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Reaching the vulnerable girls during COVID-19 pandemic

My Happiest Moment was joining IMARA

Deborah Michael is in her third year of secondary education at Mukuru Kwa Njenga informal. She wants to become a nurse and give back to the community.

The second born in a family of 3 children and raised by a single parent is happy to have joined the IMARA program at Mukuru kwa Njenga. It was a struggle before the project stepped in, she had dreams but could not pursue secondary education since her mum was unable to raise fees.

‘The project has changed me. I have received alot of support and guidance, during the pandemic LVCT Health empathised and took care of us, giving us food vouchers at a time when my mum could not feed us, we were struggling. We were home for weeks before we resumed our sessions at the centre. Our facilitators though were checking on us by visiting and calling us often.’ Said Deborah.

The introduction of virtual learning was timely. My time is well spent since I am away from peer pressure. My prayer is that virtual learning continues even after schools re-open. The home environment for some of us is not conducive for studying or revision. This centre provides what we lack at home and we get to learn from one another.’

Virtual learning began at the centre during the COVID pandemic and has enabled the girls in the program to study as well as revise. Subjects taught were selected by the girls, they include all compulsory subjects; Maths, English, Swahili including all science subjects.

While one group participates in e-learning the other is receiving mentorship.

‘I thank the donor for giving me this chance that remains as one of my happiest moments. I want to pursue my dream and in the future, like my donor, support others.’

You have saved my daughter’s life!

These were the words of  Loise, a single mother of four whose daughter is a beneficiary of the IMARA project at Mukuru kwa Njenga, an informal settlement in Nairobi.

Upon the release of the end of primary school examination results by the Ministry of Education, like many parents, Loise’s desire was for her daughter to proceed with her Education. However, the same did not take off as fast as Loise would have hoped for because her daughter stayed home for a couple of months. Loise tried all avenues in futility. Just when she was on the verge of giving up, a concerned neighbour introduced her to the team from the Imara Project.

The Imara Project was a blessing that came at the right time for Loise and her daughter. The desire that Loise had of seeing her daughter proceed with her Education became a reality. Knowing that her daughter’s education was guaranteed by the Imara Project eased the anxieties Loise had and gave her an opportunity to focus on her other children.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck! similar to many families all over the world, this Pandemic did affect Loise and her family. Her only business and only source of livelihood for her children was affected and interrupted by COVID-19. When movement restrictions were put in place, Loise’s business was hit harder, things got worse and her other two daughters came back home with their children. With an unreliable income and more mouths to feed, Loise was unable to cater for everyone’s needs, especially the school going children who were now at home.

E-learning offered by the IMARA project, during this COVID19 came to the rescue of her daughter, who has to walk for about an hour every day to attend both e-learning classes and get mentorship. She is thankful she has avoided one hurdle that is early teenage pregnancy.

‘Wairimu’s friends are pregnant… 3 of them, can you imagine! Classes have made her to be focused, have a purpose and become a mentor to others. Words alone fail in expressing my gratitude for everything that you have done for us, ’she concluded teary-eyed.

The project also gave them food vouchers during the COVID-19 period to cushion them from the difficult economic situation, these also went a long way in easing the pressure for Loise and her family.

Imara project seeks to empower young girls through education. Currently, there are 253 girls under the project in Nairobi’s informal settlements in Mukuru and Kangemi.

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