Three strikes and you’re…..IN!

Three strikes and you’re…..IN!

This is a personal letter written from Christopher, an HHFL youth

Dear Mama Hanne, Baba Ted, HHFL Staff and siblings and to all the donors who make HHFL possible:

Finally my stars seem to be aligning; God knows its about time. It has been a long, hard and exhausting journey mainly because I made it harder than it needed to be.

HHFL has given me way more than my fair share of chances. I quit high school during my second year citing mediocre reasons but Mama Hanne, being forgiving gave me another shot and agreed to pay for vocational school (automotive mechanics) for me. I blew it in an unapologetic manner and decided to try my luck in the streets.

For two gruelling years they (the streets) were relentless and unforgiving. But that is the thing about exhaustion, you just want to try a different way because the old one, well it is just old and not working anymore. That is when I finally started to comprehend that if I wanted a future I would have to change my ways and approach.

I needed another chance! I promised myself this time it was going to be different so unsurprisingly, I crawled back to HHFL to beg for another chance. After one unforgettable hair drier moment, Mama Hanne softened her heart one more time for me. They say the third time is a charm, right? well it was, at least for me.

HHFL had strict rules and curfews for me. I lived in the hostel and helped take care of the little ones, I helped in the kitchen, I helped clean the compound and helped with the garden. It was a tough year but I was finally able to embrace this third chance completely.

I went back to High school and this time surprised myself and everyone else by actually seeing something through for once in my life! It was long overdue.

Since high school I have worked as a casual labourer in the construction industry and as a steward in a restaurant in The Village Market. This last job has opened doors for me broadened my horizons. I learned about bar tending and have my sight set on becoming a sommelier (wine connoisseur).

These are not the easiest nor the best paying of jobs by any means but keeping my eyes on the prize, I managed to save enough to enable me to pay for my own college tuition fees.  Along the way, aside from gaining invaluable job experience, I’m also receiving a refresher course about respect, adherence to rules and regulations and the importance of principles and values, which is something HHFL puts a lot of emphasis on. All I have done over the years is take from HHFL and its donors and this sits heavy on my heart.

Being able to pay for my own college fees and transport is a welcome relief, which fills me with pride and confidence. Currently I am applying for a job in the hotel industry as a bartender and you get the feeling that something’s gotta give and its only a matter of time. I like my odds right now.

Last but not least I would like to apologize to Mama Hanne, Baba Ted, our donors, my mom and the HHFL fraternity at large for all I have put you through. I promise I will stay the course and become a strong role model who makes HHFL and its donors proud. Thanks a million for not giving up on me and for being there when I needed you most

Thanks also go to the Lord for making HHFL believe in second and third chances! This is why I am looking at a bright future right now instead of being in jail or worse.

I am looking forward to making all of you proud and rewarding all of you for believing in me and sticking your necks out for me.

Love you all, Chris

McCANN Agency Wins 2018 Kenya Cup tournament in Toronto!

McCANN Agency Wins 2018 Kenya Cup tournament in Toronto!

Huge congratulations go out to McCANN advertising agency who took home the big trophy at the 9th Annual Kenya Cup softball tournament in Toronto this year!

Organized and spearheaded by Steve Groh, this year’s tournament hosted 35 agency teams from across Toronto Canada who played ball over two weekends in July and August.

This tournament is a huge yearly hit with an ever expanding list of agencies who are lining up to participate every year. We are forever grateful for the incredible continued support!

This year, the event raised $25,000 to support the ever increasing costs of high school education for our HHFL kids.  Because of this tournament, 8 kids can go to school this year.

A massive thank you goes out to Steve, the tournament’s fearless, passionate and efficient leader (he started it all 9 years ago!) and all participating teams for your wonderful support.

We hope to see you again next year! Way to go McCANN!

HHFL’s 1st Ever Feature in a Children’s Radio Show

HHFL’s 1st Ever Feature in a Children’s Radio Show

Written by Bernard, one of HHFL’s participating students

We were so excited when we heard that we were going to Hope FM to be featured in the kids program for 2 hours!

A few Saturdays before the big day on August 4th, we listened to the radio show to know how the program was going to be and we practiced.

We practiced how to sing five songs and also sharpened our recorder songs. Four of us were chosen to represent our project.

On 4th August we woke up at 6AM to prepare ourselves in the hostel. Before we left HHFL, we prepared some cake and some tea for us to drink, so that we cannot feel hungry.

