Train 300 destitute Kenyan girls for self-reliance

by Vision Africa

Term 2 has been another good one for Seed of Hope.

Our second year students are very busy at the moment. Some of them have registered to sit their Grade 2 Directorate of Industrial Training exams and will be tested in August. All of the second years are now preparing for their final projects at Seed of Hope. This involves designing and creating outfits for the graduation ceremony. Students in Nairobi have been fortunate this year to have a volunteer from the UK working with them as they go through this process. Esther has helped them use iPads donated by fashion brand ASOS to research different designs. She has also helped them with their sketching and as a model herself, she has given them training in how to walk on the runway and model their outfits.

At our centre in Kitui, the students have been working on a project called Kangwatex. This is a small business to help raise funds for the centre and involves the production of crocheted items including ponchos, blankets and table mats. The students help to produce the items which are then sold in the local community. This gives them practical experience in craft work as well as an example of how to run a business, in preparation for them starting up their own businesses after graduation.

In Nairobi we are looking forward to the relaunch of the Crafted fashion label. Thanks to our partnership with ASOS, a new Business Development Manager has been recruited and will start work next month. By growing the Crafted business, we will have an outlet for products created by our graduates. 

Seed of Hope Centres will close for a holiday in the month of August then it's back to work and preparing for the exciting graduation ceremonies which will take place in October and November.

Thanks to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope through GlobalGiving. We really appreciate all that you have done to give our girls a brighter future.

Sketching Designs
Sketching Designs
Craft Class in Nairobi
Craft Class in Nairobi
Home Care Management Students
Home Care Management Students

With over 1,000 graduates from the Seed of Hope programme, we decided it was time to do another impact assessment to see how the girls are doing and whether or not their lives have been changed.

Over 200 girls were interviewed from all four of our centres in Kisii, Kitui, Muranga and Nairobi including recent graduates and those who have graduated over the last ten years. The results were very encouraging. We are still waiting for the full report but some highlights include:

68% were idle at home before joining Seed of Hope

79.3% are now employed or self-employed (69% of these are in line with the coursework at Seed of Hope)

93% struggled with access to education

78.9% say greatest achievement is starting a business, getting a job or going back to school

96.5% say they have been empowered

69% are supporting their family (on average those supporting family support 3 family members)

These figures are very encouraging and we will now take time to see how we can use this research to improve the Seed of Hope programme.

One of the things that a number of the earlier graduates recommended was diversifying the vocational training courses on offer. We have already done this at some centres with the introduction of Hair and Beauty Therapy courses and Basic Computer Training. At our Nairobi centre, we have recently added Home Care Management to the syllabus. This is a shorter course at just six months but will give students the knowledge and skills required to obtain employment as home helps or in the catering and hospitality industry. Part of the course will be to empower students to know their rights as employees as well as what will be expected of them in the world of work.

The first group of students are enjoying the course and working very hard. Their studies include lessons on child care, practical cookery, first aid, nutrition and how to clean and manage a home. They have taken on the Seed of Hope building as their home and the staff and students are enjoying an improved environment as well as some delicious food.

We look forward to introducing new courses at some of our other centres to widen the choices available to youths who are unable to access secondary education.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope through Global Giving. Your donations are very much appreciated by all involved in the programme.

Class of 2012
Class of 2012

Season's Greetings from the staff and students at Seed of Hope.

The last few months have seen us reach a milestone in Seed of Hope history. Over one thousand girls have now graduated from the Seed of Hope progamme. That's over one thousand girls who have been given dignity, hope and opportunity through their two years of studies at one of our four centres. There were colourful ceremonies at each centre to celebrate this year's graduations. Students from both first and second year performed songs, dances and poems as well as sharing testimonies of how Seed of Hope has changed their lives. Check out the link below to read some testimonies from our Nairobi centre.

A number of our graduates have already started up their own small businesses in the weeks since they graduated. In total we expect around twenty new businesses to be started from the class of 2012. These will give the girls an opportunity to stand on their own two feet and provide for their families by putting in to practice the skills they have learned during their two years at Seed of Hope.

