In the few months since we moved into our completed Phase I Home, we have celebrated having a safe and comfortable place for our girls to live and thrive. At first our program director Norah found it challenging to get the girls back into their normal routine when having a place to finally play outside was just too tempting. Instead of immediately taking off their socks and washing them when they returned home from school, the girls found multiple other ways to spend their time, including getting dirty.
Now, once their chores are done, which includes washing their shoes and socks every day, the girls love playing outside. Favorite activities are jumping rope and playing multiple games with a soccer ball. This simply was not possible in the old apartment. After playing, the girls begin taking showers and doing their homework before dinner. The familiar structured routine has returned.
One of the children has planted a small shamba (garden) with maize and greens. Having one’s own garden is a deeply rooted tradition in Kenya. However, our property is too small to have a garden big enough to provide food.
In late July all Kenya school classes were opened for the first time since March 2020. The government had staggered the reopening of classes during Covid. All our girls are finally back in the classroom. This allowed our youngest girl, Ann, to graduate from nursery school to Grade I with all the pomp and celebration such an event should have.
The benefit for all the girls was the graduation cake and treats.
Buoyed by the overwhelming success of Phase I, we are diligently fundraising for Phase II – the construction of our three-story Community Resource Center. The need to increase our capacity to house, educate, and provide counseling to young survivors of gender-based violence is daunting. We constantly have to deny this care to vulnerable girls in the community.
Our Boards of Directors in the US and Kenya have approved a plan to begin a phased construction of the Center as soon as funds are available, hopefully by early 2022. This plan would complete the ground floor and the skeletons of the two remaining top floors, a common approach in Kenya. The second floor will eventually house and expand our girls’ program and the third floor will house our program director and family. The completed ground floor will have a commercial kitchen, dining room, meeting spaces, dispensary, therapy room, library, laundry, and toilets. This will allow us to host our afterschool program and community meetings; give our girls more room to study; have a private, designated place for counseling; and expand our program for fistula survivors.
Ideally, we would have enough funds to complete the top two floors at the same time the ground floor is completed. It would definitely be cheaper and less disruptive. But, the advantage of having a completed ground floor is more important, and we will start there if necessary.
We are having two fundraising events for the building this month. An online auction October 9 – 16 and a one-hour virtual fundraising benefit on October 16th. Information about both can be found at: https://www.quiltsforempowerment.org/fall-benefit. The benefit, which is 2- 3 PM PST in the US features a video welcome from two-time Pulitzer Prize author and advocate for fistula, Nicholas Kristof.
Thank you so much for your continued support of the girls and women in our programs as they improve their lives. We appreciate your generosity through GlobalGiving and look forward to sharing more updates on our resilient QFE participants.
A natural part of childhood is playing in the dirt
One of our girls planted a small shamba (garden)
Happy graduation, Ann!