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Celebrating St.Bakhita House of Hope 10th Anniversary – DAY 2 and 3

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Day 2: Winning the game – Yeaaa!

As the saying goes, physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. After an official opening first day, the second day of our celebrations was a day full of sports and laughter. For weeks ahead, our girls practiced their football passes and volleyball servings, getting ready to show their talents and measure their strength against the girls from Langas Primary School. When they day finally dawned on 2nd August, fun games such as table tennis, speed eating of bread, round-the-chair and egg-on-spoon preceded the big matches. These games were mainly dominated by our opponents from Langas Primary School. It was our way of welcoming them, right.

 

When the big moments came, we  managed to triumph in the major disciplines – football and volleyball – and carried home two beautiful trophies. The fun and joy of exercising was indeed a tribute to our heart. We are super thankful to all our staff who came to support and participate expecially Teacher Ann (who came second in the round-the-chair) and Teacher Ben for his amazing morale boosting singing support. Special thanks to our friends from Langas Primary for accepting our invitation.

 

Day 3: Developing the Virtues of St.Bakhita Girls

Our girls in St.Bakhita are not only taught how to make beautiful hairstyles and sew creative fashion designs. They are also groomed to become responsible and active members of the society.

 

In the morning of the third day of celebrations, their steps lead to the Langas Parish of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church where our girls usually attend the Sunday masses. However this time they did not come to sing in the choir and listen to the Words of God. This time they came to deliver a service to the community and clean up the church and its surroundings to show their humility and willingness to serve. As John Wesley once said, cleanliness is next to godliness.

 

Sipping the honey of wisdom

 

After lunch, the Chief of Langas area, Mr. Philip Chemngok, blessed us with a visit  to share words of advice and inspire our girls even more to take serious the journey of service to the community . Our Elders say that “The words of the elderly are as sweet as honey, but if you do not listen they become as sour as bile”. We were excited about the visit and took the opportunity to ask several questions to help build our future. Thank You Sir!

 

Crowing the Queen of Bakhita

 

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A virtuous woman is creative, bold, talented, positive, prepared and know how to communicate, among other things. These attributes were challenged when St.Bakhita organized its Maiden Miss Bakhita Pageant. The audience and our five judges, wisely picked from different fields of beauty-and-wit expertise, at first had a chance to see catwalk and introduction in casual wear after which our girls presented their creative designs. The ten contestants materialized our goal of achieving sustainability by producing amazing ideas and presented them with confidence and joy. We saw dresses made from scrap materials, maize sacks, leaves and even a mosquito net. One of our contestants topped her outfit with shoes hand-made  from a bicycle tire. These rounds helped the judges to pick 5 contestants who continued to the final round in which they had to present either their future business-plan or a public speech on a certain topic.

 

The excitement grew as the finals were coming to an end and the judges had a very hard time deciding on who would be crowned the first Miss Bakhita 2018. Eventually our contestant –Mary Wamboi, who was bold enough to hand-make her entire outfit from dress to shoes, who sang beautifully in the talent show and who presented her business-plan for a beauty saloon was crowned to become our first Miss Bakhita. Zipporah and Martha were first and second-runner-up respectively.

 

 

The night dawned and the claps ended but our laughter, our joy, our confidence didn’t. It was actually the beginning. These two days of sport and pageantry were a great opportunity to relive our sense of exercise, beauty and togetherness.

 

More pictures of Miss Bakhita on our Facebook page

 

 

Story by Rosemary Wambui and Zuzana Kralinska

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Celebrating St.Bakhita HoH 10th Anniversary-Day 1

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A DECADE OF GIRL CHILD EMPOWERMENT, A FUTURE OF SUSTAINABILITY.

The morning sun was rising above the horizon, colorful balloons were hanging on decorated tents and bright smiles decorated faces of us from St.Bakhita House of Hope. Indeed, the first week of August 2018 has been a special one for us. Since its opening in 2008, St.Bakhita House of Hope has strived to achieve its mission of providing a home for the destitute girl child. Over the last 10 years, it has housed the hopes of more than a 140 girls, mostly 15-17 years old. Hand-in-hand with training in vocational skills, the girls have been raised with parental guidance, offering them the opportunity to grow up to become responsible adults who can work, earn a living, provide for their families and contribute to the community. To mark this milestone, the centre celebrated its 10th anniversary from the 1st to 4th of August, 2018. Beginning with the official launching day on Wednesday 1st of August, the almost-week-long series of programs and activities were characterized by lively intellectual exchanges, exhibits, sports games, talent shows and an excursion to the Chepkit Waterfalls.  

