Meet Peris Ipato, one of the WEEP alumni. She lives in Ngong among the Maasai community who are herders. Peris was empowered with entrepreneurial skills during the sustainability phase in the WEEP program. She neatly beads the Maasai necklaces and sells them to the HEART lodge and other jewelry shops in the outskirts of Nairobi. Many clients love her beadwork because she uses high quality beads and does such a neat finish. “My grandmother taught me the art of beadwork. It’s passed from one generation to another,” she says.
The Jubilee Fellowship Church (JFC) mission team 2017 dedicated Frida Mkiwa’s newly constructed house in Lower Taita. The 42 year old Frida, separated and abandoned by her husband, is a graduate of the Women Equality and Empowerment Program (WEEP) 2016. She is a mother of two children; 16 year old Mathias Nyambu and 6 year old Rose Wambugha.
The three- roomed house which was constructed by resources raised by the Jubilee team will provide a safe abode for her young family. The day was filed with joy as the team sang praise songs and prayed for the house. The 14 women from the JFC team walked around the house and prayed for protection and provision for the family. They also donated a set of new bedding to Frida’s family.
“With the little resources I have, I never imagined that one day I will own a home. I’m so thankful for this gesture of love,” reiterated the ever smiling Frida.
Unlike the contemporary African tradition practices in some communities where the separated and abandoned women are neglected, Frida’s mother-in-law was compassionate and gave her the piece of land where the new house was constructed. This is a great relief for Frida who has been renting a house for about three years.
“The WEEP women care for each other. They conduct a needs assessment and choose who will be the next beneficiary of the proposed house building project,” echoed Alice Njoroge the WEEP coordinator.
Frida has over the years expressed interest in serving the community, majoring on prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention (PMTCT) since she is one of the beneficiaries. Recently, she was appointed to attend a one week Government- sponsored training known as “Mentor Mothers” focusing on PMTCT.
Frida was enrolled to WEEP in 2012 and was trained on good nutrition, antiretroviral drugs adherence, living positively and entrepreneurship. She sews school uniforms, dresses and mosquito nets. Her vision is to become a leading wholesaler of uniforms and dresses in Taita County where she resides with her family.
Frida Mkiwa (middle) with her children; Mathias Nyambu (left) and Rose Wambugha (middle) at the three- roomed house under construction. | PHOTO CREDIT: Joyce Mwangi Date: 4 Sept 2017
Linn Asbury is in Nairobi at the moment and is helping the WEEP women with quality control and ideas on how to make unique products that will attract better prices.
The ladies have been keen to implement the skills taught by Linn thus there is an incredible growth in making new products that are stocked in the HEART gift shop and Linn’s networks in America. This has increased the women’s self- esteem and boosted their sales. The profits help the women provide food and shelter for their children as well as save some money in the Saving and Internal Lending Communities program in Kibera. In future, they will be able to lend some money to boost their businesses. We appreciate Linn for the good work!
The Gunton’s team comprised of four couples including the winners of the 2016 Auburn fundraising dinner.
The team of 8 interacted with Kibera WEEP graduates and newly enrolled women. The women shared their accounts of resilience and the transformation that the WEEP program has brought to their lives. The team members encouraged the ladies through Scriptures and spent more time with them over lunch. Each lady was given a food basket to take back home. It is always a joy to interact with the women who benefit from HEART’s projects!
The team travelled and met WEEP women from Taita Upper and Lower. They listened to their stories and gave them food baskets. On Sunday, they visited the Christian Harvest Church-Sechu to experience a village church service and meet the community. This is the church where Dr. Vickie Winkler got the vision to start HEART! The Gunton’s team also spent time with 45 children of the Taita WEEP women. They played games, made crafts, read Bible stories and took pictures which they later printed for each child.
