Dear our valued supporter,
We at Raising Futures Kenya just wanted to say a huge thank you for your continued support of our ‘Safe Futures for girls in Kenya’ project implemented through our Seed of Hope programme, and to share some updates for our 2023 enrolment with you.
The future of girls living in informal settlements, like Dagoretti and rural areas where we work, can be challenging as they often face greater barriers to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities than girls in more affluent areas. They are also more vulnerable to violence and exploitation, including child marriage and trafficking.
With your support, our Seed of Hope programme has given opportunities for these girls to develop vocational skills in fashion and fabric design, motor vehicle mechanics, Hair and Beauty, Catering and Hospitality courses as well as gain skills in entrepreneurship and computer skills to empower themselves to overcome real challenges and obstacles.
It has also provided the girls from informal settlement areas with a safe space as well as access to other basic support services and protection mechanisms such as mental health and counselling, reproductive health training and monthly menstrual health packs, childcare vouchers for the young mothers, free hot daily lunches, lifeskills training amongst other most needed support. This has provided them a conducive environment to enable them to develop the skills and knowledge they need to become self-reliant and succeed in life in future.
In January 2023, we enrolled 263 girls to be trained between January and June for the vocational skills with more being enrolled after every 7 weeks for training in Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy and Computer skills as a stand alone short course for those that do not want to do the vocational courses. Out of the 263 girls enrolled by January, 51 of them are young mothers benefitting with monthly childcare vouchers to enable them get care for their children as they do their training.
Once they graduate from Seed of hope, they use the skills and knowledge gained to gain meaningful employment or set up their own businesses such as dressmaking shops, hair and beauty salons, cake making and other small businesses. They are able to uplift themselves economically and become fully independent, no longer having to rely on others. Not only are they able to fully support themselves but also their family (elderly parents, younger siblings, and sick family relatives). And young mothers are able to cover costs for their children, for daycare, and invest in themselves!
Ultimately, Seed of Hope's efforts of empowering girls in informal and rural settlements has involved a multi-faceted approach that addresses the many factors that contribute to their vulnerability and lack of opportunity. By investing in their education, health, wellbeing, economic prospects, and providing them with strong role models and mentors, it has helped these girls build brighter futures and become self-reliant adults.
Thank You for being part of this success and change in the lives of these vulnerable young mothers and girls!
With best wishes,
Mary and Flo (Kenya) and Leela (UK)
We just wanted to send a short update to let you know what's happening in Kenya, and to say thank you. Your kindness means young people are waking up this morning with a safe place to learn and get support. Previously they had nowhere to turn, no employment skills and no pathway to a brighter future.
Thanks to your support, and our incredible team of teachers and staff in Kenya, they have dignity, opportunity and hope.
In total this year we have already supported and trained 749 students - that’s more than the previous 10 years combined, and we still have more students joining us before the end of the year!!
In these incredibly challenging times we hope you know that your support and donations are valued and appreciated by young people hundreds of miles away who may never know you, but they feel your support every single day and will do long into their futures.
Thank you for being part of our small but mighty family, ensuring young people have the opportunity to learn, get a job or start a business and become self-reliant, free from poverty.
“Seed of Hope has provided love, something to do, and something to hope for” - Seed of Hope Graduate 2022
In other news Florence (Seed of Hope Manager) and Mary (Operations Director) were at the Women's Leadership Conference in Mombasa, Kenya last week.
They gave a presentation on our Seed of Hope vocational and business skills training programme for young people, focusing on the support we offer girls and young women. They were part of the panel discussion on "Uneven Losses, Uneven Recovery - The Covid-19 Employment crisis from a Sexual and Gender Based Violence Perspective". Their presentation recieved high praise and they have been asked to join the next international conference.
Thank you once again for being part of our extended team. As a small charity we appreciate you choosing to support us, thank you.
Have a lovely week.
With best wishes
Mary, Florence, Kirsty, Leela and Natalie
Raising Futures Kenya Team
279 students graduate their course in Jan-Jun 2022!
This has been yet another exciting 6 months for us in Kenya! From January to June this year 279 young people aged 14-25 (75% girls) have completed their technical vocational, or business skills, training course at our 3 Seed of Hope centres.
They’ve gained the skills, qualification and confidence they need to secure a job or start a business, and be on the road to a life free from poverty.
