Indabax TeensinAI Africa Hackathon

Indabax TeensinAI Africa Hackathon

Written by HHFL high school girls

We have been home since the beginning of the month of August. This is usually the shortest school holiday. It does not even last a month. Being home means the world to us. While other kids close school and spent their time with their parents or guardians, home to us means being at HHFL, or The Project as we all have come to call it over time. This is where we are kept busy from Monday to Saturday with extra curricular activities running from 8.00 in the morning till 5.00 in the evening

Our holiday was extended by a week to allow the national census exercise to take place when we were at home. During this week, we received an invitation from Akirachix to attend a tech workshop.

The workshop was named TeensinAI Hackathon and it was being held from 28th -30th August at Kenyatta University. We were all excited to be going. This was a chance to learn more of what we have been learning by attending the bootcamps and Geek Girls Festivals at Akirachix.

Eight of us were able to attend: Mackline Anyango, Snorine Lihavi, Fatuma Nassir, Leah Wanja, Janet Letoto,  Michelle Kivikwa, Michelle Adhiambo and Teresiah Wamaitha. It was 1st time for many of us to visit Kenyatta university which is about 2hrs away from our home.

At the University, we met other teenagers who had signed up for the hackathon, and we met a wonderful team of trainers comprised of students from different universities. We were introduced to the goal of the hackathon which was to help us think of ways we can solve our community problems using AI-artificial intelligence. We were taught about Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which the United Nations has embraced to change the world by 2030

We were then divided into eight groups, where each group was to work on a project around the SDGs. The following is what we did:

Snorine & Leah

 We were with other teenagers who are not from Hanne Howard. The name of our team was Samurai. We worked on SDG 4 which is about Quality Education whose dimensions include Equity and Sustainability. We explored the problems that affect quality education and narrowed them down to Teacher-Student Ratio. Our persona in this case was the teacher, and the user of our AI model would be the government since it is the one that employs teachers.

We needed to find a solution that will help the government monitor the teacher/student ratio. We used AI to create a medium that would connect all schools for access by the government. We developed a model with machine learning using Microsoft Azure to monitor student/teacher ratio.

Michelle K & Wamaitha

We were also working around SDG number four which is about Quality Education. We defined what quality education is and what affects it. We narrowed challenges to school dropouts. Looking at the effects we identified drug abuse and poverty as some of the causes. We made a journey map of an orphan who has siblings. An orphanage adopts him, takes him to school and he is later in a position to support his siblings. Our group was not able to make a model

Mackline, Fatuma

Our group worked on SDG number 3, which is about Good health and well-being. We narrowed our focus into sickle Cell anemia, which is a disease that affects young kids mostly from age 4

We were working on a model to help doctors use machine learning to solve sickle cell anemia problem. We learned about a case of one doctor in Tanzania who found a cure for her daughter who was suffering from the disease. She is looking for a solution so that no children are born with sickle cell anemia. We worked using Microsoft Azure

Fatuma, Janet, Michelle

Our group worked on SDG 13, which is about Climate action. We were taught about the different Types of machine learning

We narrowed down our attention to air pollution and we looked at the stakeholders, causes and effects. We narrowed effects down to car fumes and exhaust from factories. We searched for a case study of a trader who sells his goods by the roadside in a busy highway. He once got sick from fumes and was hospitalized and cured. His name is Elvis. We made a journey map of his daily activities

The solution was to come up with an exhaust filter that can prevent the harmful gases from being released into the air from vehicles.

By the end of the hackathon, each team was expected to present the work done for three days. Team Samurai was announced winners. We were all happy to have learned a lot for just three days and as we go back to school, we look forward to sharing this information with other students who did not get a chance to attend, and we will be learning more from our Microsoft Azure accounts.

We are very thankful to Hanne Howard Fund, Akirachix and TeensinAI Africa for giving us this opportunity

Brian Wechuli – Another Proof that HHFL Delivers

Brian Wechuli – Another Proof that HHFL Delivers

Written by Ted Horton, HHF Canada BOD chairperson

Many of you know Brian Wechuli, one of our proud success stories. 

