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.
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.
KATA KEKI-THE BIRTHDAY
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”.
Story by Rosemary Wambui and Zuzana Kralinska.
Day 2, 3 and 4 to follow soon. Watch this space!!!
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