Train 300 destitute Kenyan girls for self-reliance

by Vision Africa
Nairobi Graduates with Teacher
Nairobi Graduates with Teacher

Seed of Hope has gone from strength to strength in 2015.

This year saw 137 girls graduate in 3 vocational skills across the 4 Seed of Hope centres.

  • 21 students graduated in Home Care Management (catering, hospitality, childcare, managing a home, laundry etc)
  • 46 students graduated in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
  • 57 students graduated in Dressmaking and Fashion Design

The Home Care Management and Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy courses are one year and the Dressmaking takes two years to complete. All of these are complemented with lessons in lifeskills and enterprise skills so that graduates are equipped to pursue employment or self-employment.

In 2015, the introduction of an "Amuka" (rise up) programme and Empowerment Clubs worked on developing the confidence of students and equipping them with knowledge in areas such as rights and justice, healthy relationships and financial planning. All of this helps build well-rounded individuals who are capable of living independently and finding their way in the world. At the graduation ceremony in Nairobi, both graduating student Florence and first year Beverlyne spoke passionately about how these two programmes had helped them get even more out of their time at Seed of Hope because they had confidence and self-belief that they deserved to improve their lives.

In Kitui Seed of Hope, it was a former graduate who had everyone hanging on her words. During the graduation ceremony, a call was given for any former pupils of the school to stand up and give a word of encouragement. A couple of young ladies in the crowd stood up and wished the graduating students good luck. Then…much to our surprise, the lady sitting beside the pastor at the top table stood up. She introduced herself as Emily, a former student of the school. She then gave a motivational speech which was referred to by those who spoke after her. She encouraged the young girls not to rush into marriage when they graduated and to tell anyone interested in them that they should just wait. She advised that hard work is needed in order to succeed but that success is possible. Her husband then proudly stood beside her and said “She is my wife. Every morning when we take bread we give thanks for Seed of Hope because what we are eating is because of what was imparted in her here.” This was a great example of how graduates of Seed of Hope can go on to provide for their families.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope in 2015 and helped ensure that lives have been changed.

We wish you all a prosperous New Year.

Kitui Hair and Beauty Demo
Kitui Hair and Beauty Demo
Beverlyne
Beverlyne

Seed of Hope had an eventful term where by students were involved in various activities with the aim of making their learning interesting. We all know that being confined in classroom throughout the term is not an easy task, therefore the Seed of Hope administration came up with activities to allow their students nurture their skills creatively through learning from other professionals. For Nairobi Seed of Hope’s Fashion Design students, there was an opportunity to leave the classroom and be immersed in the world of Fashion Design for a day.

The tour was an eye opener for students as they got to learn from people who have succeeded in the competitive world of fashion industry. Their first stop was at a shopping mall where they visited several shops to look at how clothes are displayed, variety of designs from wedding gowns to high street fashion, different types of crafted materials and products.

Their next stop was at two work stations that is Kiko Romeo and Kache collection who are among the Kenya's top designers and are running successful business . The Managing directors of these businesses took time to share their journey in fashion industry and the students could not hide their joy when they interacted with employees and heard of their experiences.

Teresiah a first year said “I met a former student who had graduated from Seed of Hope and now working at Kache collections. She made me realize that I am in the right place and doing the right course. The madam told us that we need to believe in ourselves and everything that we do in this life in order to become successful and that everything is possible if we do our best.”

They made a final stop at Joy Vision fashions a business established by Rosebella who is a Seed of Hope graduate. Rosebella has be instrumental in mentoring the first year students at Seed of Hope as well as allowing graduate students to join her business during attachment. There was great excitement among the students when they came back and shared their tour adventure with the rest of the girls.

Lilian is a second year student and had this to say “I learned a lot about business marketing, key resources and customer relationship as some of the important elements of a successful business . I was inspired by Rosebella when she told us that in order to succeed in business, one needs to have interest in their work, satisfy your clients and be strong when faced with challenges”.


Apart from the fashion day tour, other highlights that made the term successful were:

  • The"Amuka" programme was run for second year students at the Nairobi centre after the success of the pilot programme for first year students .
  • A team of teachers from a School in Scotland ran a "Step Up Skills Camp" for forty students from all Seed of Hope centres. Workshops were held on practical skills such as embroidery, felting and printing as well as personal development sessions to build self-esteem and develop marketing skills
  • The same teachers also held a workshop for all Seed of Hope staff to train them on various styles of teaching.
  • Second year students in Fashion Design have sat their Grade 2 NITA (National Industrial Training Authority) exams.
  • 15 new laptops have been delivered to Seed of Hope Centre in Kitui for new courses in Computer Packages and Business Administration.
  • A new workshop has been completed at the centre in Kisii which will house the course in welding and metalwork.
  • Students preparing to graduate have begun working on their business plans. Some have even had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to potential investors.

