Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls

by Raising Futures Kenya
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Self-reliance for 300 vulnerable Kenyan girls
Students making mats in Kitui
Students making mats in Kitui

In January the students continued with their practical lessons at our Seed of Hope vocational training centres (adhering to COVID-19 guidelines).  All students and staff had refresher training on the safety guidelines when they returned in January. 

Majority of the fashion design students at Seed of Hope Nairobi went for an educational tour in the capital city to learn about the textile industry as well as visiting successful businesses run by individuals in the fashion industry. They got the opportunity to buy different fabrics to use for their end of course project. The girls from the other two centres were also busy finalising their practical projects ready for their end of course assessment. They've also been having lessons on business skills and financial literacy. By the end of January the majority of the students had completed their final projects and were ready to get some practical experience in the workplace on their two month internship placements starting in February. 

The Seed of Hope teachers reached out to lots of local businesses to secure internship placements for the students. We are pleased to inform you that all the graduating students are on internship with one of them getting employed even before graduating!

We had planned for all of the students to return in April for their graduation but sadly Kenya has gone into lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 so all schools are closed again and travel is restricted. We will welcome them back as soon as it is safe to do so to ensure they all get the graduation they deserve after such a challenging year. Hopefully our next enrolment will be able to take place as planned for the new cohort of students joining us in July.

In other news, the ground breaking and construction of a new Graduate Business Hub at Seed of Hope Kitui is underway. The hub will host new short courses such as entrepreneurship, financial literacy and IT skills and a computer essentials courses for both the students and other young people in the community to increase computer literacy and business skills in the community. The Business Hub will also have all of the tools, equipment and computers graduates need to launch their small business. It will provide the perfect stepping stone between learning a skill and setting up a successful business.

On the behalf of Seed of Hope, we would like to sincerely thank you for your generous giving towards this programme despite the hard times we are all facing due to COVID-19. The Seed of Hope programme is making a positive impact in the lives of young girls and their families because we all believed in their potential to thrive and succeed through their different skills and abilities.  Thank you for supporting us.

Catering students
Catering students
Students showcasing the clothes they've made
Students showcasing the clothes they've made
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Seed of Hope Kitui Fashion Design class open again
Seed of Hope Kitui Fashion Design class open again

We are DELIGHTED to announce that our Seed of Hope vocational training centres have re-opened! Our dedicated, committed teachers have spent the last 7 months ensuring all students can continue their education whilst at home. They provided printed workbooks every month, taught lessons using WhatsApp and gave every student counselling over the phone. Now they can focus on teaching the practical lessons.

At the moment we are doing a phased re-opening whilst some students are on work placements. We have had to build two temporary classrooms in Nairobi to ensure we can adhere to social distancing rules and keep the students safe. All of the fashion design students were trained on how to make masks and the school provided them with fabrics so that they could produce enough masks for themselves and other students in the different courses.

As the year comes to an end, the students are now sitting for their final year test to assess the effectiveness of both remote learning as well as face to face practical skills before they break for the holiday season. This week the teachers will be taking part in a 2 day workshop to give the team the opportunity to reflect and share their achievements of the year and make plans for the coming year which we anticipate will be even busier due to increased demand for our courses. 

Over 770,000 young people in Kenya have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, on top of the 800,000 who were already unemployed. The next few months will continue to be incredibly tough but we are determined to support, and work alongside, the students as they create a rewarding, secure future for themselves, free from poverty.

Sadly whilst this a small step towards returning to 'normal' we are still providing monthly emergency support to 51 vulnerable families who have lost all of their income and we're providing a cooked lunch to our 252 Seed of Hope students, for many this is the only meal they will eat each day.

We still have a long journey ahead but it's wonderful to have the students back learning in the classroom again. We couldn't do this without you - thank you for standing by us.

