Phoebe and Sandra meet the first Lady (centre) and her Team
In 2016 Louise Berrington, my friend & travelling companion and I left Kenya on a mission to start a sewing academy and to provide sanitary wear for as many girls and women as possible. When we visited in February of this year we stood in the sewing school and met our first students and now we are making and distributing sanitary kits to as many women and girls as possible.
This is a dream come true and the implications run wide and deep. Less girls will drop out of school, more women can be employed as they will not have to stay at home for one week out of every month. The kits will mean the recipients will not endanger their health by using contaminated matter like old leaves and newspapers. These girls and women will feel more valued and above all we have dignified menstruation, it is just part of the wonderful things women’s bodies do.
We could not have achieved this without the support of the first Lady of Siaya county, or all of the donators in the UK. Rotary clubs in District 1110 have made an enormous difference to this campaign and they continue to support the work we do in Kenya.
I also have to mention the Ichthus Charity Shop in Totton, we could not have done this without you. Hand in Hand with Ichthus is the New Forest Community Church who have been and still are stalwart supporters. There are many more individuals who have supported this campaign and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. These kits are life changing and YOU have been a part of this.
Receiving the first material from the local Government
The very first pouches containing the sanitary towels
These Kits are being made and distributed by the Great Lake team in Bondo. Our thanks to all involved especially the First Lady of Siaya County
Thanks to Lynn’s girls for making the UK version of the kit
President of Bournemouth Rotary with Sandra Lewis. Bournemouth have been great supporters of our Sewing Academy
Jo Shannon from Tools For Self-Reliance and Sandra Lewis what a partnership.
This time last weekend three of the team at Phoebe’s Family where in the House of Friendship at the Rotary District 1110 Conference.
It was held on the beautiful Island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands. It was a well attended conference and we were pleased with the interest that the Rotary Club in this district showed in our charity work in Kenya.
We were stationed next to our dear friends and partners Tools For Self Reliance, (TFSR) and this added to the experience for us, as we could talk about the Sewing Academy in Kisumu that we have opened with help from TFSR.
We had so much we could have shared at this conference but we settled on the Sewing Academy, the washable sanitary kits and our chicken farm.
Our thanks to all those wonderful people who supported us and our thanks also goes to the Rotary team who organised such a great Conference. Some names to mention, DG Alan Smith Conference organiser Mike Smith, Registrar Debbie Dunford and Mary Pike who worked tirelessly to make every thing run smoothly.
The added bonus for us this year was the 14 Locks Heath Rotarians who attended the conference and we gave fellowship a whole new meaning.
Three trustees at the conference 2018
One of the great things about running a charity is that it brings to together with wonderful people. Well I have never met “Lynnes Girls”, they are a group of ladies that sew. They took it upon themselves to sew for our SEW FOR ME campaign and sewed an enormous amount of sanitary kits for our girls and women in Kenya. So this is a very public thank you to your amazing contribution. Women here helping women and girls that they will never meet, isn’t this the best of humanity. When people start moaning about the state of things I smile and think of Lynnes Girls, and I know there are lots of wonderful people in the world we just need to make sure we see the good that is everywhere.
Packing the sanitary kits to ship to Kenya
Volunteer Jackie makes up and packs this beautiful kits
The Pouches containing the sanitary towels
Making sure we get the best use of the materials
During our trip in February 2018 we were able to distribute sanitary kits for the girls and women of the orphanage and sewing academy, made by volunteers in the U.K..
It has always been a vision of Bishop Phoebe and Phoebe’s Family supporters to make these kits in country.
We were asked by Siaya County’s First Lady to attend a meeting to discuss this project. All the attendees were enthusiastic but it was hard to see how it would be funded. Well the first Lady true to her word has found the money to start the production of our washable sanitary wear. She is providing materials and some wages for the people who are making the kits.
This is a huge step in the right direction of dignity for the girls and women of Kenya and it starts a healthy open attitude to menstruation.
Our washable sanitary wear means girls will not drop out of school, women can stay at work and we are not creating toxic waste.
So “THANK YOU” to the first Lady and her husband and we will watch as this project unfolds. if you would like to know more about our work please contact us on email@example.com .
Phoebe and Sandra meet the first Lady (centre) and her staff
receiving the first material
Moving the sewing academy will bring us closer to financial independence.
In the effort to make our sewing academy sustainable we have moved it to one of the buildings on the Bondo Farm.
We will need to make a few alterations but it will save the annual rent. This is all working towards the financial independence of the Sewing Academy. Lets meet some of our lovely students. You can contribute to this project by contacting us through this website, all donations are appreciated and all the money is used in Kenya. You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more detailed information.