We spoke to few girls on the impact of being at Seed of Home and they shared their journey.

Beverlyne shares her journey so far...


"My name is Beverlyne. I am a first year student taking fashion fabric design. Before I came to Seed of Hope I used to work as a house girl. My life was a frustrating one because of mistreatment I received from some of my employers. I never knew what happiness was.
I thank God for the opportunity to join Seed of Hope. It has given me reason to live again. The opportunity I had lost in life I have received it at Seed of Hope. Seed of Hope has impacted in me skills and knowledge that will help me reach my dreams.

Through Seed of Hope, I was able to attend the Step Up Skills Camp that gave me a lot of experience in the area of business, marketing and also the area of craft and new techniques that will improve my working skills.
My level of confidence, courage and self-esteem have grown to a high level because of the generosity of teachers who sacrifice their time to mentor and impact knowledge in us.
May God bless Vision Africa and Seed of Hope and all the sponsors, for they have transformed my life through the skills and knowledge I have acquired.”

Caroline also shared her journey as she prepares to graduate.
“I am Caroline a second year student at Seed of Hope. I never knew about Seed of Hope until the day my uncle came to the village. He told my parents and some of our neighbors about Seed of Hope and they all agreed that since we were idle after completing primary education, we should enroll in this program to acquire knowledge and skills. My uncle brought me and 5 other girls from the village to join Seed of Hope in Nairobi. He rented a house for us and our parent would have to send monthly support to enable us meet our basic needs.

Since I joined Seed of Hope, I have gained skills in my course of study, my self esteem have increased and I have become courageous. In my first year, I sat for grade 3 exams and passed well and this year, I did grade 2 exams which l hope to get good results. I can't wait to graduate in December and go for attachment since I want to also sit for grade 1 exams in order to pursue my dream career as a fashion design teacher.

My future plan is to establish a successful business before I advance in fashion design course at the university in order to be the best teacher and designer. I look forward to the time when I will be able to give back to the community by imparting the same skills that I received from Seed of Hope to other girls who are disadvantage and had lost hope to have a better life. I know I will become a better person, independent and successful.
I thank Seed of Hope for the many opportunities they have given me. May God continue to bless the good work in transforming lives of young girls like me”

Seed of Hope would not exist without the support received through your generous giving . On behalf of Teresiah, Lilian, Beverlyne, Caroline and the 303 other students we thank you for planting a seed and giving them the opportunity to improve their lives and that of their families.
Thank you all for your ongoing support of our

Caroline and Lilian in Machine Room
Caroline and Lilian in Machine Room
Rosebella and students during the tour.
Rosebella and students during the tour.
Pretty Elizabeth
Pretty Elizabeth

 

Seed of hope has continued to train and equip disadvantaged girls with skills in various vocational courses, mentorship and counselling program that has transformed the lives of many young women who had lost hope in life and became vulnerable to exploitation. Each term after three months of training, mentoring and other activities, Seed of Hope centres allow their girls to take a break from learning so that they can relax and spent time with their family members. From our last update, there are many positive changes that have occurred in the lives of the girls thus when the holiday break was over, all the girls came back to continue with the learning in the second term. The girls have high expectations with regards to courses of their choice since those in second year are preparing to sit for an external grade 2 test in August while the first years are registering for their grade 3 test that they will sit in November. The external exams are set by the examination body called National Industrial Technical Authority (NITA) for vocational and technical institutions, therefore give the Seed of Hope girls a better chance to secure employment in the textile industries in Kenya as well as fashion and design companies. I had the previlege to speak to two girls who are currently in the program and also a former graduate who has come back for advance lessons in our Dhamira incubation hub and this is what they shared:

Elizabeth enrolled at Seed of Hope in January 2015. She is among the young mothers who pleaded with the management for a chance to join the institution and be trained so that she can be able to support her young family. She did not get the chance to join secondary school like her friends due to lack of fees since her mother is the sole breadwinner and depends on farming to raise the family. Elizabeth became desperate as the situation at home was difficult thus she left her rural home to find employment in the city. It is at the age of sixteen that she met a man while working in a hotel and she fell pregnant. She had no choice but get married at that tender age since she was ashamed of going back home as her family was struggling to make ends meet. She also resigned from her place of work and became a stay at home mum raising two children while depending entirely on her husband to cater for family needs. She came to learn about Seed of Hope during one of the community outreach programs conducted by Seed of Hope staff and decided to enrol for the fashion and fabric design course. There are many young mothers like Elizabeth who are facing difficult circumstances and have lost hope in life. They are living in abject poverty as they are unable to cater for their basic needs due to lack of skills that would enable them to secure employment. Elizabeth is grateful for the opportunity she got from Seed of Hope and this is what she had to say “ I joined Seed of Hope because I have been idle for a long time and I wanted to change my life and become self- independent. I believe that through the skills in the course am taking, I will be able to start my own business, move in to a better home, give my children a good life and go back to school to further my education. I have regained my self-esteem, confidence and hope for a brighter future “
Elizabeth is not alone in this journey to a brighter future. Meet Lilian a second year student at Seed of Hope also training in fashion and fabric design. She was raised by her grandparents in the rural area after her mother remarried. She was able to go to high school but dropped out due to lack of fees. She thought her life had come to an end since in her village most of her agemates who had dropped out of school were married with kids and she was afraid that she will follow the same path. Her breakthrough came when one of her aunties paid them a visit and she brought her in Nairobi with a promise to find a casual employment for her. It is at this period that her auntie heard about Seed of Hope and she got an opportunity to enrol. Lilian is now preparing to sit for her grade 2 test before completing her two years of training at Seed of Hope. She says that since she joined Seed of Hope, she has gained knowledge and skills in her course of study as well as other skills, like business development, life skills, and craft work. When asked about her future plans she says that she is looking forward to graduate then advance her fashion and fabric design course so that she can be a tutor. She also have plans to start her own business so that she can support her grandparents and younger siblings.

Grace is a former student of Seed of Hope. She graduated in 2014 after completing her training in dressmaking, fashion and fabric designs. In the two years she was at Seed of Hope, Grace says that she has gained the knowledge and skill in her course of study, she is more confident, social and courageous to face any challenge that comes her way. After graduation, she went for a three month attachment to get first-hand experience in a well-established business. She was very lucky to get the attachment placement working under the supervision of one of the Seed of Hope pioneers in her dressmaking business. It is encouraging to note that most of the girls who went through Seed of Hope program are now taking in the girls who recently graduate for attachment since they have establish their business and are earning good income through the training they got from Seed of Hope. Grace completed her attachment and she was selected among other girls to join the Seed of Hope Dhamira hub as a resident whereby she continues to learn new and complex designs, being creative while making different items using fabrics and also how to operate an industrial machines. Grace and other girls in the hub are also mentored to be confident, ambitious and patient as they prepare to go out and start their business. She is confident that once she get the support from Seed of Hope to establish her business, she will ensure that her business prospers so that she can be independent, support her family, go back to school so that she can advance her career and mentor other girls who had lost hope in life. As we wind up this is what she had to say, “Seed of Hope has given me a reason to live for a future I had no idea it existed. I had lost hope in life since there was nobody who could understand the challenges I was facing. Thanks to Seed of Hope for this golden opportunity as now I can stand tall because I have hope and a bright future ahead”

The girls are confident on their journey towards success and we recognize that all this would not have happened if it was not for the support you have given us to make their dreams come to reality.
Thank you for your ongoing support towards our work!

Lilian
Lilian
Grace using industrial machine
Grace using industrial machine
New Students
New Students

Each new year at Seed of Hope begins with a flurry of activity as our teaching team work hard to enrol new students.  Since January we have enrolled 191 girls who have joined our vocational training to acquire knowledge and skills in different courses of their choice. There are several new courses that were introduced so that we could attract many young girls to join Seed of Hope – such as Business Administration, Basic Computing, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Agribusiness and metal work.

The enrolment process is facilitated by our work in the community through our outreach ‘Empowerment Clubs’.  These clubs are run by Seed of Hope staff in the communities surrounding our centres.  They help us to identify and build relationships with disadvantaged girls in the community in order to prepare them for enrolment at Seed of Hope. 

