Category: Our Stories

Category: Our Stories

REACHING OUT TO OUR CHILDREN THROUGH EDUCATION FOR A BETTER BRIGHTER FUTURE

Through Fadhili Trust’s Watoto Wetu program, Brian Ouma, a 20- year old student in Form Four at a National school in Nairobi County is slowly nearing the realization of his dream of becoming a Civil Engineer. This is after Fadhili Trust identified an education need, sponsored his education from pre-primary, to primary and now he is in his last year of his secondary school education.

“I lost my father when I was only Five years old. My mother, who was and still is a cobler struggled to meet a seven-member family’s basic needs. Over the years, Fadhili Trust has become like our parents since all my siblings have either been sponsored or are being sponsored by the organisation. The organisation caters for our house rent, school fees, transport to school and even school pocket money and we are forever indebted,” says Brian, with his face beaming with joy.

Initially, Brian and his family lived in a one-roomed house in Kware slums of Ongata Rongai. Later on, the family had to be relocated to a three-roomed house since the mother was ailing from a lung disease and the children were more susceptible to infection. Most times, the eight (8) year old Brian at that time, went to school on an empty stomach and could not concentrate in class. Hunger made him stay out of class and truancy became his order of the day. He ganged up with three of his friends and resorted to stealing scrap metals, sell and buy food for themselves. He ran away from home, became a street-boy and could steal from established garages and break into shops. One day, they dared to sneak into a police station to steal scrap metals that were to be police exhibit, unfortunately, they were arrested and put into police custody, where Brian managed to escape. This was the day he considers his turning point. On his way out of the police station’s gate, Brian bumped into his mother who bundled him on her back, took him home to freshen up and later that day, walked up to Fadhili Trust office to seek for education assistance.

With his eyes welling up with tears, Brians interjects, “Trully, I was becoming wayward and the moment Ms.Josephine of Fadhili Trust suggested a primary boarding school in Kitengela, I was excited about it. At least I was assured of three meals and shelter everyday and chances of relapsing back to the streets were slimmer. My elder brother took me for an interview. Unfortunately, I performed dismally and was taken back to pre-primary, four classes behind. I scored 14 Marks out of the possible 500 marks. My class-teacher saw my potential while in Class One and focused on making me understand the subjects. I had an exemplary performance in Class One that the school made me skip a Class and joined Class Three. I kept performing outstandingly well and maintained an upward trajectory until I sat for my Kenya Certificate of  Primary Education (KCPE), where I emerged the top candidate in the school with 371 out of 500 marks,” he says with a radiant smile, lighting up his entire face with warmth and joy.

Brian, currently a Kenya Certificate of Secondary School (KCSE) candidate aspires to be a Civil Engineer. He has over the four years of secondary education maintained an outstanding performance of  between mean grade A- and C+ and even better grades in Mathematics, Physics and Geography. “School holidays are some of my dreaded days because am certain of going without food for days, the more reason I go looking for casual jobs to help ease my mother’s burden of providing food for us. On a good week, I used to make Kshs.2400, I give my mother Kshs.2000 and keep Kshs.400 for my use. However, now that I am a candidate, am forced to forego the casual jobs, stay at home to study and maximise the daylight, since we do not have power at night in our home, of which many days my siblings and I go to bed completely hungry. I am optimistic that I will perform well as I am putting the necessary effort towards it and achieve my goal of becoming an engineer, ultimately making myself, family and Fadhili Trust happy of my achievements,” adds Brian.

It costs KES 85,000 (USD 700) per year to sponsor a child like Brian to access secondary school education. Help us bring a lasting change to children and their families.

WATOTO WETU 

When we started Fadhili in 2001, we were responding to the need for home based care training for caregivers with terminally ill patients some of whom would finally pass on. Some of the deceased patients had relatives who were responsible enough to take over the welfare of the children but there were others who totally ignored the plight of the orphaned children. Every time we saw these freshly orphaned children, we felt helpless and we would often support them with food only. We kept telling ourselves that our focus was with the patients not the orphans; we were hesitant to get involved especially because we did not have enough resources to reach out to them. We prayed for God to help them while being the bystanders, watching what God would do.  (Sometimes God is just waiting for us to say, “Yes Lord, send me here I am”).

Such a time came in 2003, one morning when the Executive Director was walking in the Kware slums of Ongata Rongai and met a little 5-year-old boy who had recently become an orphan after the passing on of his mother. He had been sent away from kindergarten for school fees of USD 15. The little boy wondered why we had also stopped visiting their home. It was very difficult to tell the little boy the truth; that we were about home based care for the terminally ill and not the orphans. The Director felt convicted then that something had to be done about it and decided there and then to find funds to get the little boy back to school.

Thus started our education support project; quite spontaneously, without even writing a proposal, the Watoto Wetu project was born. Thereafter, one of Fadhili Trust board members raised funds for Watoto Wetu from the Kenya Electricity Generating company (KENGEN) which lasted for 9 years and in 2012, we met a well-wisher from Canada who has continued to provide funds for the children through DevExchange. To date 150 students have benefitted from this program and many of them have become successful in different fields.

