I still remember in my days in primary when our English teacher would just end the lesson and before he left class, he would write on the blackboard. “Write a composition with this title, The Day I will Never Forget”. This came to my mind as I believe the Seed of Hope Kariti graduation would have made a very exciting write up for me!
I never imagined that I would be emotional while attending the Kariti graduation. My heart was overwhelmed with joy seeing the whole community gathered to witness their sons and daughters graduating. Relatives, friends and close family members took the time off from their busy schedules and traveled from far places to come and be part of this big day. How I wished that it was my graduation day too! The invited guests also came from different sectors within the county and they too were caught by surprise of how organized and lively this graduation was.
Thirty seven students were graduating from the three courses, that is 18 from the Homecare Management course, 13 from Hair and Beauty Course and lastly 6 from Dressmaking, Fashion and Fabric course. All of the graduates looked spectacularly beautiful having been dressed and applied make up by their fellow students. It has been our Seed of Hope tradition that the graduating class from the dressmaking, fashion and fabric design are given the task to make their graduation dresses as well as for students from other courses while hair and beauty class are tasked to do hair and makeup and the homecare management class will do catering for the event.
I have attended a few graduations in the past years in our Nairobi centre and then Kitui but this was my first to attend at Seed of Hope Kariti of which was the best so far. From the parents and relatives who patiently waited for guests to arrive, energy from graduates and students who entertained the crowd, the testimonies, parents coming with gifts and tinsels while their sons and daughters received certificate and then the climax was a wedding, dancing and cutting of the cake. All this was too much for.
My highlight of this unforgettable event was the testimonies from a parent, a student, two former graduates and three from the graduating class. One particular testimony was so moving that it really caught everyone’s attention as the hall went silent as this girl narrated the story of her life before she joined Seed of Hope and how her life has changed since she enrolled for Hair and Beauty course. This is her story as she shared:
“My name is Trizah. I come from a humble family and am the fifth born in a family of nine siblings. Although my parents are alive, my mother is the sole breadwinner who has struggled to cater for family as my father is a drunkard who consumes everything my mother has worked for on our small farm. I was lucky to go to primary school but most days without breakfast and we also could go without dinner and survived on school lunch of ‘Githeri’( Boiled maize and beans). That did not stop me from working hard in school as I wanted to get good grades at the end of my primary education so that I can go to high school. I passed my KCPE and got a calling letter to a provincial school but unfortunately my mother could not raise my school fees hence I ended up losing that chance. I was hopeless and depressed as my dreams were now shattered as most of my friends had gone to school. Luckily, a well-wisher came in to my life and she took me to a boarding secondary school where I studied for only one year and then dropped out after she was involved in an accident.
My life changed drastically as I left my home to go to Nairobi to look for employment. I worked as a house help in the city for two years but it was worst decision as I was young and naïve and my employer took advantage of that to enslave me. I decided to run away and lived on the street for three months. With the harsh life as a street girl, I was harassed and abused by the big boys hence became pregnant and this made me to contemplate committing suicide as I felt like this life has no meaning. Heaven came in form of a woman whom I had approached to ask for handout and she asked me several questions of which I narrated my story to her. She took me to her house and took care of me until I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. She later took me back to my village where I met a Seed of Hope graduate who encouraged me to join the programme so that I can get some skills. Today am standing before you with confidence believing that the decision to join Seed of Hope was the best ever. I met very good teachers who encouraged me to put more effort and do a lot of practice even although I am a slow leaner. I am proud for what I have become and where my future is heading now that my hope has been restored and I can walk with confidence knowing am a professional hair and beauty girl. I thank everybody for their support especially my mother for taking care of my child while I go to school, my teachers for giving me hope and helping me to believe in myself, to my friends for their encouragement and to our sponsors Vision Africa for bringing this programme to us. May God continue to bless you.”
I could not believe my ears and after she finished telling her testimony, I had to call her aside for a big hug because this is what life transformation is all about. Seed of Hope has not only give Trizah and her fellow graduands hope but dignity and opportunity to raise their living standards and that of their families. We will be following up on their progress to see how they utilize the skills acquired hence am looking forward to more great stories to share. I thank all the sponsors who have given their time, resources and funds to enable us make this programme impact the lives of many young people in this country. Know that your giving is not in vain!
If you’re inspired by the work Seed of Hope has done with Trizah, please make a donation to ensure it can continue working and help change the lives of more young people. Check out our Ways To Give if you are in the US or Kenya. Supporters in the UK have an opportunity to have donations to Seed of Hope doubled thanks to The Big Give Challenge which runs for one week from midday on Tuesday 28th November.
Post by Sherry Waweru, Impact Assessment Officer