This is only the second time we’ve enrolled students on our new condensed courses, which are half the previous duration. This cohort is already double the number of students we used to support in a year, and we’ve still got another cohort of students to join us for the next 6 months!
The course duration was changed in response to a community needs assessment in November 2020, where community members and prospective students said they couldn’t commit to a long full-time course as they needed to earn money to survive. We halved the length of our courses, by not aligning with school holidays, and introduced a new 2 month short course for those wanting to learn business, finance and computer skills without needing to learn a skilled trade.
This has resulted in an unprecedented enrolment in our courses and seen the highest number of students we’ve ever had. In the year since this new course structure began in July 2021, 591 young people have graduated their courses at Seed of Hope. That’s almost the same as the previous 4 years combined!
Our added support, to remove any barriers young people face in being able to attend their lessons, is very popular and what sets us apart from other technical vocational training centres. From January to June 2022:
Thank you for helping us change the lives of these young people. It means a lot to them to know there are people in their corner who believe in them.
Florence Olwenge (Seed of Hope Manager) and Kirsty Erridge (CEO)
Raising Futures Kenya
Hello and thank you so much for your continued support of our Seed of Hope programme!
In December 2021 and January 2022, 221 girls and young women graduated from the 2021 Seed of Hope cohort. Students from three centres across Kenya came together to celebrate our most sucessful year yet in terms of student numbers at Seed of Hope. Seed of Hope staff, family and friends attended the ceremonies and alumni joined us to share their stories and inspire recent graduates. There was a real air of celebration with dancing, singing and smiles all around and young people with a sense of pride and hope for the future - thank you for helping make this happen.
One of the newer elements of the Seed of Hope programme is the introduction of childcare vouchers for any students (mostly girls and young women) with dependents. This was introduced when we heard that many young women struggled to attend classes due to caring responsibiliites. Every student with children now recieves a voucher that they can use towards the cost of childcare. One of the young women who recieved the vouchers told us "I have never imagined somone giving me money for taking care of my child as I learn for free without paying a single cent. I feel like crying, for the first time in my life I feel love"
Our team has worked hard in the early weeks and months of the year to recruit the first cohort of 2021 with 215 students in total enrolled, 114 of which are girls and young women. With our new shorter courses this is just one of the multiple cohorts that will pass through the Seed of Hope training centres in 2022.
For our Nairobi students, this will be the final year that they are learning from makeshift classrooms and old shipping containers - with our plans to build a brand new, accesible and purpose built centre on our Nairobi site taking shape and with around 15% of our budget left to fundraise for. You can find out more about this by checking out our GlobalGiving project 'Skills training centre for 14-25 yr olds - Nairobi' .
We are as always so grateful for your continued support and can't wait to update you again soon.
Florence Olwenge and Vic Hancock Fell
A big hello from all of us at Raising Futures Kenya and Seed of Hope,
The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging for our staff and teachers in Kenya who have worked tirelessly to ensure our students were still able to receive their education - even though the training centres were closed for a total of 9 months over two national lockdowns.
We are so proud of what we have accomplished this year with your support. After only being able to re-open after the second lockdown, in July 2021 we have enrolled a total of 336 students, our highest enrolment numbers ever, with a third cohort of Entrepreneurial, Financial Literacy and Computer (EFC) Skills (EFC) students joining us in November!
A snapshot of our year so far (and only since July!):
Seed of Hope teachers have also spent 2 months this year rewriting curriculums to form new condensed vocational training courses. This means students can gain their qualifications and begin earning an income quicker. Crucially it also means we can teach double the number of students each year for minimal additional cost, doubling our impact in the local communities.
We have developed a new short course (2 months long, to be run 6 times a year) in Entrepreneurial, Financial Literacy and Computer (EFC) Skills for young people who want to learn the practical skills in starting and managing a successful small business. This has meant recruiting 3 new highly qualified entrepreneurship and computer teachers. Since launching this short course, 115 young people have already graduated.
With the free support of a UK based marketing business, we also rebranded Seed of Hope in Kenya so it has a new bright, engaging logo and brand colours to increase its appeal to young people. We invested in infrastructure improvements including much-needed repainting at our Seed of Hope centres in Kitui and Murang’a counties, and building temporary classrooms in Nairobi to accommodate more students.
Thank you for your continued part in making this happen. We really couldn't do any of this without you.
Vic Hancock Fell and Florence Olwenge
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