Seed of Hope Kitui
Seed of Hope Kitui
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Elizabeth and her family in Kitui
Elizabeth and her family in Kitui

Hello,

I hope you and your loved ones have been staying safe and well over the last few months. I wanted to send you an update on the impact your vital support has had recently and to thank you for standing by us at a time when we are needed more than ever. Many funders are turning their backs on supporting international charities so we can't thank you enough for being a lifeline and enabling us to support some of the most vulnerable and marginalised young people in Kenya during the pandemic.

Our teachers and staff in Kenya have worked tirelessly since March to make sure that every student and family we work alongside feel supported and have the essentials they need to survive the implications of the lockdown.  Our fear is that the economic repercussions of the pandemic will be far more devastating for the young people and vulnerable communities we work with than the reach of the virus itself.  Our teachers and staff are determined to ensure that the Seed of Hope students can graduate this year, they know how essential it is going to be for students to be able to set up their own business as unemployment levels will be even higher in a post-Covid time, particularly in rural areas.  

The team in Kenya responded incredibly quickly to transform our face-to-face vocational training programme into a distance learning programme, which they have never experienced before.  They are teaching their lessons via WhatsApp, text messages and printed workbooks depending on the equipment students have access to, meaning they are having to do three versions of every lesson they have planned for the week to ensure no one misses out.  They are remotely delivering all of the theory syllabus now and have made various contingency plans to be prepared for when it was likely that we would be able to reopen the centres again, hopefully small groups can return this month for practical lessons.  Currently the Kenyan Government are aiming to allow vocational training centres, colleges and Universities to fully re-open in January with strict social distancing measures in place.  The teachers will deliver the full practical training syllabus from January-March with classes divided and only half being onsite at a time, whilst not onsite they will continue at home with set work and then swap over.

Our teachers and staff are doing all of this whilst also dealing with the personal impact of the pandemic on their own lives, many members of their families have lost their income and are struggling to make ends meet.  All of our teachers are having to adapt to delivering their lessons in a totally different format to what they’re used to whilst also having to homeschool their own children.

Thanks to you, our generous supporters, we have been able to;

  • Continue providing distance learning to our 252 Seed of Hope vocational training students through a mixture of WhatsApp group lessons, text messages for those without a smartphone and printed workbooks which are dropped off for students to collect from a local shop for those who do not have access to a phone.
  • Provide mobile airtime (phone credit) for 63 Seed of Hope students to enable them to take part in online learning via WhatsApp as they couldn’t afford it.
  • Provide mobile airtime to 9 teachers and 3 staff to provide weekly telephone counselling to 40 families in our Family Strengthening Programmes (where children have been reintegrated back into their families from children’s homes) and 252 Seed of Hope students who are feeling scared and isolated at the moment. Counselling and mental health support is a key element of all of our programmes and this has become even more essential during these incredibly worrying and anxious times for the people we work alongside.
  • Support 417 children, young students and their families with monthly food supplies, cooking fuel, personal hygiene essentials and safety items such as face masks, soap and hand gel - which was transferred via mPesa mobile phone currency.  
  • Support 26 families who are also at risk of becoming homeless as they have lost their income and can’t meet their rent, we were able to pay for their rent.

The faces behind the numbers, meet some of the families you have supported

Elizabeth 

Elizabeth’s father lost his source of income after the market he worked from was shut down. He could not secure casual jobs to enable him to provide food for his family. The family had run out of their food supply and the father reached out to the Seed of Hope headteacher asking for help as he could not bear looking into the eyes of his children who were crying due to hunger. Since April, Elizabeth’s family has been receiving cash via the Mpesa money transfer to enable them buy food and other essentials for a month. Elizabeth and her family appreciate the support from donors and this is what she says “I want to thank all the donors for their generosity as they have come at the right time to rescue my family. We will forever be grateful as we do not have to worry where the next meal will come from.” Elizabeth is among students who collect notes from a nearby shop, as the family do not have a smart phone where she can participate in online learning, although they get follow up calls and short text messages (SMS) on the topic to cover each week, notes and quizzes.