2013 looks as though it will be just as eventful as 2012. The year starts with the launch of a new course at Seed of Hope Nairobi. Over the last few years, some of our rural centres have diversified and started courses in Hair and Beauty Therapy and Computer Studies in addition to the core Dressmaking and Fashion Design course. In January 2013, our Nairobi centre will start to train girls in Homecare Management. Here they will learn skills in cooking, childcare and how to look after a home.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported Seed of Hope by donating on GlobalGiving in 2012. Your contributions have allowed us to continue training girls and offering them Dignity, Hope and Opportunity.


Overalls made by Seed of Hope students
Overalls made by Seed of Hope students

Our students have just returned from their August vacation and are happy to be back in school and working hard. In fact, some students in Nairobi were even in school during the holidays to continue learning how to use computers and to make overalls for Seed of Hope’s mechanics students.

Seed of Hope is now its final term of 2012 and preparations are being made for this year’s graduation ceremonies. Almost one hundred students will graduate this year, including some fee-paying students whose fees help sustain our training programmes for disadvantaged youths.

Over thirty of the students who are graduating have been able to sit their Grade 2 exams set by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), Kenya’s most recognised examination board for dressmaking. Students who pass this exam have a higher chance of gaining paid employment. For those who are unable to sit the exams or who prefer self-employment, our Roots programme is designed to help them set up their own small businesses.

Since our last report, we have had word that two of our Seed of Hope Centres (Kisii and Kitui) have been certified by the government as recognised examination centres. This will reduce the costs involved in sitting exams for their own students and allow them to earn income by charging external students to sit their DIT exams on their premises. This will help with the sustainability of the centres.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Seed of Hope through Global Giving. Your contributions ensure that we can continue to train disadvantaged girls and give them brighter futures.

Student at work
Student at work
A Kushuka Necklace
A Kushuka Necklace

As with all Vision Africa partner projects, Seed of Hope has been set a challenge as we celebrate our tenth anniversary. By December 2013 they should be earning 30% of their budget through income generating activities (IGAs) with a view to this number increasing to 50% by 2015. This is the first step towards a sustainable future for projects which are making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and youths in Kenya.

In recent months, the headteachers of our four Seed of Hope centres have been working with our new team member, Ruth, to plan how they can develop existing income generating activities and initiate new ones which will help provide funds for the running costs of their centre. Staff who work at each of the projects were invited to attend a workshop which offered training on marketing, record keeping and business development. The idea behind this was to build their capacity and give them the knowledge and skills they need to run a successful business.

It is anticipated that development of the IGAs will lead to increased participation of the communities in which Seed of Hope operates. Members of the local community will be customers for produce that is sold, fee-paying students for training courses that are on offer, volunteers donating their time and skills to work with the project or will be able to donate materials to get projects started.

Our Seed of Hope centre in Kariti is leading the field in terms of setting up IGAs. They have now expanded their curriculum and taken in fee-paying students in Hair and Beauty and Computer Studies. They are also making use of their land to grown maize and vegetables and rearing chickens and a cow. Njambi, the headteacher at the centre says “It’s important for us to be self-reliant as NGO funds can stop any time. We're a community based program and if we're self-reliant the community can be proud of themselves for what they give the centre.”

It has been an exciting time for our Nairobi centre. Crafted, a fashion brand set up as a social enterprise, has been working with an international jewellery designer to develop a collection called “Kushuka”. This will feature in the Edinburgh Festival in August and is currently on sale in Nairobi. The students and graduates involved in the process were thrilled to see their products on the catwalk.

As our Seed of Hope centres take steps towards sustainability, we appreciate all the supporters who have brought us to where we are now and ensured that Seed of Hope has been able to change the lives of disadvantaged teenagers. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project through Global Giving.

This Wednesday, 13th June, is Bonus Day on Global Giving and all donations to this project will be matched. Please help us spread the word to allow us to take advantage of this special offer from our friends at Global Giving and make an even bigger difference to the lives of our students.



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Organization Information

Vision Africa

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Kirsty Gichimu
Project Leader
Nairobi, Kenya

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