In Nairobi, Dennis and Barbara Luther met with 11 staff children whose education they support. The children expressed their gratitude to the Luther’s for supporting their education and promised to work hard to reach their goals. They wrote down their dreams and attached their photos. “We will post these in one of the rooms in our homes and pray for you,” said Dennis Luther. The children also gave thank you notes and gifts to Dennis and Barbara. Dennis and Barbara Luther urged the children to pursue their goals.
We thank the Gunton’s team for the gestures of love to the women and children.
Studies indicate that sexual maturation upsets the balance of both girls and boys and, consequently, impacts their education. However, menstruation further complicates the girl child’s challenges.
Sanitary wear is beyond the reach of many girls in Kenya because they are too expensive for either them or their guardians to afford. UNESCO estimates 1 in 10 African adolescent girls miss school during menses and eventually drop out.
The Rotary Club of Nairobi Gigiri teaming up with Flamingo Horticulture embarked on an ingenious idea of selling fresh roses and lilies weekly at the US Embassy, Kabete Kindergarten and Peponi School to raise funds to keep girls in school. In a colorful event at The Tribe Hotel, Nairobi, on 17 June 2016, President Tatiana Romero whose passion for the girl child drove her to initiate a fundraiser thorough a weekly flower sale at the US Embassy, Peponi School and Kabete Kindergarten, spoke of how heartbreaking it was for her when she first heard that girls in Kenya miss upto 5 days of school per month for lack of sanitary towels. She said further that the thought of girls sitting on soil and some using old rags to take care of their monthly period was the reason was she will continue the fundraiser to ensure that more and more girls are no longer missing school but are empowered because they are the future.
The Rotary Club of Nairobi Gigiri presented to Freedom for Girls (a sanitary towel project that was initiated and formed in the year 2006 by Rotary District 9212and Lions Multiple District 411A) Ksh. 450,000 ($4,500) to that will help keep 1,000 girls in school for yet another year and through the club President’s personal networks, 3 other possible partnerships raised an additional Ksh. 315,000 an equivalent of 700 girls! Mr. Thomas Frankum, on behalf of Flamingo Horticulture, the company that donates fresh lilies and roses every week said that his company believes that the girl child should be empowered to take up leadership roles and education will be the key to that empowerment. To receive the donation on behalf of HEART was Nicholas Kamatu, the Kenya Director of Operations, Isaac Mzee, Program Coordinator, Lydiah Njoroge, Freedom for Girls Program Manager who gave an overview of what Freedom for Girls is doing for the girls of Kenya and Mary Mwaura, the OVC Program Manager.
The Board of Trustees was represented by Pastor Elijah Wanje who thanked the Rotary Club of Nairobi Gigiri for bearing the burden of the Kenyan Girl Child. HEART will continue giving oversight to the weekly flower sale at the US Embassy to ensure that the fundraiser continues and that more girls are kept in school.
“Flicker of Hope: Empowered HIV+ Women of Kenya” is an uplifting short documentary about women who were saved from death by the USA and Kenyan-based humanitarian organization Health Education Africa Resource Team (HEART). The women are guided on a path to realize their own potential, become self-sufficient, and support their children. Empowered with a sense of purpose, they take control of their lives to make a generational impact on their families and communities.
Following each screening, there will be a Q&A with Filmmaker Hermon Farahi and Producer Matthew J. Van Sistine and handmade African items will be for sale in Henderson’s Lounge.
Tickets are $10 or $8 for DFS members. A drink ticket is included with each full priced ticket. Use the promo code STUDENT for a $5 discount for children and students. All ages are welcome. Film showings at 4:30 and 5:45. Tickets may be purchased at www.denverfilm.org
All proceeds from the event will benefit HEART.
Freedom for Girls (FFG) is delighted to announce it’s ‘new and improved’ brand of sanitary towels! This is as a result of feedback from our beneficiaries, partners and stakeholders. 2016’s goal is to reach 200,000 girls with a year supply of this better-quality sanitary towels, undergarments and health education to empower them to stay in school. Stabilize → Empower →Thrive!
