This was an event like no other. Again, thanks to my social media (actually twitter) connection, I got to learn about Vision Africa and the event that they were going to have, to mark their 10th Anniversary dubbed #KumiKommunity. Theirs is a cause that addresses issues that we all talk about, but are never sure how to lend a helping hand. And that is what peaked my attention. Through Seed of Hope, Vision Africa aims to equip disadvantaged teenagers with independent living through providing vocational training, business training and life-skills.
Seeing (or in this case hearing) is believing. One of the Directors, Kirsty, introduced me to 2 lovely ladies, one a graduate of Seed of Hope, and another a student. In my eyes, these two represented Hope and Future, and theirs is the story I’m writing today.
Hope came in the name of Lilian Anyango, a young lady who completed her KCPE in 2008. Unfortunately, her mother could not afford to take her to secondary school. You have got to talk to this young lady, to see and feel the determination that oozes from her. She had no hope of getting ahead in life, until her former primary school teacher introduced her and her mum to Seed of Hope, where the kind Directors took her up and enrolled her in their school.
When you ask Lilian what Seed of Hope represents, her face immediately lights up. ‘I don’t know what to say about the school and the kind teachers!’ she tells me. ‘I am blessed to have been taken up by the school and what I am learning here is going to help me. I want to start my own tailoring business.’ She tells me. ‘Then I can afford to take my younger brother who is in class 7 to high school and help my mother financially. If I have some money left over, I would like to enroll in high school and do my O levels’. Her words. And when she says these words, the conviction is like you cannot imagine. And just when I’m about to ask her a question, she cuts me short and says ‘do you know I have learnt so much in the 3 months I’ve been here I’m even assisting my classmates in cutting patterns?’ I’m not too sure what this entails but from the excitement in her voice, I can tell she is so proud of her accomplishment thus far. I beam with the pride of a parent, believe it or not.
Time is not on our side, so I tell her I’ll check in on her soon to see how she’s progressing. She dashes off to continue with whatever she was doing that I had interrupted.
It is always good to have a beginning and a success story. That is why I got to talk to the Future, represented by Rosebella Auma. She is poised, this one. I suspect she has mustered the art of interviews. She asks where I want her to sit. I quickly inform her that I’m not here to interview her per se. I just want to talk. Hear her story, and look at Seed of Hope in the eyes of a graduate. Someone who has gone through the system and doing something with their life.
Look at her. She owns the camera and by extension her life. She tells me she was not always this confident, in fact she doesn’t know where she would be had it not been for the kind care and guidance she received from the school ‘Ok young lady, what’s your story’ I ask her. She sits upright and goes on to narrate the events that led her to where she is today. She completed her primary education in 2002 in a School in Busia. She got a high score, but unfortunately, her guardian, or rather the person who could have paid for her secondary education had passed on. She had no hope left.
On her water fetching spree one day, she met a lady who asked her why she was not proceeding on to high school, which she said she was not able to pay her way through school. As luck would have it, the lady knew of Seed of Hope and they were going back to Nairobi the following day and after getting connected to a representative, she only had hours to pack and convince her relatives to let her go. The relatives were skeptical and were not sure it was the right move. But the girl was determined and I presume there being no other choice, the shot was worth it.
And that is how Rosebella Auma enrolled into Seed of Hope. Sparing you the beautiful story that this lady narrated to me, I’ll just tell you, she graduated top of her class. Not only that, she got the chance to go to Scotland. Oh, the best is yet to come. She managed to open her own tailoring shop. She was hoping to study diploma in fashion, but no college would have her, since she did not have her O level certificate, which is mandatory. She did her certificate course, and worked hard in her tailoring business and yes, ladies and gentlemen, she enrolled in school and did her O level. Pretty warped as you can imagine, but with the determination she had, and her support system backing her up, she sat her KCSE and passed *cue applause for Rosebella*
‘So what are you doing to give back, or rather show appreciation for the opportunity handed to you by Seed of Hope?’ I ask her. She tells me that the school and students are never far from her heart. She mentors girls. Not just that, she actually trains women in her community how to stitch. She doesn’t have much space, she tells me, and she can only afford to take in 2 at a time. I’m happy. Mostly because she sees the need to help others.
Seed of Hope has done a lot in helping the less fortunate in the society with life and practical skills, beyond tailoring. I could have sat longer to learn more, but time was not on my side. I however sat through a wonderful fashion show where the models, who are students at the school, showcased dresses that they had made using recycled material. The school is big on recycling. There was a Kushuka Jewellery collection like you cannot believe as well. Sample this:
In all, that was a very enlightening Saturday. Best one I have had in a long time. So is the post, I know but I was impressed. Sample more images on the event here