 

HOW FADHILI TRUST HAS BOOSTED YIELDS THROUGH CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE IN KIBWEZI WEST

In Kenya, Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the lives of most farmers, especially within the rural settlements with approximately 70% of women in the sector relying on it. In its effort to support and sustain livelihoods, Fadhili Trust has continuously supported farmers by not only training them so that they can understand the benefits of growing more food and earning from their crops by transitioning from conventional farming methods to conservation agriculture but also linking them to markets for optimal profits.

“Conservation agriculture is a method of farming that emphasises minimal tillage, maximum soil cover and crop rotation. Fadhili Trust has introduced ways of land preparation, weeding, planting, harvesting and post-harvest food handling that are beneficial to farmers in the Makindu & Nguumo Wards of Makueni County.”

Fadhili Trust’s greater joy is farmers positively impacting each other

We work with farmer groups and individual farmers in Makindu and Ngumo wards by enlightening them on conservation agriculture that is mainly underpinned on three main principles:

  • 1.     Minimal soil disturbance; ensuring their soils are well protected
  • 2.     Permanent soil cover; using dry mulch
  • 3.  Crop diversification and rotation; coming up with ways through which we can improve soil fertility

Adaptation of new methods of farming can be slow especially because many farmers are used to conventional farming methods which have been practised for ages. However, once they see the difference in yields between conservation agriculture and conventional farming, they not only become convinced but also become proponents of Conservation Agriculture to other farmers. Fadhili will work with agricultural stakeholders to ensure that the expected standard practices are upheld throughout the area. During the last 3 years Fadhili has witnessed an increase in yields from season to season and more farmers transitioning from Conventional farming to Conservation Agriculture. Farmers are also making use of their membership in VSL groups to access loans to buy seedlings and farming tools. The number of spontaneous farmers is growing bey

Mr Johnstone Ndunda, a Field Extension Officer at Fadhili Trust believes that the organisation can do more to impact more farmers. “At the moment, we are covering two wards and we are only two field staff members to reach more farmers in the region and beyond, we need to do more. However, I can confidently say that we have achieved a lot. Looking at the number of farmers that are part of our village saving loan groups and practising conservation farming, it is evident that our food security project has been a big success.”

Fadhili Trust is appealing to more partners in order to multiply  to the whole of Kibwezi West and beyond. We look forward to working with suppliers and research organisations in identifying seed varieties and new technologies that farmers can use and implement respectively for greater progress!

 

Village Savings and Loans Associations

Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) are small (18-25 people to a maximum of 30) member managed community-based associations or groups that voluntarily contribute their own savings (no external capital) and provide loans to their members with interest. Basically, records are kept in each member’s passbook, a summary note book and members memorization.  VSLAs also contribute to a “Social Fund” to help members to take care of medical emergencies, funeral expenses, and other needs stipulated in their constitution.  The term ‘Savings Groups’ or SGs, for short, is increasingly being used as a generic description of these community-based financial entities such as VSLAs.

Fadhili Trust’s ultimate goal for VSLAs is self-management with regard to each group’s capacity to carry out their financial and other activities (saving, lending, social and other activities) on their own, without the supervision or assistance from the trainer (Field Officer or Village Agent).

A VSLA is expected to achieve self-management by the end of the first cycle.  A cycle is defined as the period between the time the group starts to save to the day of the Share-out.  Share-out or Action Audit is the activity where members share out their accumulated savings and profits.  According to Fadhili this may take nine 9 to 12 months.  It is possible that a group may require assistance beyond 12 months but Fadhili Trust usually promotes a “no more than 14 months’ supervision policy.  All groups are expected to be self-managed and graduate from supervision by the 14th month at the very latest.  The day the group starts to save again signals the start of the next cycle.  

VSL groups and business skills training has helped in providing avenues for loans to meet basic needs like purchase of food items, payment of medical bills, education of children, buy household and family assets, self-employment via accessing capital for initiating small businesses. The loans also help in meeting other household needs like supporting farming activities and acquiring farm inputs among others, cushioning the locals from engaging in environmentally detrimental activities for economic gain like sand harvesting, charcoal burning, deforestation, poaching and other social and environmental hazardous activities. This has indirectly helped in improving the local vegetation and forest cover. Many group members also have embarked on water harvesting and storage activities as they acquire loans to purchase water tanks, construct water ponds, hence improving water conservation efforts. Members also use loans to purchase solar power equipment thus migrating to clean, efficient and environmentally sound renewable energy.

The small businesses and income generating activities (IGAs) have greatly boosted the families of VSLA members by providing income and investment opportunities. Most members have one or two initiatives ranging from rope, baskets and mats making to small livestock rearing as well as water selling, food kiosks and small shops. The VSL methodology has proven to be a sustainable way of improving communities’ livelihood.