Hanne and I had a good chat with Brian this week at Java. Java is a growing Kenyan- based coffee house chain.  Brian is married to Sandra with a 7 month old daughter Charlotte. Brian is the son of Mama Brian who is an HIV survivor. She was on death’s doorstep when Brian with his 2 younger brothers in tow arrived one day in 2006 at the project pleading for help for his mum. We took them all in and also looked after/supported his mama, who today is healthy and leading a “normal” life. 

Brian is actually 1 of 5 HHFL “kids” who work for Java, acquiring skills and saving money for higher education. Brian’s next rung up is an ass’t barisita. We met his manager that same day and she told us that he was definitely management material. Good stuff!

Fast forward, I stumbled across an old /worn HHFL pamphlet in my passport folder this morning. I carried it for the past 14 years to use it to explain to Kenyan Customs Officials what were we doing in Kenya/ why we were always loaded down with luggage for the project. and why we shouldn’t be asked to pay duty. I must say it worked over the years but I always dreaded the prospect of being fleeced at the border by these guys, and so Hanne took over that discussion and when she spoke of doing the Lord’s work, it became smooth sailing.

Brian in his younger years is in the back row 3rd from left. 

My Internship Experience at Dudutech Kenya

My Internship Experience at Dudutech Kenya

Written by Bernadette Wasike – HHFL Alumnus

It’s been 3 weeks since I reported to Dudutech after completing my BSc. Horticulture studies at Pwani University.

My first impression of the place was way further from my imagination. The environment here is very clean you can barely see any litter. They have planted lots of trees around the premises and the air is always fresh. What was way better than the environment was the staff. They are very kind and willing to assist new employees through the induction process.

Dudutech creates solutions for farmers on how to eliminate pests and diseases using biodegradable products. For the past two weeks I have been learning about the companies various products after which I will work in the sales department. It’s been an eye opening opportunity as I am learning a lot about safe agricultural products in a world where most products contain harmful chemicals. The big global debate on carbon emission and global warming can never be won if different stakeholders do not devise means of working towards reducing toxic substances being released into the environment, and I am glad to be part of an ecosystem that is creating a better world for the current and future generations.

I am
very grateful to HHFL and to Tom Mason for giving me this wonderful
opportunity. I am working very hard and determined to grow to even
greater heights

HHFL Alumni Creating Time for their Siblings

HHFL Alumni Creating Time for their  Siblings

Written by Isaiah K, HHFL’s IT & Communications Admin

Among many things that HHFL celebrates, is our ever-growing number of alumni. These are adults who have gone through the HHFL system to attaining self-reliance. Most of these are either in their 1st or 2nd jobs, while a few are still tarmacing.

The alumni are important members of the HHFL family, and they are actively involved in the day-to-day affairs of HHFL. They do find time to come back home and spend time with their younger siblings who are in schools, and such is what happened during the June school break.

Our primary school and high school kids were blessed to spend a weekend of interactive and motivational talks from their elder siblings – Steve, Daniel and Cedric. The three coincidentally found themselves in the compound after being given their off day on 8th June.

Cedric is a certified nurse working with the Lions First Eye Hospital here in Nairobi, and he is very interested with corneal harvesting. His previous assignment was with orthopedics and he learned a lot about bone injuries and treatment. He has been in the programme since 2006, receiving care and education to be the fine nurse he turned out to be. He graduated a few years back from the Presbyterian University of Eastern Africa. He attended his high school studies in Kiarithaini High Schol. During the heart-to-heart, he shared with the kids his work experiences and study tips to the high school kids in improving their grades, especially in Mathematics

Daniel Safari has been in the programme since 2012. He is a current 3rd year student at Masai Mara University. He cleared his O levels at Njumbi High School with clean grades that got him enrolled into the regular degree programs for Economics and Statistics. His hardwork earned him a partial scholarship, and we are doing our best to fund him for the remainder of his expenses. He is a smart brain, and he has enrolled for CPA studies to reduce idle time. He was impressed to hear from the primary school and high school kids about their improved grades. He encouraged them to stay focused and to choose good company in school.