Annet 

Annet is among the Seed of Hope graduates who are being supported. She graduated in January after completing a course in fashion and design. She lives with her older brother and his family who have supported her through her time studying at Seed of Hope. Annet was doing an internship at a textile business in Nairobi but had to stop after the outbreak of coronavirus and the business closed.  Her brother, who is the breadwinner of the family, also lost his job and they had no other source of income to cover their basic needs, especially food and rent.  The family was in dire need of support as Annet’s aunt is expecting her second baby.  Annet approached the Seed of Hope manager with the challenges they were facing and Florence provided counselling for the family.  She also added them in the list of vulnerable families as they had run out of food and money to pay rent and other utilities.  The family has been receiving a cash transfer which has enabled them to pay their rent and buy food for the month.  Annet says that she will forever be grateful for all the support she and her family have received from Raising Futures Kenya and supporters who have sacrificed to give to the less fortunate people like her.

Thank you for your generosity and kindness, particularly during this incredibly difficult time, we are all very grateful to you.

With best wishes,

Kirsty Erridge
Director

Annet, a graduate in Nairobi
Annet, a graduate in Nairobi
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Faith and her family in Kitui
Faith and her family in Kitui

Hello,

This is such a strange time for all of us. Many of us are separated from our loved ones and dealing with the uncertainty and daily news updates about the COVID-19 outbreak can take its toll on our mental health, we hope you are coping ok. 

Vic and I, and our team in Kenya, want you to know that we're thinking about you. Your support during this challenging time has brought light at a time of darkness and we thank you for continuing to stand by us and these children.

As I’m sure you may expect, the schools in Kenya are closed meaning the children and young people we support are at home with their families and not getting the free meals they would have been getting at our Seed of Hope vocational training centres. Many of the young students we work with, and their family members, have also lost their only source of income due to restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus. 

Thanks to your on-going support, and our emergency fund, this week we have been able to provide emergency support to 43 students supporting 230 family members. We transferred emergency funds to them via mPesa transfer (a mobile phone currency) to adhere to social distancing rules. This enabled the families to buy a month’s supply of food, soap, hygiene products and cooking fuel. Eight families were also at risk of being made homeless because they couldn't pay their rent so we have supported them with that too.

Florence, our Seed of Hope Manager in Kenya, and the teachers are speaking to all of the students on a weekly basis to provide specialised counselling support to help them through this worrying time. They are also providing essential public health information to prevent the spread of misinformation. We anticipate needing to provide this level of support for at least another two months as it has been confirmed that the schools will remain shut for at least another month and restrictions on movement show no sign of being lifted at the moment meaning many will still have no means of earning an income to support their family.

There was already a huge demand for our free vocational training courses, the demand is only going to increase in the coming months as Kenya tries to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. We know from working in Kenya for 19 years that girls, and the most vulnerable, will always be negatively impacted the most so we are preparing for ways we can increase our support to those who need us most.

It is costing £30/$37 to provide a month of food and essentials for a family of 5 plus an additional £40/$49 for those who need rent support. It is a worrying time for all of the children and families but they know that we will stand by them now more than ever, thanks to the wonderful support of kind people like you - so we just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for enabling us to be there when we are needed the most.

We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.

With best wishes,

Kirsty Erridge - Deputy Director
kirsty@raisingfutureskenya.org.uk

Rose from Kitui with family and their supplies
Rose from Kitui with family and their supplies
Sharon from Kitui with parents, sister & brother
Sharon from Kitui with parents, sister & brother
Emma, her brother and sister with their supplies
Emma, her brother and sister with their supplies

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Harriet showcasing her self-made graduation outfit
Harriet showcasing her self-made graduation outfit

The beginning of the year is always flurry of activity at the Seed of Hope centres as the current students report back before graduation and the new group of students stream in for enrolment in vocational courses of their choice. 

