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Seeds for Hope (SFH), is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote holistic development among underserved children and youth in Kenya through integrated health and social programs that expand access to education, health services and economic opportunity with the intent of transforming their lives, their households and their communities at large.
Incorporated in 2004 in New York State as a tax-exempt organization and 2012 in Kenya with the Ministry of Lands as a Charitable Trust, SFH has operated to date as a volunteer run organization. 98% funds raised annually goes directly to programs and only 2% for administrative costs.
In Kenya, only 24% of youth attend secondary school, at the age they are supposed to. An alarming 75% of children who start high school do not complete it due to barriers related to poverty. The national prevalence of HIV/AIDS is 7.4% with the highest rates of new infections occurring among youth ages 15-25. Females of this demographic are four times more likely to be infected than their male age-mates, often the result of these survival-based practices like seeking out early marriage, dating older men or engaging in commercial sex work. It is estimated that 1 million children have been orphaned as a result of this disease. HIV/AIDS intensifies the cycle of economic and social vulnerability already posing Kenya’s poor, keeping this and the next generation in the same position of poverty and survival based living.
From its establishment in 2004 to date, the Jeremiah Scholarship Fund has formed SFH’s core programmatic response to this challenge. The Scholarship Fund identifies the most disadvantaged and vulnerable youth from around Kenya and affords them access to a formal education at the secondary school level or beyond. The program gives priority to orphans and children made vulnerable (OVC) by HIV/AIDS, young women, homeless youth and children with caregivers who are disabled or chronically ill.
To date over 150 children have been sponsored and graduated from the secondary school or college level programs they were enrolled in by SFH. These are 150 young people who would otherwise not have had access to continuing their education. The program supports not only tuition fees but includes peripheral costs that could also pose a barrier to uninterrupted school attendance. This includes transportation costs, housing, food, medical care, stationaries, supplemental tutoring and personal hygiene products.
The model of care provides one-on-one follow-up and mentorship in line with a student-identified career path. The mentorship empowers them to take ownership over their vision and to pursue it knowing that their future is fully within their hands, and not subject to circumstances around them. SFH provides its scholars with access to mentors, internships and volunteer opportunities and in some cases employment opportunities directly in line with their field of interest. Through the Arts for Life Program, SFH has worked with students to promote tolerance, leadership and self-expression skills through writing, photography, music and dramatic expression; all critical life skills to help our students excel and succeed in the world around them.
- nadia kist
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