HEART on Safari 2016
The HEART Board Cordially Invites you to Join us in
Celebrating HEART’s 16th Anniversary
Saturday, March 5, 2016, 5-9 PM
The Ridge Golf and Event Center
2020 Golf Course Rd Auburn, CA
To purchase your dinner tickets, please contact the California HEART Office. Online ticket purchasing has now closed.
California – 530-885-9600
In acknowledgement of the Freedom for Girls (FFG) project, HEART received a check donation of Kshs. 10,000 shillings from Lions Club Runda on July 24th 2013, at Lions Loresho Hospital. The donation was received during an auspicious event graced by the International president of Lions Club District 411A – Mr. Joe Preston. Ms. Lydiah Njoroge – field officer of FFG was invited to show case on the best practice of the project and to receive the cheque donation from Lions Club Runda. Lions District 411A is a partner in the sanitary towel project since 2008.
The money will aid in the purchase of a year’s supply of sanitary towels, 4 undergarments and health education pamphlets that will support 22 primary school girls. Without this support, many girls are absent upto five days of school a month due to lack of sanitary towels during their menstrual cycle. Lions Club Runda is enthusiastic about extending partnership with HEART and it was agreed that we would need to explore areas of partnerships to increase the awareness of the project.
Magdalene Nkaai’s story
The future looks blurry when you grow up in a family of 22 siblings, three mothers with only one father. The woman has no say in the Maasai community and the boy child is always given priority when resources need to be allocated. Growing up in a male chauvinistic society, Magdalene Nkaai was concerned that her desire of going to school would never succeed. She had witnessed many girls her age endure early marriage, sexual harassment, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and even discrimination in terms of access to education. Her mother, who is the second wife, has five children and Magdalene is the fourth-born. In 2006, when Magdalene was 10 years old, she went through the process of FGM. She knew the next thing would be she would be married off.
Fortunately, for Magdalene, the government of Kenya was offering free access to Primary School education and Magdalene grabbed this opportunity! Magdalene worked very hard while in Oldonyonyokie Primary School and managed to obtain 309 marks in her class 8 national examination. In a class of 7 girls, she was the only girl who aced her exams. “The rest all failed and most of them are married off or pregnant with many children.” as she reminisces.Magdalene Nkaai – extreme right posing with Evans Masese former HEART’s Kenya Director of Operations, a friend to Magdalene and Mary Mwaura, HEART’s OVC Program officer.
Magdalene’s other sisters dropped out of Primary School because of early pregnancy and the father married them off. Her brothers, on the other hand, also dropped out because they had family obligations. Nevertheless, this did not discourage Magdalene from working hard.
Magdalene’s father was quite impressed with her determination and decided to invest in her education. The father burnt and sold charcoal to raise money to send Magdalene to secondary school. However, this money was not sufficient. They decided to approach the local bursary fund for support, and she was fortunate to access some funds because of her exemplary work at school.
Magdalene was then admitted in Noonkopir Girls High School, but tuition fee was very high and the father could not afford to pay for her anymore. The father tried selling some of his goats, but the drought in Oldonyonyokie had prevailed. Being the apple of her father’s eye, he approached family members to fundraise money for Magdalene. However, money was limited and the family members had needs of their own.
HEART’s Intervention and Future Plans
In the year, 2013 Magdalene’s future looked dim and there seemed to be no hope of completing her secondary education. Money was scarce and her father thought it would be wise for her to drop out of school. Luckily, her primary school teacher, Patrick Sayianka, heard about her case and brought it forward to HEART. Through the support of Women Leader’s in Action (WLA), Magdalene was privileged to continue with her secondary school education. She obtained a grade of B- in her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2014. Magdalene is the only child out of the 22 siblings who has gone to school. She is indeed the pride of her family and the fact that she is a girl child! She would like to study for a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree. In the near future Magdalene would like to start her own business. Her desire is to mentor young girls in her community and support her siblings’ children in offering them a lifetime opportunity that she was offered and benefited from.
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