Some of these Empowerment Clubs target young mothers who have been forced to drop out of education because of their pregnancies.  These young mothers have pleaded with the management of Seed of Hope that they might be given a chance to make something out of their difficult situation. Many of the young mothers are forced into early marriages according to traditional beliefs while others were rejected and sent away by their families.

In addition to new courses at Seed of Hope Centres, a pilot program that goes by the name Amuka was introduced at our Nairobi centre. Amuka means ‘Wake Up’ or ‘Rise Up’ in Swahili. This is a two week program designed to help the students develop self-awareness, build their self-confidence and helps them to explore their purpose whilst developing core values.  This was extremely successful and, as a result, will be rolled out to all the centres in the coming year. 

  • 79% of students say that the training opportunities currently offered by Seed of Hope are exactly what they need
  • 66% say they feel empowered by the opportunities granted at Seed of Hope
  • 90% say they feel ready to reach for their goals

The students have already taken on leadership roles within Seed of Hope as a result.  Hearing from previous graduates had a significant impact as it has helped them to see the possibilities and increased their confidence in themselves and the opportunities ahead of them.

There’s so much happening at Seed of Hope!  It’s an exciting place to be!  There’s not much space to mention them here but a couple of other highlights have been:

  • Enrolment of the first girls in our Motor Vehicle Mechanic Vocational Training program
  • Visiting Catering lecture Lynette Mair who did a series of practical workshops with our Homecare students
  • Welcoming new teachers to the team to help teach the new courses.

 The work of Seed of Hope exists because We Believe in Girls!  We believe in their potential to change the world, their potential to shape brighter futures for themselves and their potential to create positive impact wherever they go!  If you believe in these young girls, we’d love for you to get involved in the work of Seed of Hope!  Global Giving have two special bonus days coming up.  The first is for our friends and partners in the UK – it launches on Monday 2nd March at 2pm GMT and you have the chance to have your donations matched with an extra 50%.  Global Giving will add 50% to all donations up to £500!  This campaign will run for one week but get in early before matching funds run out.  Donations must be made through Global Giving UK, not the US site! 

But don’t worry – if you’re in the US, you’ll have your chance!  The bonus day for our friends and partners in the US is March 18th!  We’ll send you more details nearer the time.

Please consider making a donation as part of these bonus days!  Your giving really does go a long way.  Every little helps!

Thank you all for your ongoing support of our work!

Empowerment Club
Empowerment Club
Kitui Graduates
Kitui Graduates

It’s the end of another great year at Seed of Hope.

Over the last few weeks we have seen students graduate from the four Seed of Hope centres. As always, these have been colourful events with Fashion Design students showing off their final project work by wearing an outfit they designed and made for themselves. There were also great performances of songs, poems and dramas by both the first and second year students.

At each ceremony, one of the graduating students spoke about how their life was transformed by Seed of Hope. The Nairobi centre was celebrating its 11th graduation ceremony and Sarah told the guests:

"Before I joined Seed of Hope I didn’t know my life had a meaning because after I had finished my primary school exams I couldn’t go to high school because of lack of school fees. I was forced to stay at home to help my parents with house chores.

Through studying at Seed of Hope I have become a better person because I have learnt so many things that I couldn’t even believe I could. I have gained knowledge and skills that have made me who I am. I have learnt business skills, life skills and vocational skills. These subjects made me improve everything like self-esteem and self-confidence…

After graduating from Seed of Hope I will go for my attachment and after that I am hoping to start my own business and to further my studies.”

Former students from the Seed of Hope programme also attended the graduation ceremonies and had words of encouragement for the graduating students. At the Nairobi centre Rosebella, one of the first ever Seed of Hope graduates, also had advice to share with the parents and guardians of graduating students. She encouraged them to support their children and work with them rather than just sit back and place too much expectation on them to provide for the family. From the success stories we have heard over the last few years we know that Seed of Hope graduates have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of their families if they are given the support they require in the early days.

Our thanks go to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope through GlobalGiving. The funds we receive from this platform ensure that Seed of Hope can continue to offer training opportunities to girls who have nowhere else to turn.

With your support, we look forward to making 2015 another successful year!

In the meantime, on behalf of the staff, students and graduates of Seed of Hope we wish you all the very best this Festive Season.

Former Student Rosebella Speaks
Former Student Rosebella Speaks
Nairobi Graduates
Nairobi Graduates
Sarah Gives Her Testimony
Sarah Gives Her Testimony

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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