Steve is an employee of Java House – a chain of restaurants that is famous for its coffees and state of the art delicacies. He began in the lower ranks of a steward, and has risen to be a valued barista. He is now in a special team that collects and tastes coffee berries from across Kenya in order to recommend the best source of Java’s coffee. He too has been in the programme since 2006, and is a graduate of Karen C Secondary School. His job skills have been acquired through practise, and he is never settling for anything less than the best. Steve reminded the juniors about the importance of practising self-respect and respect for others, and obeying the various rules/code of conduct that we encounter in our various life’s assignments.

The children had gazillion questions out of curiosity from what the big brothers were sharing with them about their jobs and personal lives. It was a very warm afternoon to all, and hopefully one that will be treasured by the younger ones as they too strive to make it in life. It is the principle of “Monkey-see, Monkey-do” and we are proud of the family ties that are never broken between HHF kids

From Daughter to Mum and Dad

From Daughter to Mum and Dad

Written by Bernadette Wasike, HHFL’s alumnus

Dear Mama Hanne and Baba Ted,

I hope this finds you in perfect health. I miss you dearly and it’s been so long since I last saw you. I am writing to thank you for funding my education. I cannot express how grateful I am to you and HHF. It’s been 8 years since I joined HHFL. Back in 2011, I was only 14 years and very shy. Now I am 23 years and I am a very confident young woman. I can express myself in front of crowds and conduct myself with utmost respect because of the values you taught me at HHFL.

I have just completed my 4 year course in horticultural science and set to graduate in November. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go to high school let alone study for a degree but through your assistance and kindness all these has been possible. As I write this I am very emotional because so many kids in my country don’t get a chance to get quality education but you gave me an opportunity to study. Throughout these 8 years I was never sent home for school fees or books! You provided everything for me and on top of that during school holidays you helped me discover my strengths and my talent.

I am currently looking for internship opportunities before I graduate in November. I will work very hard and I will not disappoint you. I will support my little brothers and sisters at HHFL in whatever way I possibly can. Thank you again for your great support in my education.

Regards,
Bernadette

 

The Geek Girls Festival

The Geek Girls Festival

Written by Leah and Michelle Kivikwa, HHFL high school girls

It was on 13th April, a cool Saturday morning. We attended a festival named Geek Girl Festival or GGF. It is an annual event that comes immediately after the Genius Skwad and Dev Skwad tech bootcamps. The events are organized by Akirachix and the main aim is to teach high school girls about technology in a woman’s world.The classes were divided into different categories touching on various aspects of technology. The categories included Robotics, Gaming technology, Artificial Intelligence and Drones.

We attended the gaming technology where we learned how to make games and also play them. There were many trainers who taught us and made us love and enjoy the activities. There were also awards from the company that deals with gaming technology. Game technology is the making of games for selling and also marketing. The companies name was Funtrench and the slogan for the day was building an ecosystem of emerging technologies.

The robotics class dealt with robots which is to design construct, apply and operate robots. We were taught how to make robots and program them

We learnt how to fly drones. We also learnt that drones can be used to irrrigate fields, security and a lot of things in our daily life. There are different kinds of drones like fix winged drone, multi rotor drone and more.

Apart from the lessons, we also got a chance to interact with girls from other schools who had also come for the festival. It was such an exciting bootcamp!!!!!!!!

Celebrating HHFL Family Day

Celebrating HHFL Family Day

Written by Lucy Nyambura, HHFL’s Operations Manager

Saturday, 2nd March 2019 was an important family day at our home. It brought together all the HHFL kids in primary school, a few from high school and the alumni. This particular day happened to fall in the middle of the school calendar and all the high school kids who are in boarding school were not around. It was also a special home-coming day to Alexandra, Tom and their family since the last time they visited us in 2013 before we moved into our current compound in 2014. Also in attendance was the Canadian board members: Hanne, Ted and Marianne. Our longtime friend and local board member, Moyra, also graced the occasion

There had been lots of excitement from across the family once the date of this event got stamped, and all were looking forward to it. Family days are special, as such moments bring together members of the family who are not easily available. Hanne Howard Fund has grown, and a big number of kids(about 65) are out there either gainfully employed, job searching or still pursuing their post Secondary diplomas and degrees. It is therefore only possible to have a good number of them off from their occupations to visit on such days.

