On February 6th 2012, HCMO launched a pilot training program at the Kamiti Maximum Prisons. This training is facilitated by Father’s Hand Training Institute which was also founded by the HCMO director. Following the launch, a total of 50 inmates from Kamiti Maximum Prison received diploma’s after graduating from a year’s training on the 26th of October, 2012.
This year, HCMO expects to double the number of inmates receiving training and mentoring, and expects to receive positive reports of improved inmate behaviour from welfare officers. An investment of $100.00 per inmate will enable an inmate to receive training for a year; this is inclusive of writing books, pens, printing of course outlines, and transportation for trainers.
JITAHIDI WOMEN’S GROUP
The Jitahidi Women’s Group consists of over 20 women who all live in Kibera slums. The needs in this group differ, but they are all pressing and call for immediate action. Some of the women are HIV positive, many are single parents and in need of critical financial help. HCMO currently works with the women in this group to help grow their small scale businesses into a sustainable business.
Sharon is an orphan who is on her way to successful completion of high-school. Sharon was living with her mother (who was sickly) when HCMO identified her. She was in attendance at a questionable private primary school which was eventually shut down. While attending the primary school, she was sent home on numerous occasions due to a lack of funds to pay for basic tuition.
HCMO took the opportunity to intervene in Sharon’s education and found a school where she could complete her final year of primary under HCMO’s sponsorship. After completing primary school, HCMO decided to go all the way and support Sharon through High School. Sharon is now in her last year of high school and will complete her studies in December 2013.
Nancy is the daughter of one of HCMO’s beneficiaries. Nancy’s family fell victim to the Kenya 2008 election clashes and were classified as internally displaced persons (IDP). Privy to the clashes, the family lived in an area dominated by the Luo tribe. During the clashes, the Luo and Kikuyu were at odds against each other. Because Nancy’s family was from the Kikuyu tribe, they were asked to leave the area immediately (they were grateful that their lives were spared). Miraculously, a random passerby with a truck offered to help carry their belongings in his truck and carry the family till they would find a place dominated by the Kikuyu tribe. At this point, Nancy’s mother did not have any money to pay for the man who helped the family find a place to live.
When HCMO identified Nancy’s family, Nancy was in her first year of high school but had been sent home on several occasions due to lack of funding for tuition. As a result, she had missed several classes and important examinations.
HCMO decided to financially support Nancy through high school; upon her completion of high school, HCMO assisted her through a post-high school course on basic computer skills while she figured out which career she wanted to pursue. Presently, Nancy has decided that she would like to pursue professional catering and she awaits responses from institutions she has applied to.
Winnie Atieno is a 21 year old orphan struggling to continue with her education. After the loss of her mother at the tender age of 6, Winnie and her siblings heavily depended on their father for their daily bread. Unfortunately, her father succumbed to pneumonia and passed on shortly in the year 2006.
“I was very close to my father; when he died, so did my hope,” Winnie remarked. She felt as if her dreams were immediately paralyzed. The finances in her home were now strained to the point that, as a family of siblings, they struggled to provide for their basic needs, let alone her education.
Winnie believes HCMO is God sent. Her eyes lighten up when she describes how Ms. Margaret Apudo took her in as a daughter and gave her a new perspective to life. Now, she is determined to go to college to study Early Childhood, and she is motivated to empower other young children to change their destiny of destitution: “Wacha wajue maisha hubadilika! [(let them know that their lives can change!)]” she stated.
HCMO enabled a woman from the slums who had basic hair-dressing skills to start a successful hair-dressing business. HCMO’s CEO, Margaret, usually has her hair braided at salons based in slum areas in order to promote the work of women entrepreneurs in the slums. At the particular salon she was visiting, she noticed a hair dresser assistant that worked very well but was barely earning enough money for her upkeep; her name was Damaris. Damaris is a single mother with one daughter living in the Kibera slums.