There has been a significant increase in the fashion and fabric design course enrolment after Florence, who is the Seed of Hope manager, was invited to talk about Seed of Hope on one of the most listened to radio stations in Kenya!  Florence was accompanied by Linnet who is one of the 2018 fashion and fabric design graduates who is now working in the fashion industry.  Linnet confidently shared her journey before and during her time at Seed of Hope and how the teachers helped her to deal with low self-esteem and build her confidence.  She encouraged many young girls who have lost hope and are on the verge of giving up on their dreams to visit one of Seed of Hope centres and get enrolled for a course that will transform their lives. 

In January 139 students graduated.  The graduation events were full of pomp and colour with former graduates honoured and current graduates showcasing their skills!  The fashion design students came up with very unique gowns to celebrate their day, the homecare management students prepared the best meals for the celebration while the hair and beauty therapy students ensured that all the girls looked absolutely gorgeous with their hair and make up!  Harriet is one of the girls graduating and she was wearing the Ankara shorts and matching top she made.

Harriet comes from a very humble family of four siblings.  Her mother is a house manager while her father is a preacher who depends on well-wishers for support as he has no other source of income.  Although Harriet completed her secondary education, she did not perform well enough to advance to university.  After finishing school, Harriet looked for a job in order to contribute to family’s basic needs.  She worked as a waitress in a restaurant for 4 months before her father learned about Seed of Hope, he knew that his daughter’s desire was to study fashion design, and so Harriet joined Seed of Hope. 

Our Seed of Hope training centres not only provide free high quality skills training, we offer a holistic package of support to help young students deal with many of the issues they’re facing by providing; mental health support, free lunches, sanitary products, empowerment programmes and other extracurricular activities that motivates and enables them to nurture their talents, improve their self- esteem and build confidence. 

During graduation, Harriet’s mother was emotional seeing her daughter being presented with a graduation certificate, they'd had to sacrifice some of the little income they had as a family to make sure that Harriet had bus money to attend the course as they lived 14km away.  Her teacher also ensured that if she missed any lessons she was able to catch up since she had seen Harriet's talented potential and worked closely with her to the last minute when Harriet presented her final project, her wonderful graduation outfit (pictured).  After graduation, Harriet has now been offered an internship with Penninah, a Seed of Hope graduate with a well-established fashion design business.  We look forward to seeing Harriet progress as she gets hands-on experience in the workplace and advice from an expert in the fashion industry.  This resonates well with a statement made earlier this year by Kenya’s First Lady who declared, “We need a world that is safer and more open to equal opportunities for our girls and women. We need to unlock the potential of girls, to raise girls that are bolder, better educated and ready to give their best to our world—in whatever capacity.” 

Harriet believes that this programme has done exactly that as she said “Seed of Hope has imparted skills that encouraged me not to give up on my dreams and to focus on everything I want to achieve in life.  I am now learning new designs and I can’t wait to complete my internship and open my own business”.  We wish Harriet all the best as she charts a new path towards a bright future.

Good news is that Raising Futures Kenya has received a grant that will support graduates from the two centres located in marginalised communities.  The 2019 graduates from Seed of Hope Kariti and Kitui will have access to a revolving loan that will enable them establish businesses using skills gained from training to start their own business, become financially independent and boost their livelihoods.  Both graduates and parents have completed financial literacy training, written their business plans and will shortly be receiving their business start-up loan.

Thank you for your generous giving towards Seed of Hope programme as it is through your support that girls like Harriet are able to overcome some of the challenges they face in their young life so they can thrive and reach their full potential. It is through your continuous giving that vulnerable girls are empowered, encouraged and equipped with skills that gives them a voice in creating their own path, improve the family living standards and participate in building the economy of the nation.

Fashion and fabric design students at graduation
Fashion and fabric design students at graduation
Graduation day in Nairobi!
Graduation day in Nairobi!
Hair and beauty students getting ready!
Hair and beauty students getting ready!
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Organization Information

Raising Futures Kenya

Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire - United Kingdom
Website:
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Twitter: @raisingfutures
Project Leader:
Sherry Waweru
Nairobi, Kenya
$134,365 raised of $200,000 goal
 
1,598 donations
$65,635 to go
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