Seed of hope has continued to train and equip disadvantaged girls with skills in various vocational courses, mentorship and counselling program that has transformed the lives of many young women who had lost hope in life and became vulnerable to exploitation. Each term after three months of training, mentoring and other activities, Seed of Hope centres allow their girls to take a break from learning so that they can relax and spent time with their family members. From our last update, there are many positive changes that have occurred in the lives of the girls thus when the holiday break was over, all the girls came back to continue with the learning in the second term. The girls have high expectations with regards to courses of their choice since those in second year are preparing to sit for an external grade 2 test in August while the first years are registering for their grade 3 test that they will sit in November. The external exams are set by the examination body called National Industrial Technical Authority (NITA) for vocational and technical institutions, therefore give the Seed of Hope girls a better chance to secure employment in the textile industries in Kenya as well as fashion and design companies. I had the previlege to speak to two girls who are currently in the program and also a former graduate who has come back for advance lessons in our Dhamira incubation hub and this is what they shared:
Elizabeth enrolled at Seed of Hope in January 2015. She is among the young mothers who pleaded with the management for a chance to join the institution and be trained so that she can be able to support her young family. She did not get the chance to join secondary school like her friends due to lack of fees since her mother is the sole breadwinner and depends on farming to raise the family. Elizabeth became desperate as the situation at home was difficult thus she left her rural home to find employment in the city. It is at the age of sixteen that she met a man while working in a hotel and she fell pregnant. She had no choice but get married at that tender age since she was ashamed of going back home as her family was struggling to make ends meet. She also resigned from her place of work and became a stay at home mum raising two children while depending entirely on her husband to cater for family needs. She came to learn about Seed of Hope during one of the community outreach programs conducted by Seed of Hope staff and decided to enrol for the fashion and fabric design course. There are many young mothers like Elizabeth who are facing difficult circumstances and have lost hope in life. They are living in abject poverty as they are unable to cater for their basic needs due to lack of skills that would enable them to secure employment. Elizabeth is grateful for the opportunity she got from Seed of Hope and this is what she had to say “ I joined Seed of Hope because I have been idle for a long time and I wanted to change my life and become self- independent. I believe that through the skills in the course am taking, I will be able to start my own business, move in to a better home, give my children a good life and go back to school to further my education. I have regained my self-esteem, confidence and hope for a brighter future “
Elizabeth is not alone in this journey to a brighter future. Meet Lilian a second year student at Seed of Hope also training in fashion and fabric design. She was raised by her grandparents in the rural area after her mother remarried. She was able to go to high school but dropped out due to lack of fees. She thought her life had come to an end since in her village most of her agemates who had dropped out of school were married with kids and she was afraid that she will follow the same path. Her breakthrough came when one of her aunties paid them a visit and she brought her in Nairobi with a promise to find a casual employment for her. It is at this period that her auntie heard about Seed of Hope and she got an opportunity to enrol. Lilian is now preparing to sit for her grade 2 test before completing her two years of training at Seed of Hope. She says that since she joined Seed of Hope, she has gained knowledge and skills in her course of study as well as other skills, like business development, life skills, and craft work. When asked about her future plans she says that she is looking forward to graduate then advance her fashion and fabric design course so that she can be a tutor. She also have plans to start her own business so that she can support her grandparents and younger siblings.
Grace is a former student of Seed of Hope. She graduated in 2014 after completing her training in dressmaking, fashion and fabric designs. In the two years she was at Seed of Hope, Grace says that she has gained the knowledge and skill in her course of study, she is more confident, social and courageous to face any challenge that comes her way. After graduation, she went for a three month attachment to get first-hand experience in a well-established business. She was very lucky to get the attachment placement working under the supervision of one of the Seed of Hope pioneers in her dressmaking business. It is encouraging to note that most of the girls who went through Seed of Hope program are now taking in the girls who recently graduate for attachment since they have establish their business and are earning good income through the training they got from Seed of Hope. Grace completed her attachment and she was selected among other girls to join the Seed of Hope Dhamira hub as a resident whereby she continues to learn new and complex designs, being creative while making different items using fabrics and also how to operate an industrial machines. Grace and other girls in the hub are also mentored to be confident, ambitious and patient as they prepare to go out and start their business. She is confident that once she get the support from Seed of Hope to establish her business, she will ensure that her business prospers so that she can be independent, support her family, go back to school so that she can advance her career and mentor other girls who had lost hope in life. As we wind up this is what she had to say, “Seed of Hope has given me a reason to live for a future I had no idea it existed. I had lost hope in life since there was nobody who could understand the challenges I was facing. Thanks to Seed of Hope for this golden opportunity as now I can stand tall because I have hope and a bright future ahead”
The girls are confident on their journey towards success and we recognize that all this would not have happened if it was not for the support you have given us to make their dreams come to reality.
Thank you for your ongoing support towards our work!
Grace using industrial machine