It’s wonderful to be back after such a long time due to the pandemic.

I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since my last trip to Kenya. After being here for three weeks, I feel as if it was just yesterday that I was last here. The first week was busy with staff meetings and updates. But all in all, they did a great job of running the project exactly how I would want things done if I had returned every three months, which was my usual schedule pre-COVID. We now have 27 students living with us. All are the sweetest girls, eager to learn and very grateful for the opportunity to learn a trade. Each has a different story of coming from a very tough childhood of extreme poverty.
This group is very focused on gaining as much skill and knowledge as possible, getting up at five a.m. to make breakfast and finish their morning duties, then working at their sewing machines way ahead of the beginning of the 8 a.m. class, finishing their beginner assignments with great enthusiasm and pride.
One of the reasons for their passion and enthusiasm was the inspirational talk they received during a recent visit from one of our former graduates, Mary, who shared her story of challenges, hard work, and finally, huge success after graduating in June 2020.
Mary completed her high school level in 2018. Due to a lack of finances, the idea of a college education was not an option. She started helping her parents on their small farm so that they could pay school fees for her younger siblings. After a few months, she got a job as a house help and continued to support her parents with the fees. She later heard about the free training courses offered at the Springs of Hope Foundation from one of the village elders through the women’s representative office in her area and quickly applied for the opportunity to be accepted into the course.
Whilst at Springs of Hope Foundation, she acquired leadership skills and was given the position of senior prefect, a responsibility she performed exceptionally well. Upon graduation, Mary received a three-month, unpaid attachment to Daraja 316 where she sharpened her skills in efficiency, quality, customer relationship, and speed. After her attachment period, Mary took a job in a butcher shop, with long hours and low pay, in order to survive and pay her rent in Nakuru town. Determined to become successful and not be forced to return to her rural village, Mary went door to door to every tailoring shop and garment factory in town, handing out her CV during her off time.Learning how to design and stitch both curtains and clothes during her training, she got a job at one of the best curtain shops in Nakuru city, where she receives a good salary. She is also able to market her products online, afford a comfortable house, and pay for her younger brother’s expenses while in college. Mary has plans to open her own workshop where she can employ two girls to stitch curtains and clothes on commission. She has already saved enough to buy her own industrial electric sewing machine and equipment and is building up her own business. These were her touching words as she completed telling her story to our current class of young women. “After I received the training, I felt empowered and happy. I can now afford a good life; I have confidence and believe in myself.” “I would not be where I am if it were not for the seed patiently sown in me, which is already bearing fruit. Thank you for your love, support and dedication.”