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THE VOICES OF ST.BAKHITA

The first day of the anniversary was a tour through the history and future of the centre, narrated by many influential individuals who have served the institution in one way or the other throughout the years. Among the speakers were the founding mothers of St.Bakhita House of Hope – Hon. Mary Njogu (Uasin Gishu CEC Member for Water, Environment, Natural Resources, Tourism and Wildlife Management and first administrator at St. Bakhita), Dr. Lucy Kirwa ( Langas Parish Catholic Women Association Member and past Board Member for St.Bakhita, Beatrice Kwame (Chairlady, Langas ParishCatholic Women Association) among others who reminisced about the humble beginnings, first challenges and expressed a deep gratitude to the St.Elizabeth University from Slovakia which has been funding St.Bakhita since its birth.

Zuzana Kralinska, the Project Coordinator for the SlovakAid sponsored programme spoke on behalf of the Slovak donors and summed up the lessons learned during the decade of girl-child empowerment while drafting the future of innovation and self-sustainability supported by strong partnerships with other institutions.  She further stressed that, with support from Dvojfarebny svet, St.Bakhita is now expanding its horizons by introducing TVETA-accredited courses and opening its doors for adult women from humble backgrounds including persons whose lives are affected by disabilities. Looking beyond and above, the creation of a universally-inclusive environment which is not only focusing on quality vocational training but also raising agents of change within the community – via workshops in peace-building and community development – will be the core of St.Bakhita’s strategy for self-sustainability. 

 

Friends and partners were represented by Fr. Arata Sato (Langas Parish), Mr.Francis (Stanbic Bank), Ms Janet Otieno (RVTTI), Mr.Laryx Ochieng (Eldohub) among others. All of them added value to our launching day with insightful speeches while the sheer diversity of these articulate and eloquent voices provided a unifying theme – one geared towards a future of sustainability.

 


Click to listen to speeches by Hon. Mary Njogu (click)  and Ms Kralinska (click)

 

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KATA KEKI-THE BIRTHDAY

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Students’ performances represented a rich cultural integration. Colourful parades featuring young dancers, musicians and soloists from St Bakhita were well articulated. Some alumni graced the day with light and special effects and a tree planting exercise was completed in remembrance of the day and to usher us into our new future. . The long awaited moment came when the giant white-pink birthday cake was unfolded from the high table, a mosh pit instantly developed in all the four sides of the cake pavilion as the girls sang in unison “kata keki sio ugali”. Finally champagne was tossed, making it the highlight of the moment.

 

We also used the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our students and the hard work of our staff. As cheerful music played in the background, names of the best students from all departments were called out to receive awards for their efforts. All in over 10 students and all 14 staff members were awarded. The overall best student went to Mary Wambui while Mr. Nicholas Omondi (Teacher Jonny) – Catering and Mrs Irene Nyambura (Madam Irene) – Beauty and Hairdressing received two special rewards for being our longest serving teachers.

 

Its was past noon, shadows of the evening were drawing close. We capped our day with concluding words of appreciation, exhibition of students’ products and everyone’s favorite ‘chakula (food) time’. As our guests headed out one by one, our souls were filled with words of joy – “what a past to remember, and what a future path to chart”.

 

Click to watch the kata keki.

 


Story by Rosemary Wambui and Zuzana Kralinska.

 

Day 2, 3 and 4 to follow soon. Watch this space!!!

 

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Mary Wambui: Brains. Beauty. Bravery.

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Meet Mary Wambui Mwangi, a 17 year old girl who is ready to prove to the world that the difference between the impossible and possible lies in one’s determination.

 

 

When it all started…

After 1+ years of studying at St. Bakhita, Mary is among the first cohort preparing for the 2018 National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) Exam  in less than 30 days. But when and how did the story begin? Mary joined St. Bakhita family on 16th, February, 2017. She took the initiative of joining St. Bakhita to study hairdressing because she had the urge to be a great hairdresser. Mary believes she has the talent for it and that through her determination, hard work and serious studies, she will make it far.

Motivated by the need to give her parents the very best in life, she says that poverty will be a thing of the past since which will apply better managerial practices to run her business so that it can thrive well.

“I draw inspiration from my parents because they always encourage me to work hard in everything that I do. I don’t want them to continue living in poverty and so I will do anything it takes to ensure that they live a good life”

 Mary Wambui

Life at Bakhita

Since joining the family, Mary has settled in comfortably, made some great friends, enjoy many fun times and feels ready to move on. According to her, the training that are offered at St. Bakhita are exemplary good since the teachers are highly qualified.

