As with any other charity, Vision Africa has to ensure that the work it is doing is having a positive impact. In the past year, Sherry Waweru has joined our team as the “Impact Assessment Officer” and started collecting data to help with strategic planning in the future.
A recent piece of work has involved Sherry carrying out a survey among Seed of Hope students and graduates. One of the main aims of this research was to find out the circumstances from which students come from. Another was to evaluate the importance of the feeding programme. In terms of the feeding programme, the results were overwhelming with 98% of those surveyed saying that receiving lunch at Seed of Hope helps with student retention. 49% received zero or one meal outside of Seed of Hope on a daily basis. Bear in mind that the other meal might be a cup of tea or a small cake known as a mandazi and you can see just why they place so much importance on the plate of rice and cabbage or ugali and kales that they receive at school.
During her research, Sherry went to visit some of the graduates to talk to them about their experiences. She came back with some great success stories which we thought would be good to share.
The first of these was Peninah. You may have read her story recently on our blog and know that she has her own business. What we hadn’t realised at that time was just how successful Peninah’s business was! When Sherry went to visit her she had to rush through the questions as Peninah was heading from Nairobi to Limuru, 40km away, to meet with clients to discuss the production of bridesmaids’ dresses for a wedding.
The wedding theme continued when Sherry went to meet with Naomi who was one of the second groups to graduate from Seed of Hope several years ago. Naomi was also working on bridesmaids’ dresses for a wedding and her business is now doing so well that she has had to employ someone to help her with the work that is coming in. Having heard Seed of Hope Head Teacher, Florence, talk about Naomi’s struggles when she first graduated we have decided to follow up on this story so look out for it on our blog in the near future.
Another success story is that of Alice who graduated in 2012. She has now got her own business established and was working on two dresses for clients when Sherry visited her. Alice had also been visited recently by Teacher Gitau and a new intern at Seed of Hope. Gitau told us that Alice was very confident in speaking to the visitor and at that time she was working on an order for a client and while they were talking another customer came in with a school uniform that needed repairs. These small repair jobs are often what build clients’ confidence in the dress-making graduates and lead to orders for new clothes. As an enterprise teacher, Gitau was keen to check on Alice’s records and was happy to see that she was putting to use some of the skills that he had taught her. He also discovered that Alice had been given an order to make wedding clothes by someone at her church.
It is always encouraging to hear of Seed of Hope students earning a living from the skills that they have learned. We look forward to bringing you more of these stories as Sherry continues with her valuable work.