HHFL primary children had prepared a talent show, which apart from being used as a fundraiser (please see our other blog post about Tatum) was a warm way of keeping the guests entertained. There was lots of energetic dances, songs, poems, art and crafts exhibition and finger-licking food prepared by the kitchen staff led by Mama Margaret. She has been in the HHFL kitchen since day one, 13 years down the line.

Hanne and Ted were very happy to see the children, and listen to them sharing their experiences. Towards the end, a board sitting was convened. Our alumni –  we commonly refer to them as HHFL-WAO (We Are One) sat down and brainstormed on better ways of getting engaged with the HHFL in their giving-back initiative, and all agreed to come together with renewed energy under a new slogan – “KWA ROHO” which is Swahili for “FROM THE HEART”.  They have pledged themselves to impact the lives of their younger siblings here from the heart.

2019 Mar_Tatum Fundraiser3The little charges were very lucky to receive toys and other play items from Sebastian and Nico. The two are sons born to Alexandra and Tom, and they explained with enthusiasm and humor how the toys are to be used. It was a day to be remembered by everyone both young and old

We All Need Somebody to Lean On – Tatum’s Fundraiser

We All Need Somebody to Lean On – Tatum’s Fundraiser

Written by Isaiah Kirieri, HHFL’s IT & Communications admin

An email chain reached to us from Victoria Turner through Baba Ted, the name we give to our founder director and the chairperson of the Canadian board – Ted Horton. It was about a little Canadian girl called Tatum. She is in dire need of an operation by the month of April.

Tatum was born on June 1st 2011 with a syndrome called Pallister-Killian mosaic as well as a brain malformation known as Perisylvian Polymicrogyria which makes her unable to do many things but can communicate her feelings and needs through a tablet, as has learned to walk with a walker. We learned from the email that the progress she had been making in her growth were challenged in the recent few days, to which a doctor has recommended a special surgery called Selective Percutaneous Myofascial Lengthening which costs a fortune and can not be done in Canada. Her family had registered a fundraising cause that can be accessed on this link:  Keep Tatum on her Feet

We shared this story with the HHFL children, for one, as a lesson to them to know that there are many other people in need, and also to open an avenue for them to do the little they can in their own ways and help this little angel. The kids and staff were very touched by Tatum’s story.

HHFL primary school kids decided to help in the fundraiser by foregoing their evening fruit which they so much love. They take this daily after school before engaging in extra curricular activities for an hour. When word came around that there was going to be a family day, the HHFL kids organized themselves into groups of 3 or 4. Each group was to work on an item to be featured in a talent show that would be used as the 2nd part of the fundraiser.

2019 March Tatum's FundraiserWith all this love, they presented dances, songs, recorder and piano music, poems and an art exhibition after which a collection was done. We have been able to send $120 towards this cause with a lot of love, and it has been such a life lesson to everyone here.

Kim Wauchope  has been very happy to learn about the HHF kids selfless act, and we here can not wait to read about the progress that our little friend makes during and after the operation.

 

Michelle Scores Full 4-Year Scholarship to Starehe Girls School

Michelle Scores Full 4-Year Scholarship to Starehe Girls School

Written by Michelle Adhiambo, HHFL Grade 8 graduate

My journey through primary school has been a long struggle in order to complete primary school.

Books have been my friends ever since I started Pre School in Hanne Howard Fund. Our preschool in HHFL was known as Tiny Tots back in the day. It was fun drawing and colouring pictures.

Tiny Tots is where I learnt how to count, write and read. The teachings and advice from my Tiny Tots teachers are still in my mind. Good morals and principles were also instilled in me when I was young by these same teachers.

I never thought that I would ever complete grade eight. I counted the days since grade 1 until I got tired. I watched as my friends from the upper classes completed their eighth grade and I was asking myself when my time would come!

Eventually time flew faster than I thought. As I now find myself actually finishing grade 8, I realize how hard it is to achieve excellence. My final primary year has been more tiresome than the other years. This is because we studied for more hours than the other classes. We rarely had time to play and rest.

I recently sat for and completed the exams for my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education so that can join Form 1 (or Grade 9) next year. The national exams were fair and I am very proud of the marks I got: 396 out of 500!

