Martha is an ECD teacher living in Kilifi. As a mother of four she runs a charcoal business to sustain her family. Kesho supports one of her children in Secondary School. She is also an active member of Makinika group (cluster group established with the support of Kesho in 2014).
How did you get to know Kesho? When? What is your relationship with Kesho?
In 2011, my husband had an accident and all our savings, which were meant for school fees, were used for his medical treatment. I was looking around for assistance to ensure that my children can continue going to school and the chief directed me to Kesho. We went through the application process, interviews and we were successful, my son then had gotten an admission letter to Moi Forces Secondary, Nairobi.
Kesho has assisted not only through the sponsorship but also by giving legal advise, skills in the area of child protection and business management.
How did you come up with your business idea? How is your business doing?
I have been running a charcoal business for a year now and can say it is successful.
Though I am working as an ECD teacher I have to generate additional income to sustain my family since my husband cannot work anymore after his accident. I used to run a small restaurant but it was not very successful; mainly because of being a teacher, I could not be present at the business site and monitoring it was a challenge. I decided to venture into the charcoal business, which I can easily manage besides my teacher job. I started with 10 bags, and then I got a loan from Makinika Group and expanded to 44 bags. I only sell in bulk; mostly to restaurants and so far it is doing well though the business is still young but I hope to reinvest most of the profit to help expand it.
Of course I am also facing challenges like poor quality of charcoal or customers who don’t pay on time. However that additional income gives me the chance to sustain my family and to pay school fees for three of our four children.
Martha presenting her stock of charcoal bags
What are the benefits of being part of Makinika group?
There are a number of benefits I get from the group. For instance, the table banking gives me the opportunity to save as well as to get loans. Last year we introduced a ‘food merry-go-round’, (sugar, maize flour and wheat flour) which has been of great support for my family and I. I learnt about business management and my knowledge on child protection has been increased.
What do you advise other women entrepreneurs?
As a woman you have many tasks, don’t give up and trust in your God. Never ignore opportunities especially when people offer to support you. Look ahead and always continue taking steps forward.
Charcoal ready to be sold
Every school holiday all Kesho sponsored students come for an interview to the Kesho office. Other than evaluating their academic performance we also give guidance and support where required. In order to have quality time with each student we engage a number of volunteers who assist us with those interviews.
Let’s hear what they have to say:
Amina Omar, 2nd Year Moi University
“I find it very interesting to do these interviews because I get to meet many students with different personalities. Some may have weaknesses in specific subjects and here is where I come in to encourage them and together figure out how to improve.”
Kesho Alumni, awaiting to join university next year
“It’s the second time I am assisting with the end of term interviews. The students share their wishes and goals; and it was interesting to hear that a number of the children aspire to be doctors. I like helping children dream and set realistic goals”
Trained and experienced ECD teacher
“I have a passion for children and have been assisting with end of term interviews for 8 years. This has given me the chance to see children grow and experiencing the journey through Kesho is just wonderful.”
JUSTIN MWALIMU PONDA
3rd year student at Pwani University
“Education is my passion; I like interacting with children. Through these interviews, I get experience in my area of study. Most importantly I get insights into the student’s life, like their interests, struggles etc. hence share my experiences to motivate them as I can identify with most of these issues.”
Trained and experienced Accountant
“This exercise is very interactive, I like that. I get to know more about the students and it is interesting to see how things have changed since my school days. It also gives me the opportunity to advise the students on various social and academic issues.”
It has been quite a journey for Kesho Edutainment members.
The endurance and commitment has been awarded. Kesho Edutainment youths were 3rd overall at the Youth Extravaganza held in Malindi Cleopatra Hall and were awarded KSH 10,000 voucher.
That was not all, the best male actor award was also clinched by a Kesho Edutainment member and a trophy to show for it.
The joy and price of the members is with no doubt worth it all considering it was their first attempt in competing. The experience, friendship and memories forever etched in their minds.
Last week we hosted 12 teachers from 8 different schools from Kilifi County for a 2-day workshop on ‘Alternative approaches to Discipline’.
Corporal punishment was banned in 2006, further it was enshrined in various legal instruments such as Constitution of Kenya, 2010 (Art 53, ”Protection from child abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, forms of violence, inhuman treatment &punishment, hazardous & exploitative labour”). The reality shows that it has never been fully implemented. One of the factors is that not all teachers are equipped with knowledge on the variety of alternative approaches to disciplines.
The workshop program included information and inputs to understanding development needs in children, fostering positive behavior through teacher learner healthy relationship, how to handle children with different capabilities, legal and policy framework on child safeguarding and approaches of positive discipline.
Mrs. Dorothy Randu, Chief Education Officer, Kilifi County
Charity Kaluki, Program Officer, Basic Education
The workshop also provided a platform for the teachers to share their experiences in regards to the workshop topic as well as the progress on the introduction of the school safeguarding policy.
Ms. Isabel Mwangi, Program Officer, Child Protection & Family Support
Mr. Evans Odhiambo,CEO Kesho Kenya
A big thank you to all facilitators for all their inputs and participants for their valuable contribution and active participation.
Creating safe spaces children is of utmost importance and that we can only achieve if we uphold their rights.
CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
“The experience was really amazing”
Lemic Ngalla (24 years) was invited by Segal Family Foundation to attend their annual partners meeting (10th to 13th of August) in Kampala. An event that brings together partners to network, celebrate and learn.
Although I had a long and tiresome flight through Ethiopia, my expectations were much greater than the fatigue. There were over 100 organizations and about 200 participants. It was a great learning experience through the interaction and networking with different people. The speeches carried a strong message particularly to the youth and youth led organisations, which I will be sharing with members of Kesho Alumni and GYEA.
The conference was graced with the presence of Graca Machel (wife to the late Nelson Mandela), Emmanuel Jal (a Sudanese artist, global peace advocate, former child soldier and war survivor), Eddy Kenzo (Ugandan Musician and former street child), I got an opportunity to meet them and hold conversation on the power that lies within the youth to bring about positive change.
The Yellow Track (Youth Delegates) sessions were both educative and enjoyable. I had the opportunity to interact with over 20 youth from Africa who are passionate about global change for achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). We visited RAHU (ReachA Hand Uganda) a youth led organisation which uses different strategies such as art to pass Sexual Reproductive Health awareness to youth in Uganda. I noted that youth delegates present were addressing similar problems to the youth in Kilifi and this provided a platform to discuss solutions and best practice.
We celebrated the International Youth Day which was on 11th, August in style. The whole conference was chaired and presided over by the youth delegates. I chaired a group of about 20 people from different countries. The topic of discussion was Teenage Pregnancies in Kilifi with reference to other countries/counties represented by the participants. My summary statement was #Child Pregnancy Is Not Cool.
I must also say that I really enjoyed the dinners at the resort, dance and performances by musicians from Uganda. The food was really nice and I enjoyed the buffet. The experience was definitely worth the long and tiresome flight. Thank you Kesho for making it happen.
Lemic is the current Kesho Alumni Chairman. He was supported by Kesho through Secondary School and then worked at Kesho as a graduate assistant during his gap year. In 2015 he graduated with a 1st Class degree from Maseno University and works now at Upendo Orphan Support Group as assistant administrator. He founded a social enterprise GYEA; running a youth football team to empower and mentor young children form his village.
All that made Lemic the perfect Kesho youth representative during the SFF annual meeting.
THANK YOU LEMIC for representing KESHO KENYA so well during the #SFF2016 in Uganda.