To mark International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, we’d like to bring you our latest update from Seed of Hope where we are helping young destitute girls become strong independent women. Recruitment at Seed of Hope is drawing to a close for this year with new girls being enrolled at all four centres. Encouragingly, there was a very low drop-out rate over the Christmas holidays and our second year students are now in full swing as they prepare for their trade exams. On a recent visit to our Kariti centre in Central Province, our chairman from the UK, Bob Dowty, was given a guided tour by two second year students. These confident young women spoke with pride of their centre and as they introduced him to their new colleagues in first year they gave them words of encouragement to greet the visitor and welcome him. We were shown round their shamba (farmland) where they have been growing grass for the cows along with maize, kales and other vegetables. The students explained that as part of their lifeskills lessons they are the ones to help with the farming and also the ones to cook lunch every day. There was a moment of pride when one of the girls turned to us and said “we cannot go hungry with this shamba here”. For us, this seemed to be a great example of self sufficiency and independence leading to pride. At our Nairobi centre, we have watched as some of last year’s graduates have found employment or started on the first steps to opening their own business. It is hard to believe that these well groomed, confident young women were the same girls who showed up two years ago and couldn’t look at the camera when we tried to take photographs for our sponsorship program. They now have the self-belief that they can be businesswomen and look after themselves and their families. This is a great testimony to the work of Seed of Hope. On the 27th of February, Vision Africa held a celebration to show appreciation for the work of its founders, Rev. and Mrs. Packard. Every project was invited to produce a piece of art to thank the founders for assisting them in some way. The Seed of Hope entries caught everyone’s eyes – a beaded picture of a giraffe on leather, knitted scarves with the words “thank you” on them, a traditional bag and an embroidered hanging were greatly admired by Mrs. Packard who commended the girls for the skills and creativity they had shown. On that day, graduates of Seed of Hope were invited to join the celebration. A large number of young women showed up, many of them in outfits they had designed and created themselves. Looking around, you would never be able to tell what these women had been through in their time before Seed of Hope. They looked like happy, confident, determined women who really are living a life of dignity, hope and opportunity – great role models for our current students and a credit to the work of Seed of Hope. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported Seed of Hope and hope that you can see that you are part of something that is really making a difference to young women in Kenya.
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