“The training involves a lot of practice, which means you get to learn a lot”. Together with her colleagues, Mary has already completed her 1+ month of practical internship at Expression Beauty Salon in Eldoret. In her free times outside class, Mary joins other enthusiastic students in St. Bakhita’s computer lab researching on trending styles – something she thinks will be one of her X-factor when she is out competing with other hairdressing.

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Mary wins first prize in Hairdressing and Computer Studies (year 2) as well as Overall Best Student during the 10 year anniversary of St. Bakhita – August 2018

Life after Bakhita – Optimistic

 

It is Mary’s dream to start her own business in future. Since starting a business requires capital, she intends to initially apply for a job. ” I am confident of landing a job when I graduate because of my talents and the new skills I have learnt. Once I get that job, I will give it my very best, save from the salary and begin plans to open my own business”. In August this year, Mary won the maiden Miss Bakhita Pageant show after, among other things, she presented and defended this same business idea to a panel of judges.

 

  

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Mary Wambui, Miss Bakhita 2018, and a section of students, staff and guest

 

Today, Mary remains happy, bright, hopeful and ever ready for the world. With her talent, energy and zeal and the training from St. Bakhita, nothing seems to be impossible for her. She looks forward to work life, business life and her ability to provide for her family and to contribute great values to her community.  But before then, she is focused on completing her NITA exams and getting her certificate in Hairdressing and Beauty. Fingers crossed for Mary Wambui and her cohort.

 

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Mary Wambui

Story by: Stella Nthenya Musyoki; Project Intern

End of Entrepreneurship Course

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Employment is a dream yet to come true to many. Majority of graduates are still idling around with their certificates neatly stashed in their houses as they wander from office to office looking for jobs. On the other hand, we have youths without degrees or certificates and lack the skills to start and run their own businesses. The current rate of joblessness is devastating, resulting in an adverse increase in crime rates. It is now time people turned to self-employment and embraced entrepreneurship in order to create, innovate, solve and initiate change.

 

Eldohub offers a course on Business and Entrepreneurship under the Miliki Program. The training covers areas such as Introduction to Business, Business Model Canvas, Identification of Opportunities, Customer Segmentation, Sales and Marketing, Asset Mapping, Business Plan, Financials Literacy, Design Thinking etc. They round this up by practically pitching the ideas generated during the training. The training addresses the problems small scale businesses face in their day to day activities ensuring all areas of concern are addressed.

 

In the month of September, 2018, Eldoub ran the Miliki Program at St Bakhita House of Hope in Langas, Eldoret where 40 women and girls were trained, both literate and semi-literate. It was a great exposure for the participants who took it with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. On top of the normal class interactions, Eldohub included several activities to boost their understanding and ensured everyone participated.

 

“As we begun, the participants were dull and had minimum things to share about themselves. Their minds were ‘still wrapped and locked in a box’, but by the time we were completing, they had a mindset change, thinking big and creatively. It was no surprise they now had a lot to talk about.”

  Ms Chepkemoi (Director of Eldobub)

By the time of pitching ideas, students had very unique and innovative ideas and their confidence was at the peak. We had several mentors come in as well and share their success stories and experience with them. We also had Sidian Bank come in and train them on banking, savings and credit worthiness. It was an experience worth every time spent.

 

 

 

 

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I like to dream big. During the entrepreneurship course, I felt I can achieve all the big plans I have in the future if I do things right. 

Cynthia

Iam glad I got to learn new things about how to open a business, attract and sustain customers  and market my products when I begin my business. 

Margaret 

 

 

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The best lesson for me was about financial management by the Sidian Bank. 

Zipporah 

It was striking to see how creative the students were. What caught my attention was the group that presented a business plan on agribusiness. 

James (one of the judges for the pitching day)

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Articel was originally written by Eldohub: http://www.eldohub.co.ke/2018/10/15/business-entrepreneurship-program/

Kemunto: The money just wasn’t enough

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“I saw an opportunity that could make my situation better. I took it”.

“In 2017, I was washing clothes for a living.I had 3 children; my husband worked as a security guard and didn’t earn much. The money just wasn’t enough. After finding out from a friend – who had benefited from the knitting program at St.Bakhita House of Hope (then St. Vincent Training Center) -that there were opportunities for women to learn new skills, I saw a window of opportunity to make my situation better. So I took it.”