BEING THE CHURCH IN THE COMMUNITY

Church and Community Transformation (CCT) is a recent inclusion in Fadhili’s activities. It is aimed at encouraging the church and empowering it to be involved in transformational development in the community. It is meant to get the church to be actively involved in the needs of its congregants and community while also taking care of the environment.  The CCT program has foundational mindset change approaches based on the Scripture.

The program is being implemented in Makueni county, Kibwezi-West sub-county, specifically Nguumo and Makindu ward.  As the Fadhili Trust staff were working with the community, they noted that there was a need to incorporate the church in implementing its work in Makueni county. This led to the introduction of the Church and Community Transformation (CCT) program. 

CCT promotes the restoration of the broken relationships with God, self, others and creation. It is meant to challenge certain mindsets that encourage poverty amongst community members.  CCT is implemented by use of Biblical teachings that enhance sacrificial living and shuns selfishness (2 Corinthians 9:11) 

The main goal of CCT is to promote the integration of Word and deed in ministry (James 2:14-17) . The objectives are to motivate and empower the church to get involved in the community by helping people identify and address their needs with the available resources, promote the involvement of the church in healing relationships and encourage the church to be part of restoration of dignity to the brokenhearted who are also created in the image of God. The project is currently working with 34 churches having trained over members to steer the program in the different churches.

Eugene’s story

Eugene is the second born of four. His parents are small scale farmers at their home in Siaya County. Both parents are living with chronic illnesses. His father recently lost one of his eyes to cancer. Their condition has made it difficult for them to maximumly fend for the family. By staying at home due to lack of school fees, the first-born daughter became idle and succumbed to peer pressure and got married at a tender age.

Fadhili met Eugene through a community health worker in Rongai who referred him for school fee support in 2018 while he was joining form two in Kisumu day high school. The parents sold all they had to enroll him in form one but still, the fee was not fully paid up. He would be sent home often for school fee which the parents could not afford.

Eugene has been under school fee support from Fadhili since then. He sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in 2021 and scored a C. He intends to study law and hopes that he gets the opportunity.

Nurturing our feature leaders through education

Christine joined Fadhili’s Trust Watoto Wetu while in primary school – class 8 in 2014. She is living with disability after losing one arm to an accident she was involved in while traveling to their rural home in Kisii with the mother. She has since embraced her condition positively and even participates in sports like football, athletics and hockey. She has managed to participate up to the national level which is the highest competition levels and was awarded for being a good athlete. Christine stays with her mother who is unemployed and is unable to do heavy chores due to the injury she got on her spinal cord during the accident they were involved in. The father disappeared soon after the accident abandoning both Christine and the mother at the hospital. The younger siblings were abandoned in a rental house with no one to take care of them. They were later taken in by neighbors and good Samaritans. They incurred a huge hospital bill with no one to pay. The maternal family sold a few animals they had to raise the money to offset the bill but it was not enough. Eventually, the government through the hospital social worker waived the cost and they were discharged after 2 years in hospital. This situation makes it hard for the family of five to have basic needs like food, shelter and education.

Christine at home with the family

With the support from Fadhili Trust, she joined Thika school for the disabled in 2015 for her high school where she scored C-. Christine is currently training as an ECD teacher majoring in special education at PCEA Rubate teachers training college-Chuka. She is in her first year and hoping to change the living standards of her family being the first born.

Vallery Achieng

Vallary is the third born in a family of eight. The father passed on many years ago when she was still young. Her mother is a cobbler in Ongata Rongai. The income that the mother gets from the business is hardly enough for food leave alone other basic needs. This makes it hard for the family to make ends meet in terms of paying rent, school fee and other basic needs.

Fadhili met the family in 2009 during one of the home-based care visits to patients living with chronic illnesses. The family was living in a single room house which was meant to be a land caretaker’s house as the owner of the land was not staying within. The room was tiny, very squeezed and could not fit them at night. This then meant the mother would have to share the bed with two girls, then the other two girls-who are twins would sleep under the bed, one brother, Brian on the couch and the two elder boys would sleep in the unfinished house that had no roof. During rainy seasons, they would cover their room with a polythene paper and sleep. They endured all these since they could not afford rent in a better house. A well-wisher came to their aid and rented a better place of three rooms for them. Later when the well-wishers were unable to pay due to financial constraints, Fadhili begun supporting them in paying the rent and school fee for the children.

Vallary (squatting)and siblings in their current home

Vallary’s mother on previous home-one room

 

Due to the challenges of food, shelter and other basic needs, Fadhili took Vallary and her four siblings to a government boarding primary school so that they could get regular meals, shelter as well as education. This move helped to relieve the mother a little bit. Meanwhile the eldest was also catered for in high school.

Vallary has been working hard in school despite the challenges at home. She was the best in the  national primary exam in her school (KCPE) having score 396 marks out of 500 marks in 2016. She was called to Limuru Girls High school which is a national government school based in Kiambu county where she finished her form four in 2021 April (would be 2020 if not for covid 19). She scored a B- in the final exams expecting to join university in September 2021 with hopes of improving their livelihoods.