We left the project at 7:00am and we used 40 minutes to reach the Hope FM studios. Before we reached to the studio we passed through Nairobi town. Teacher Isaiah drove the car like lightning so that we would not be late.

When we reached the studio ,we saw a watchman standing next to the gate and he opened it for us. We came out of the car and found Uncle Martin, the Hope FM presenter waiting for us. He welcomed us with teacher Isaiah.

We entered the studio and Uncle Martin took us to a certain room, which was as clean as a new pin. He went on to prepare the room to record our stuff and he also gave us the rules of what to do and not to do in the studio.

Each one of us had a microphone and headphones. Uncle Martin told us to introduce ourselves and asked us a lot of questions.

For example what is our favorite color, our favorite animal, the number of teeth we have etc. Cidella was the one who was asked to tell our listeners about HHF and people were very happy to hear about us. There was time for people to call in and share.

Alfred, Cidella and I played Amazing Grace and Hot Cross Buns on our recorders. It was the best experience! Thank you for reading. We love all of you!

Hope FM HHF Treasure Hunt-Aug 2018(3)

Training in Plant Health and Food Security

Training in Plant Health and Food Security

Written by Faith, HHFL

A few of us at HHFL had the most amazing opportunity to train for one week at KEPHIS in June!

KEPHIS stands for Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service. It’s an Institution under Kenya Agriculture that deals mostly with food security in Kenya. They also support research on how to increase food in Kenya since even the Kenyan population is increasing day in, day out.

They also ensure that the food being exported from Kenya is safe and good for human use, protecting the Kenyan Export Market. On export, they mostly deal with Avocados such as Fuete and so many other food crops and herbs too such as rosemary.

We visited their Nairobi headquarters with my fellow kids being Beatrice Wamaitha, Nicodemus Ndunda, Joseph Kariuki, Asha Kiza and Elizabeth Letoto. We enjoyed a one week training with them and we also got to attend the 2nd Phytosanitary Conference that was held from 4th-8th June 2018.

Phytosanity means hygiene on our farms and not only on our farms, but even at our homes too.

They organized this conference in order to educate all the Kenyan farmers on how to handle and protect their crops from pests and how they get their food in the Kenyan food market. We learned about all the different challenges being faced by these farmers in their various farms.

We learned about pest control and the different types of chemicals that can be used on large scale farming and small scale too including the quantity that’s used, where they can be found and the cost of them.

The other thing we learned was about seeds and how we can stop fake seeds being sold in Kenya and how we can deal with issues if you have been given fake seeds.

We learned about orange sweet potatoes and their benefits too. We learned about the herbs and the benefits in the Kenyan Market and outside too.

It was such an interesting training! We never knew there was so much to learn with agriculture and farming. We even realized that there is a lot of opportunity for jobs and that it can be a very cool career!

Mary Wairimu Awarded Media Science Scholarship

Mary Wairimu Awarded Media Science Scholarship

Written by Mary Wairimu, HHFL University student

Five years ago was when I first joined this lovable big family of HHFL. I was just a timid little girl but deep within me, I still had the fire burning in my belly which was, for excellence – the best and nothing less.

I had a dream and the determination to make it a reality but if it were not for Hama Hanne, Baba Ted, the donors and the entire HHFL fraternity who have stood by me financially, emotionally and morally, I couldn’t have had my dream coming to what it is now.

I retract back to when I was just starting off my education. I aspired to be a media person and partake in journalism and writing. This path absolutely fascinated me.

I remember I used to bump into any piece of writing like news papers, articles, novels, little story books and just reading them made me realize more and more that journalism was definitely my path.

In my high school education, I did my best through the four years to ensure that I totally aced all my exams. Getting straight A’s was always my delight. Also, while in high school, I was the secretary of the journalism club at Chania Girls High School.

I did my final national exam and to my happiness, I managed to score great grades in all the eight subjects and overly had an impressive grade.
This automatically gave me the golden chance to enroll in a National University and to add onto the blessing, I am partly sponsored by the government in the scholarship all bright students are afforded.
The Government will be paying a big part of my university school fees and expenses. The best part of all this is that I have been placed in my dream university and most of all my dream courses!!
I was awarded a slot at Moi University, one of Nairobi’s best, to pursue a degree in media science. This degree is a basket of journalism and mass media.
I am to join the University on August 27th this year and finally make my dream true, making my HHFL family proud.
I am really grateful to this HHFL family that has guided me through to my career with love, discipline, hard work and the virtue of team work.
Thank you all. I love you all.

