the courses being offered, feeding program and other activities that take place here at Seed of Hope. I am glad to know that my voice too can be heard if I share my concern with the Administration at Seed of Hope”

Apart from the beneficiary participation training, the girls formed a beneficiary council called Vision Africa Young Leaders Council. This council acts as representative body through which the girls in all the four centres become involved in the affairs of the project, working in partnership with management board and staff for the benefit of all parties involved within Seed of Hope. The Council also helps to share beneficiaries’ ideas, interests, and concerns with the administration as well as Vision Africa team. We are looking forward to more engagement with the girls as their opinion counts regarding the improvement and development of Seed of Hope.

The girls took their participation a notch higher as they played an important role during the fundraising campaign called ‘Haba na Haba’ in support of quality education and training for all children and youth who are supported through Vision Africa. The campaign is ongoing and each Seed of Hope Centre is carrying out its fundraising events to achieve their set targets. 

We believe that these girls have the potential to become independent and have a brighter future. They also have potential to raise the living standards of their families and create positive impact wherever they go. We believe that through their participation in project activities, Seed of Hope will continue to grow from strength to strength and reach out to many young girls who have equal opportunity to improve their lives through quality education and training. We thank everyone who has continued to support the work at Seed of Hope because it is through your generous giving that this program had significant impacthe lives of many girls who were once hopeless.  

Neddy a first year student from Seed of Hope Kisii had this to say to: “I thank everyone who has been supporting this program because Seed of Hope has helped me to realize the real potential in me and I can make a difference from the life I lived yesterday. I now realize that the skills I have acquired is a gift in my hand which will bring the Impact of Seed of Hope in my community”

Teacher Jane giving instructions to Wahu
Teacher Jane giving instructions to Wahu
Learning Through Practical Experience
Learning Through Practical Experience
Nancy a first year student at work
Nancy a first year student at work
 

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Organization Information

Vision Africa

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​www.vision-africa.org/​
Project Leader:
Kirsty Gichimu
Project Leader
Nairobi, Kenya

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