Blog written by Sherry Waweru – Senior Programmes Officer, Raising Futures Kenya
“Seed of Hope is the best place for me because I have the opportunity to get skills free of charge, learning materials and a good meal at lunch time!” Annet says as we sat down during our one on one conversation. It is through these kinds of interactions that we get to learn more about the background of each student who enrols at Seed of Hope. We build good rapports with our students so they feel able to approach us whenever they have an issue that might affect their training while at Seed of Hope. Annet comes from a polygamous family and has six siblings. Her mother was a single parent when she got married as a second wife when Annet was 7 years old. Life was not easy for Annet in her new family as she was expected not only to carry out house chores after school but also sell groundnuts on the streets in order to get money for the family since she was treated as the outsider. This caused her to perform poorly at the end of primary education exams hence her home and dreams of joining high school were shattered. She said that her parents could not even afford to pay for her school fees in the local day school much as she had pleaded with them.
In 2017, Annet’s older brother brought her to Nairobi to help him in house chores as his wife was about to have a baby. For the two years after completing primary school, Annet has been living with her brother helping out around the house. One day she went to a salon and the lady who does her hair asked whether she was interested in getting some skills in hair or fashion design. The hair dresser had heard about Seed of Hope after we moved in to the new community and thought it would benefit a young girl like Annet. This news excited Annet and she shared with her brother who was very supportive of the idea of getting vocational skills. They came to inquire about Seed of Hope and eventually, Annet was enrolled in dressmaking, fashion and design course.
Teacher Florence who is in charge of the dressmaking class says that Annet’s self-esteem was very low when she came but through the empowerment programme for the young girls her attitude, confidence and self- esteem improved significantly and more so she has improved in her course work as well. Annets’s plan for the future is to find employment in the textile industry in order to become independent but also support her parents , educate her younger siblings to the level of education they would have wanted.
Seed of Hope has come a long way in transforming the lives of girls like Annet who were once hopeless and unsure what the future holds for them because of poverty in the family. The skills imparted to our students not only focus on vocational courses but business enterprise, life skills, and mentorship and many other empowerment programmes. All this is geared towards giving them hope; dignity and opportunity to be confident, creative and self-driven in order to become self-reliant so as to raise their living standards and that of their families.
In addition, Raising Futures Kenya provides a platform where students can share their views, opinion and concerns regarding their time at Seed of Hope. Through focused group discussions that is ongoing across the Seed of hope centres, our students now have the opportunity to inform the organization on how best they can be supported to achieve their goal but also how we can improve the Seed of Hope programme.
The girls also celebrated World Menstruation Day on 28 May by expressing their gratitude to Seed of Hope programme for the provision of sanitary towels. Majority of our girls confessed that due to poverty, their parents cannot afford to buy them a packet of sanitary towel hence forced to find other alternatives .It is through your donations that our girls receive this essential commodity in order to keep them in school during that time of the month but also protect them from men who lure and take advantage of their lack of money to buy.
Thank you for your continuing support because it is through your generous giving towards Seed of Hope that has made it possible for the girls like Annet to raise their confidence, self-esteem through the opportunity given to them so as to have a bright and promising future. We believe that girls at Seed of Hope have potential to live independent and successful lives through employment or self-employment.