Margaret asked Damaris to a meeting in order to gather more information about her future plans. Damaris responded that she would like to own a hair salon but lacked capital and equipment. Margaret went on to inquire whether Damaris knew of a facility where the business could start. Damaris mentioned that there was an empty shop not too far from where she lived. In response to Damaris’ need, HCMO mobilized individuals who would have their hair braided by Damaris.
As a result, Damaris managed to raise enough money to pay rent for the first month as well as buy some essential hair-dressing equipment. Further, HCMO funded the cost of electrical wiring connection for her shop. Damaris now owns a successful business and has been able to hire 3 assistants to help her with her business.
Loice Emera is a young single mother with an 8 month old son. She currently lives in a one room structure in Kibera slums, one of the largest slums in Africa. Her partner forsook her when the baby was 2 weeks old and his family threw her out of the home. She was left to fend for the baby and herself with no job or any support. On many occasions she has faced hungry days and nights, and each day is a struggle to make it through. Due to the insanitary conditions in the slums, Loice contracted a severe infection on her thumb. As Loice did not have the money for treatments, she suffered weeks of sleepless nights due to the pain that came from the infection.
Loice was in a desperate situation when her need reached the attention of HCMO. She was immediately taken to a clinic where the infection was removed and treated. Furthermore, HCMO stepped in to find out how it could empower her financially. Loice showed the ability to do well in the charcoal business. HCMO was able to buy her one sack of charcoal and was also able to provide her with extra funds to meet pressing needs that were facing her.
Today Loice is selling 3 sacks of charcoal and is now able to put food on the table, plus meet the basic needs of the home.
Winnie Wanjiku is a single mother with two children. Winnie’s daughter is currently in a boarding high school; however, she has been sent home many times due to a lack of funds for tuition. As a result, she has missed several classes and important exams (see Nancy Mukiri’s success story above).
At one point Winnie suffered from typhoid, amoeba, and severe fungal infection simultaneously. For many weeks she had no choice but to put up with severe stomach aches and frequent fainting as she had no money for any treatment. Help Child/Mother Organization (HCMO) was informed about her situation and took immediate action, the costs of medical tests and treatments were covered.
Today, Winnie is a healthy woman, instead of another statistic that dies from treatable diseases.HCMO went further to assist her financially. They discovered that Winnie had the ability to make liquid soap which she could sell in order to generate income. HCMO was able to donate funds to purchase all the chemicals needed to make a large quantity of soap. (Picture: Winnie holds a cheque from HCMO). Today Winnie’s soap business is successful and continues to grow.
Lydia Akinyi Ochula, a widow, owns a small business which involves selling fruits and vegetables on the street. She has four children of her own and one adopted child. Three of her children have completed their O-levels while her last born, Merab, is still in high school. The profit made from a days sale is usually just enough to put food on the table, and hardly anything more. Many women, like mama Merab, sell fruits and vegetables on the street without a legal permit because they cannot afford to rent a kiosk. She often has to abandon her fruits and vegetables in order to escape the heavy fines from the city council. She struggles constantly with rent for her home and school fees for Merab; threats from her landlord have become the norm, while Merab is often sent home from school due to a lack of fees.
HCMO was able to contribute towards her rent and her daughter’s school fees on a couple of occasions. HCMO was also able to help her with capital that would allow her to buy more fruits and vegetables to sell.
This dear old woman you see in the picture, lives with her daughter, her daughter’s child (see picture), and her son. They live in a tiny, one room wooden structure with no toilet, kitchen, or sitting room. The family has no beds to sleep on; instead, they pile a bunch of clothes to use in place of a bed. Those who can not fit on the pile of clothes sleep on a mat. Every night the cold breeze bites the little comfort they have, while mosquitoes swarm the room through spaces between the wooden planks. As if the situation is not already dire, the family was behind in rent for 7 months, and threats to kick them out were constantly on their door. HCMO was able to pay the 7 month rent due and was also able to donate extra funds to assist the family’s basic needs. More donor support would allow HCMO to facilitate for a more sustainable source of income.