by Hemed Jumma
A chance visit to The Good Life Orphanage by Amanda & David Hampton with Nico in early 2012 was the start of a very special friendship and a donation that continues to change the lives of so many. When The Fallon Family, having heard about our project from Amanda, donated the funds to build our Technical Block we could never have envisaged the impact it would have in the whole surrounding area. The sewing department has continued to flourish as it provides another chance to young girls who for different reasons did not make it to high school or who have had to drop out of school.
The community members are very grateful for this project as such girls are very vulnerable, for most an early marriage is the one option they are forced to choose once the family see no hopes of proceeding with their academics. The last group of girls we had last year made us proud as they all passed their practical examination and are now qualified seamstresses.
This year, we have a group of twelve girls who all have different stories about their lives and are all grateful for the opportunity they now have. Mr. Kahindi, their tutor always motivates them to work hard regardless of their family background. The girls who are highly skilful and creative get a first-hand opportunity to work with Valentine & Simon in the adjoining sewing room once they finish their apprenticeship.
We are inundated with girls each January asking to join the classes and as always, we do home assessment to ascertain the background of each of the girls who join our sewing project to ensure the most suitable girls are given a chance to change their lives.
Here is the background of two of the girls who were chosen, Anna & Faith:
My name is Anna J. Iha. I am 17 years old and eighth born in a family of nine children. I come from a village called Mwatundo in Mtepeni ward. I finished class 8 in 2015 and scored 259 Marks. I got a calling letter to join Golini secondary school which is found in Kwale County. My parents went up and down to ensure I join this school. I successfully finished form one and two and this year, I was going to form three but was forced to drop out of school because my parents couldn’t raise more money to cater for my school fees. It was a big blow to my dreams and I felt hopeless in life. I stayed at home feeling depressed.
Then one day, I talked to one of the girls whom we come from the same village and she told me there was a free sewing college at the good life orphanage. I straight away informed my mother about this and she accepted to accompany me to see the office. I didn’t even think that it was going to be a new beginning.
After talking to the manager Mercy and being assessed, I got an opportunity to train here. I am happy that I got this opportunity and I am determined to become the best tailor so that I help my ageing parents and my family in the future. It’s my hope that after my training, I will be able to earn a good salary and have a good standard in my life. Thank you all for this opportunity.
My name is Faith Kwekwe Gambo. I am a young lady of 18 years old. I live in Mtepeni near Mtepeni primary school. I come from a family of eight members and I am the second born child. I went to Kidutani Primary school and did my KCPE exam in 2016. I scored average marks which enabled me to get a calling letter to join high school but due to the financial problems at home, I was not lucky to proceed.
My father suffers from mental illness hence he can’t do any job. Sadly his problems started soon after he married my mother and got the first born child, it was on and off but for the last four years it has worsened. We all rely on our mother to meet our daily needs. My mother works as a caretaker of a certain farm in Mtepeni where we are also accommodated. During my free time, I always help her doing some of the farm work.
After all the hopes of joining high school faded, my mother and I had a lengthy talk on what I should do in life and later agreed that we try if I can join a college to learn to be a tailor. We were aware that The Good Life Orphanage was offering such training in their new block so my mother went to look for a chance.
I thank God I got lucky to start training at the beginning of this term in January. My aspiration is to get equipped with the necessary skills and do well in my final exams. I always pray to God to bless the work of my hands and I believe these skills will bring success in my life. I am very grateful for this opportunity and I know God will bless you more for giving us a new hope.