Our Eyes On The Flying Colours!

Our Eyes On The Flying Colours!

Written by Leah and MIchelle, HHFL Grade 8 students

Hello world! We are very excited to bring you to speed on what we are doing this year with our books, and where our dreams are driving us.

We are now in our final year in primary school and it has been a very beautiful journey under the wings of HHFL. We will sit for our national exams in November. Although the exam is expected to be tough and tricky, we believe in ourselves.

Our dream is to be admitted to Starehe Girls’ Centre. Teacher Isaiah has been telling us a lot of good things about it and we have also Googled to learn more about the school and also see some of their pictures.

Both of us hope to attain straight A’s in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, KCPE. The results must be out before we celebrate Christmas.

HHFL has helped us to get the application forms that we have completed and returned back to the school.

Our teachers are working very hard to help us sit for the national exams. They also bring us past papers to revise. Apart from that, they give us pieces of good advice. Teachers help us in our daily revision like helping us understand the tricks applied in examination questions. We are sure as death that their efforts will bear fruits.

On the other hand, we are also doing our part by reading and working smart. As our teachers always tell us ‘The biggest room is for improvement’.

We believe that in any difficulty in our lives there is always a solution and that is in any subject or particular thing that we do not understand in our studies, with effort and God everything is possible.

For me, Leah, I would like to become a doctor because I love science and hoping that I will work at a good hospital, earn a good income that will help me give something back to Mama Hanne, Baba Ted, HHFL and my mum for what that they have done in my life. I cannot wait for that one day when I will be called “Doctor Leah”.

As for me Michelle, I want to pursue my dream of becoming an accountant because I like Mathematics and I can be trusted. I would like to work in a bank and serve people from all parts of the world.

Earning a good salary will help me give back to Hanne Howard Fund organization and also cater for my parents!

We hope to write back to you with good news soon! Thank you to all for staying close to us and helping with our big dreams!

My Leap into Family Life

My Leap into Family Life

Written by Isaiah Kirieri, HHFL IT and Communications Manager

2018 has been a very defining year to me. It is my 7th year since I started working with these amazing children, a responsibility I have always considered as being my preparation for family life among a few other reasons. In all these years that has been a mere dream, a wish, a castle in the clouds…. not until the start of 2017 when I hit the road on the various stages that had to be passed for me to get legally married.

At long last, on April 7th this year, I got married in a colourful church ceremony that was attended by my fellow church members, family and friends from both sides, and of course my HHF family. It was an all-day event, which leave for the trouble involved during the planning and execution, it left me satisfied that I am finally a complete family man.

My HHFL family played a very big role on this day. I had Albanus, Cidella and Christian (Alice’s son) as part of the bridal team, while my elder girl Lydia did the make up for the ladies. The rest of the HHFL family came in numbers that got me so touched.

Page Boys and Flower Girls-Cidella and Christian(Extreme ends)

The wedding was held in here in Nairobi, with families and from both sides having to travel hundreds of kilometers so they could come and witness this. In most weddings that I have attended, people prefer holding them upcountry to reduce traveling problems etc. Our case could have been made different due to the mileage between the families. We are about 500km apart with Nairobi being a fairly good meeting point.

On the material day, I woke up very early – about 5 AM just to do the final touches with my organizing team. There were bridal team members to be picked and dropped where they were meeting, coordinating the transport, etc. With the butterflies fluttering as it is with such events, I had a quick light breakfast with my groom’s men and drove to church to wait for the guest of honor – my bride!

The day did not disappoint. I just loved how colourful it all turned out to be, the smiles on everyone who was present, the congratulatory messages I got and basically everything. Church weddings are broken into three chapters…the serious religious ceremony that is presided over by a recognized clergy, a wedding photo shoot, and the reception where all guests get to shake to some warm music – of course led by the bride and groom.

At the end of the day(that was around 7pm), we were an exhausted but very happy new couple and we are living the same happiness.

Being a married man is a wonderful experience that I am loving all the time, from knowing that I am not alone in this life and always remembering there is some other brain in the house to consult when there is need. Most of all, I love being the head of our young family. I enjoy being relied on.

All I want to do is put my family first, be the best husband to the wife of my youth, and the best dad to the few kids that God will bless us with.

CONGRATULATIONS ISAIAH! WE WISH YOU, YOUR BEAUTIFUL BRIDE AND YOUR FUTURE FAMILY NOTHING BUT HAPPINESS AND GOOD HEALTH FOREVER AND EVER!

