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

Mechanic-Turned-Branding-Pro Steals the Show!

Mechanic-Turned-Branding-Pro Steals the Show!

Written by Isaiah, HHFL IT and Communications Manager

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 12.27.20 PMIt is another successful vocational child that HHFL feels very proud of. James Kamau joined HHFL in 2006. He is one of the boys that could not handle high school, and chose vocational course after clearing grade 8.

HHFL sent him to Sagana Technical Training Institute where he, alongside other HHFL kids were not fairing very well. We then decided to transfer him to Kinyanjui Technical Institute where he graduated with a grade 3 trade test in motor vehicle mechanic.

He worked some jobs as a mechanic but then life took an interesting and exciting turn. He started  designing artwork on cars!

He has been into the branding business since 2017 – with his 1st major job being branding of campaign vehicles for politicians. He has been a brand ambassador with Safaricom and Telkom – Kenya’s leading mobile telephone network companies and Toyota Kenya.

He decided to call his branding business Fenske Branding, which is thoughtfully named after his late little HHFL brother Brian ‘Fenske’ who died some years ago from AIDS.

He is learning graphic design, which is a vital skill in the branding business. He still does not have a physical premises, but is hiring room in partnership with Brand 254, a bigger branding company that sometimes gives him branding tenders.

James says he still does occasional mechanic jobs either in his neighbourhood or servicing friends’ cars at a fee but vehicle branding is his passion! He will continue pursuing this as long as there is demand!

He visited HHFL on the 4th of December and gave a talk to the kids about the need to be resilient and have a broad perspective to life.

James is a shining example of what can happen in life with vocational school training, an educational path that still carries stigma as being less valuable.

Thank you James for paving the vocational way for our younger kids!

Safari to Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Safari to Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Written by Nasuru, Grade 7

Hi everyone! I would like to share with you about the fun trip we had to Ol Pejeta. Teacher Isaiah told us that a really nice couple who visited us at the project, Mr and Mrs Levit, paid for all of us to go! All I can say is wow!

We started out our journey very early in the morning. It was a long journey. We first arrived at Thika Super Highway. It was very big with so many vehicles.

We then continued with our journey. The second stop was near Aberder Ranges in a craft shop. In the craft shop, we saw some of the most beautiful crafts from Kenya.  I could have never seen those crafts if it was not for the trip.

After going round the craft shop, we continued with the journey. We were not so far from the park so I had to be alert because I was so eager to see Mt. Kenya. Unfortunately I did not see it! I was so sad that my friend made jokes on me. But I saw the big mountain again when we were having lunch in the park.

After 5 good hours in the bus, we were at Ol Pejeta. At the gate, there were so many decorations. We had to stop to be counted and also to pay the park fees. At a distance, we saw zebras.  On the way, we saw big the three –  elephant, rhino and buffalo! The driver told us that the lion and leopard can only be seen in the morning hours. I was so sad because I wanted to take photos of a lion but I did not lose my hope.

We had reached the place that we were going to take our food. The food was cooked by  some of us and it was as sweet as honey. After we ate our food, we went to see Baraka the blind rhino. He could not see. This is because he was fighting with another rhino and got hurt in one eye but before the rangers knew it, Baraka was blind.

After that, we went to see some chimpanzees. Some of the chimpanzees are Max, Poko and Lulu. Max did not want Poko to dance so he threw stones at us. We had to go down so that the stone does not hit us. Poko was one of my best animals. I wished I have stayed in the park forever because it was so much fun. I’ve never seen animals like that.

I wanted to touch the equator but I did not touch it.  I thought that it had gone for a lunch break. But we took picture at the Equator.

Thank you Mr and Mrs Levit for making this trip possible for us. I can’t believe how kind they are. They don’t even know me very much and they made this trip for us. It was the best day of my life.