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
Graduation day in Nairobi!
Hair and beauty students getting ready!