The early days

Evelyn Kemunto, 37 is a resident of Langas in Eldoret. She had always been interested in knitting and tailoring and therefore went ahead and inquired about the program. When she was finally admitted, she preferred knitting to tailoring because it was less crowded asnot as many people were doing knitting. On her first day in November 2017, she got acquainted with the knitting machines for the first timeand was taught how to operate them. The knitting course ran for 12 months, 6 of which were spent practicing the craft full-time under a business incubation program.

 

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Evalyne during her training days at St.Bakhita

 

The learning days

“The best part of the learning came when my classmates and I were contracted by Langas Primary School to produce uniforms. It was such a great feeling and opportunity to see how our work was helping in educating our children.” Additionally, Evelyn recounts her excitement and the importance of learning how to use a computer as part of complementary courses offered. Evelyn graduated last month with a Certificate in Knitting and a starter-pack including a knitting yarn and personalized business cards.

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After graduation, Evalyne comes back to St. Bakhita to use some of the machines 

 

Overcoming the challenging days

Upon graduation, the main challenge she faces is not having a machine. Knitting machines are not affordable for new graduates like Evelyn. “For now, St.Bakhita has been kind enough to allow me and the other mamas to use the machines at the center until the new students begin.” As she hopes to save some money, Evelyn has recently learnt that she is eligible for government funding that could help her acquire a machine for herself.With funding and the skills provided by St. Bakhita, she hopes to gain good income from knitting and selling sweaters within Eldoret.

  • This article is extracted from our ongoing post-graduation follow-up and advisory assistance. Evelyn’s story will be followed up and shared during our second round of follow-up. Stay tuned!!!
  • Article written by: Claire Were (Project Intern)

Mercy: The Power of Positivity

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Guided by the thirst for education, a will to transform her family and desire to impact society, another young woman shares her steps towards a positive future.

 

Mercy, a 20-year-old lady from Flax (Uasin-Gishu County), graduated from St. Bakhita House of Hope with a Certificate in Tailoring and Dressmaking about a month ago. Coming from very humble background, she is not ready to allow her background determine her destiny – the very reason she took the initiative of joining St. Bakhita in 2017. Her desire to design her own destiny has been an inherent part of her life, one which is evident in her thirst for education. “I used to walk a distance of more than 15 Kilometers to attend tailoring classes at St. Bakhita. My motivation was because I have a great passion in dressmaking and I was thirsty to get the skills so that I can transform my life and that of my family”.

Being an added value

Over a period of 1 year, Mercy completed a vocational training course and partook in a 6-month business incubation. Like others, she also received a graduation starter pack (set of tailoring machine and materials).As the sun scorches outside her roof, Mercy continues to work and chat. She explains that she is indebted to St.Bakhita since it is through the skills she got from the organization that she was able to secure an employment in her aunt’s tailoring shop. Her aunt joins our conversation, adding that Mercy has really contributed to growth of her business particularly due to the “elegant and nice designs she makes which have been attracting new customers”. As she laughs,Mercy adds that she has been using the entrepreneurial skills she got during the incubation period which to promote the business. Not the least, the business cards that St.Bakhita designed for her (as part of her graduation package) has been useful in advertising her works by sharing them to new and potential customers.

 

Thinking ahead and beyond…

Mercy describes her plans of starting her own business and later expand it to a big cloth line. She believes that this will only be possible if she will be able to save enough from the salary her aunt is paying her and raise the capital required to start the business. “I have no doubt that when I will start my business, it will celebrate its third birthday and beyond because I will employ a variety of secrets such as delivering clothes to my customer’s doorsteps, treating them with integrity and listening to their feedback so as to acquire and retain more customers”. As the conversation comes to an end, Mercy concludes that she hopes to be among the great women entrepreneurs in the fashion industry in Flax town.

 

Notes

  • Mercy is among a 24-member cohort who graduated in August 2018 from St. Vincent Training Center(Now St.Bakhita House of Hope) supported by Slovak Aid. Recent gender studies confirm that increase in labor force participation and income of women like Mary do positively influence faster economic growth and better childcare[1]. Guided by her thirst for education, a will to transform her family and desire to impact society, there is hope that Mary and her cohort can utilize their new skills to improve their livelihoods and impact on the sustainable development of their communities.
  • This article is extracted from our ongoing post-graduation follow-up and advisory assistance

 

 Article By: Stella Musyoki

 

[1] See Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2012). Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship:http://www.oecd.org/employment/50423364.pdf and The World Bank (2012). World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development.