David is our only male student so far
Say Hallo to Eunice
This is Femia
We are so proud to announce that we have sponsored Paul Ochieng through his first year at Agricultural College in Nairobi. Paul will be studying for 3 years and then we hope he will take over the management of the Farm at Bondo working side by side with his amazing Mother Bishop Phoebe. The farm is a very important part of the sustainability plan for the Orphanage and schools. Selling produce will help pay the bills. Bishop Phoebe has so much to do having Paul and his new found knowledge will be an enormous help to her. The farm is being planned very carefully, our current campaign is to buy 200 Mango saplings at only £2 each perhaps you could help contact us through this website and buy a Mango tree that will provide finance for the orphanage and schools. We will keep you up to date with Paul’s progress. Contact us for more information on email@example.com
These watermelons will make a profit for the farm
Paul is looking forward to his time in Nairobi he is our first sponsored student
Young Sam the little boy we sponsor helps on the farm at the weekends and holidays he is only 6 years old but loves to help with the butternut squash harvest
In 2016 we returned from our visit with a dream and a mission, to build a sewing school and to access sanitary wear for the women of Kenya.
To go there this year and stand in the middle of our Dream was amazing, thanks to the great work of our team in Kisumu and Bondo.
We were greeted with love, respect,dancing and singing, an out pouring of joy and hope from our students.
We talk to the students and heard their stories, some are heartbreaking. We show them the sanitary kits that they will receive and tell them we they will each have a kit. They were over joyed and there is more Dancing and singing.
The students will, take their exam in November of this year so we look at the work. We identify the students who will need more help. The staff are there to help the students succeed.
We could not do any of this without our Partner Tools For Self -Reliance. Thank you for everything you do Jo and Sarah and the Netley team.
Meeting the students for the first time
Some of the students bring their children, we need a playpen
Freya holds up trousers David has made
On the 10th of February this year Becky Sutton, Freya Nicholson (both Trustees) and I left Heathrow Airport bound for Kisumu Kenya. This was a first for Becky and Freya and there was much excitement.
We took 9 cases packed with things for the orphanage, schools and the Sewing Academy .
We were welcomed by a beautiful Nairobi sunrise and we flew on to Kisumu where we were welcomes by the Women and members of the Great Lake Foundation. Meeting old friends and making new ones is always exciting but also overwhelming.
Then on to the hotel to settle in and then on to meet PHOEBE and her wonderful family at the church in Kisumu. We had a tight schedule but spending time with these amazing women and children is what our visit was all about.
Then we met up with the Bishops who support Bishop PHOEBE and we were able to give Tunu Phoebe’s Grand daughter the shoes we had brought for her, thankfully they fitted and I think she wore them to bed.
The next day was to be the first day of Becky Sutton’s training for primary teachers so it was something to eat and back to the hotel to catch up on sleep. Please watch this space
Tunu loved her shoes
A beautiful welcome to Kenya sunrise in Nairobi
The start of a new year can be time for a short look back and a long look forward.
2017 brought many successes to our work with Mama PHOEBE and her team. The chickens continue to lay and some to hatch bringing this project to a strong status. We grew the sponsorship programme and that enabled us to send regular money for the children.
Meet little Phoebe who is the 4th Child to be sponsored this week
We launched the “For Me “ sanitary wear programme and the programme is currently in a South African women’s prison, Sierra Leone and hopefully Ghana, as well as volunteers in the UK making kits for Kenya. We will take the kits to,Kenya in February where we will start production there.
The For Me Sanitary Kit
On 18th September we opened the Godsent Academy for sewing and Tailoring and our students are making great progress. This is a project that we believe will train Women and men providing them with skills, independence, and an income. Next stop a carpentry work shop.
Jennifer smiles at the camera she is really happy to be in our academy
2017 also had some moments of grave concern. Mama Phoebe’s health, the elections were very tense and stressful times and we hope that they are behind us and better things are planned for 2018.
One of which is our trip in February , 2 of our Trustees and myself will be visiting Kisumu and Bondo, we are very excited to be progressing our relationships with the children, the staff and Mama Phoebe.
One of the highlights for me was the birth of my God daughter Olivia, her mother Purity is Phoebe’s youngest daughter. So as our beautiful family strengthens here and in Kenya we wish all of our sponsors and supporters the very best for 2018
Beautiful Olivia, welcome little one
Yesterday John and I delivered 12 more sewing machines to Barking to be wrapped and packed by the staff of Amba Forwarding http://ambaforwarding.com. Another huge thank you to Kris Shah who helps us when ever he can. These machines are headed for Kisumu , Kenya to the Godsent Sewing Academy.
This project is based on the model from TFRS (Tools for Self Reliance) http://tfsr.org This marvellous charity collects, refurbishes tools and sends them in kits to Africa. They currently send to 6 countries and although Kenya is not one of those 6, the staff have helped us provide sewing machines and haberdashery boxes to our new sewing academy in Kisumu.
The trainees regardless of what skill they are learning also have training in, life skills, nutrition, HIV/aid prevention and business management. Our girls complete a certificated course and then get to keep the machine they have been using. They can then start their own small enterprise, feed their family and educate their siblings or children. This is of course life changing.
TFSR have a small staff and a huge band of volunteers who beaver away to recycle and upgrade tools for Africa, we couldn’t do this without you so, “Thank You”, to all.
We have to raise funds to send these machines so if you would like to know more about how you can help contact us through this website or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Sandra and Jo see the machines safely packed ready to start the journey