Answering Calls for Conservation with Tree Planting Party

Answering Calls for Conservation with Tree Planting Party

Written by Isaiah Kirieri, HHFL IT and Communications manager

On April 27th, we held a major tree planting party like we have never had before. This came as a concern for the shrinking Kenya’s forest cover, which has been caused by unregulated logging and charcoal burning. It was during one of the occasional bird walks/nature trails that I take with kids inside the huge Ngong Forest that I mentioned to them the need for us to take part in tree planting. When the kids got their eyes lit up, I promised them we would do it in one of their school holidays when they are all at home so that we may have a good number of them participating in this move.

On this material day, I had taken a break from my safaris and drove to the Lenana forest where we were to plant trees. The kids and staff of HHFL had arrived there early enough and were ready to start planting trees.  With it being a wet season, my truck could not access the remote parts of the forest where we were to plant the trees. The kids carried the seedlings by their hands and walked about 1km into the forest. On average, each kid managed to carry four seedlings still wrapped in their polythene pockets.

On arrival at the planting site, I took the kids through the procedure of preparing the holes, then unwrapping the seedlings and finally the actual planting.

By around noon, we had planted nearly 300 seedlings. We were to call it a day, but the kids requested we do more. Having exhausted the first bunch of seedlings, we went back all the way for more seedlings and by 2pm, 400 seedlings were on the ground.

Again it was learning time, because we had to collect all the little wrapping bags. I was careful to let the children know that polythene (and plastics) is one of the major soil and water pollutant and we should do our best not to add any more of that to the environment. The bags were collected and taken to the garbage bins where it would be safe for disposal.

On this day, we planted two species of trees. The Eucalyptus, which is an exotic tree and a bit unfriendly to the insects and birds; and also we planted croton. This one attracts insects and makes good habitat for the birds.

For me it was such a great joy seeing just how much love the kids showed in contributing to the worldwide calls to conservation. I got very satisfied that I am helping raise a generation that will take care of the earth. We are living in times when many young people are into things that add no value to themselves and to the world, and this was a step in the right direction with these amazing children of the fund.

Celebrating Evans and his technical gifts

Celebrating Evans and his technical gifts

Written by Lucy, HHFL Project Manager

We would love to share with everyone about one of our big successes in 2018!

We pride ourselves on providing care and opportunities to each and every one of our children, giving all an equal chance to make a difference in their lives.

We enrol the most needy of the needy children from the slum. With our number one priority being quality education to the kids, we have had a few challenges with some of the children who aren’t book smart.

In most situations, kids who do not finish primary or high school or fail to obtain good grades end up losing out in a common Kenyan society.

However, at HHFL, we support all the children who do not make it through the expected education cycle i.e. 8 years in primary school, 4 years in high school and four years of university.

This year, we celebrate Evans who was over the moon to hear that he would be joining a technical school at the end of his primary school.

He couldn’t believe it. He has been a slow learner since we enrolled him at HHFL, a condition that’s attributed to his use of ARVs since he is among the unlucky kids that was born HIV.

Evans tends to forget most of the things taught in school, in spite of his desire to learn as much as he can. His span of concentration is very short, but that notwithstanding, he is a generally very active boy. We had observed him for a while since his infancy and we knew his motor skills were very good and he was good with hands.

What is really eye catching about his story is that Evans knew his strengths and stood tall in them. He did not push to go to high school which is normally the dream of most primary school graduates even if they have not performed very well in their final examinations.

When I called him in my office to ask him what he thought about his future, he pointed out he would love to pursue an electrical wiring or plumbing vocational course.

He seemed assertive with his decision and not once did he mention anything about joining high school. He did not let pressure from his peers get in to him. He stuck to his decision, never wavering and was not jealous of other kids joining high school.

We have finally enrolled him at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Embu where he is undertaking a plumbing course over 2 years. He is a very happy young man and this makes us believe he is focused into making the best out of the opportunity that HHFL is giving him.

It is not just Evans’ happiness to see him having come this far, but our joy in knowing that he too, like each and every one of our children, is a winner and on the right path to achieving self-reliance.

We are behind you all the way, Evans!

Happy Festive Season and Happy 2018 from HHFL in Nairobi!

We loved making this holiday sing-a-long video for you! 

Thanks for a brilliant 2017.

See you in 2018 for more fun, challenges and triumphs!