The most exciting news is that I have been chosen to one of the best girls school in the country, Starehe Girls’ School. This is my dream! This made me the happiest girl in the world. And not only did I get in, but they gave me a full 4 years scholarship! I never thought this would happen to me!

A Starehe Girls’ scholarship means a lot to me. Now I can sit in class without the worries of being sent back home because of school fee arrears. I am very happy to know that I will complete my secondary education without any problems at Starehe Girls’.

I really do appreciate the scholarship because many students want these chances but do not get them. I know I’ve worked really hard and I am proud to earn it. I will make sure that I make everyone proud who has been with me through my education.

I give huge credit to everyone who has taken part in my education throughout the years. They include Mama Hanne and Baba Ted, Sylvia Walker, Eleanne van Vliet, Judith and Ponder Harrison. They have really put in so much money and effort to cater for my primary school needs. Thank you with all my heart! I promise to make you proud!

Thank you HHFL and all the donors around the world for making us happy.

Love, Michelle

HHFL Shines Bright In Inter-Home Talent Competition!

HHFL Shines Bright In Inter-Home Talent Competition!

Written by HHFL’s Paul Sane, Grade 12 

Big holiday greetings to you all from the HHF-L kids! We hope you are all doing well and great.

I am writing to share with you a very exciting thing that happened on December 7th and 8th, here in Nairobi.

About 50 HHFL kids, including myself, attended an amazing 2-day event for children’s homes in Nairobi. This year, four children’s homes participated. There were about 200 children there.

The event was held in Kibera slum (Kibera is the second biggest slum in Africa, and has a lot of poor people and children). The idea is to compete against each other in various activities, from sports to design to art!  This is our third year participating, and in past years we didn’t win anything. But this year was different – we reigned victorious for the first time!

Here’s what happened. On the first day, we competed in soccer against other homes. In our opening game, we drew 1-1 with one of the homes and we won the second game 1-0 against another home. We were given a walkover for our third game because the opponents were not around.

The second event was art and crafts, which to me was very fun because art and crafts is my talent. Most HHFL kids participated in an art exhibition. The judges were so impressed with our art works because they never expected us to be that good in art!  The art competition was great because we were being asked to explain our ideas behind our pieces of art work.

The third event was a fashion show!  There was a creative design category and a fashion show. Eight HHFL kids participants in this event, 2 created fashion designs and were models in the show! They did their best catwalk!

On the next day, we started the day with soccer finals. We called ourselves the HHFL PARROTS and we played against another home from Kibera slum. The HHFL PARROTS manage to win the game by one goal!

The next event was music and many children’s homes performed, including us. We played the keyboard and recorders playing Silent Night. Then, we sang a traditional folk song in Kikuyu. Our dancers were decorated in traditional costumes and colourful paints that we had made in our art class during the week.  We sang a choral verse and also performed a spoken narrative.

At the end of the 2 days came the moment we had all been waiting for – the grand winners! And guess what? This time, HHFL came out on top!

1. Soccer : HHFL won 1st prize!
2. Arts and crafts : Top three artists were from HHFL, with me winning 1st prize!
3. Fashion Show: Snorine won 1st runner up (models were Leah, Cidella, Dorothy, Shirleen)
4. Instrumental Music: HHFL won 1st prize!
5. Spoken word: Nicodemus won!

I was so excited to be awarded “best artist” in the event and also, I was awarded “best designer” of the event. I designed Snorine’s costumes and she won 1st runner-up in the competition.

The judges were so impressed with HHFL and how we had come with a lot of positive energy for the competitions. We were very happy with our performances.

And because of our performances, we won the overall trophy for KENYA CHILDREN’S HOME TALENT SEARCH! It was the best moment – we still cannot believe it! 

I want to take this opportunity to thank Mama Hanne, Baba Ted and all the donors for all the support you give to HHFL. If it was not for you all, we could not be in the competitions.

All we can just say is, THANK YOU AND WE LOVE YOU AND YOU ALL OWN A SPECIAL PLACE IN OUR HEARTS AND WE ARE HAPPY HAVING YOU IN OUR LIVES.

I wish you all a happy festive season and prosperous 2019!

Love, Paul Sane