Meet the Other HHF-L Nurse-in-the-Making

Meet the Other HHF-L Nurse-in-the-Making

Written by Albanus, an alumnus of HHFL

Hey people! It is me again, with an update about how exciting my year has been. Before I confuse you, please read my previous post at this link: https://tinyurl.com/7cz8vv76

Just like a tree, knowledge is growing in me each day. I am a professional student nurse in the making. I write this letter to convey my honest and genuine appreciation to HHFL and the donors for sponsoring our education. The support I have so far received is priceless and will definitely help me in my education endeavors.

In the above pic, I was with the HHFL family

Among the exciting parts of my schooling this year is the recent placement for maternity rotation at Naivasha County Hospital. It was quite busy because we always had between 600-700 deliveries in a month. My maternity placement lasted for 6 weeks and it was a very productive one because I managed to conduct 123 successful deliveries and remember I am still a student Nurse; the future is promising!

 After this,  I had a medical surgical placement which took me 6 weeks. Taking care of the sick is something I have come to love and I always feel nice restoring life to patients. Being around patients until they are discharged to go back home is always my mission. I am sure there are patients out there who hold me close to their heart because I was kind to them. In the same way I hold you, my donors, close to my heart because you are making my nursing dream come true.

I am doing very well. Currently I am at Gilgil for my psychiatry placement and I am loving it very much. Mental health placement is unique because I have to understand someone’s mental state so that I can apply theory I have learned into real practice, diagnose what they suffer from, be it drug induced psychosis, schizophrenia or mania and so on. It comes with its fun in helping the mentally ill patients. This placement is for eight weeks.

After this placement I will be going to the orthopedic and surgery rotation which I really can’t wait to get there and keep gaining more knowledge.

In this pic, I am in class class with other student nurses

 I am loving every bit of my education and I am glad you are my life to shed a light into it. I will forever remain grateful. Thank you once again for your generosity and assistance. I guarantee you that I will make use of this opportunity to study really hard and I will eventually make people’s health a priority like I always do.

Your kindness also motivates me to help others in need and I will definitely do so in future. Studies have been a crucial part of my life and I love school. I am eternally thankful to you for choosing to support me and I shall live up to your expectations from me. I cannot thank you enough for sponsoring my education. My words may fall short of my feelings but I believe you can feel just how warmed up my heart is.

Yours always,

Albanus

My Tackle in Inspiring My Generation Through Fitness

My Tackle in Inspiring My Generation Through Fitness

Written by Simon, an alumnus of HHFL

I am back on the HHF-L website again to update our network of friends about my life! I am a family man now, and with that I still wear a few other hats with responsibilities that are very dear to me. My lovely family! As we know life is a journey and mine its getting more and more exciting each day no matter the challenges I encounter along the way.  I really love my family and they are the ones that make me work even harder every single day. My wife is currently studying to become a beautician and she is winding up by end of this month, November 2022, so that she can begin working in her salon immediately. My daughter Gladys is in grade 3 and on 23rd November 2022 she will be graduating to grade 4. My son Austin Kitto will be joining play group next year, and he will be 3yrs old.

Other than being busy with family, I am a professional fitness and personal trainer. It is also the main hustle that puts bread on my family table and I take it very seriously. I got funded by HHFL back in 2012, and since then my life took a different turn for the better. I will share a few moments that I think stood out for me this year.

Above, is my team at Mazoezi Fitness branch, Langata, here in Nairobi. I am their manager and the leader. Being a leader is not an easy task but I try my level best. We work as a team which really keeps us moving every single day. Its the best team I have ever worked with.
Above, is Faraja cancer support Trust Kenya. They support children living with cancer from different parts of our country and they get funds from charity events and donations from several companies. I have been chosen to be representing Mazoezi Gym when they are having charity events e.g. running, rafting e.t.c. My job there as a volunteer is to make sure all the participants are well warmed up with stretches, dance and workout sessions. Early this year, the charity took place at Wilderness Savage, where we did rafting which was a competition involving different companies. The next one was a race organized at Nova school Athi-river. End of the year charity took place at Karura Forest along Kiambu road, which was fun and more successful compared to the earlier events. The above photo was for the last charity event of the year.

Matter Heart Run 5th edition. I was there with my fellow fitness trainer Samuel after warming all the participants and ready for the run. Lydia, one of my HHFL siblings was present for the event. We met and took a photo together. This event is well known for supporting children with heart problems all over the country. Many have been supported, recovered and continue with schools, others are now graduates and others are working.

There is a short clip of the warm up before the race here:

I was in another event immediately a week after Mater Heart Run. This was Heart to Heart run which took place at Carnivore ground. This charity event was organized by Karen hospital and we as Mazoezi Gym team did what we do best.

In April we had live coverage sessions with Citizen TV, one of the big local media stations. The live workout sessions were to engage people in their homes or those who may be working from home as it has been necessitated by the Covid problems.

I have also been sharing the little savings I have with the less fortunate. I picked up two girls from a less privileged family and I have been supporting them by paying their school fees. Faith is now through with grade 8 and she is looking forward to join form one come next year.  Devine will also be joining grade 1 next year. I am however unable to continue supporting them from next year since my son will be joining school as well my daughter who school fees and other personal effects. I am happy though because the parents I have been assisting are now ready to take over with the girls’ schooling needs.

I reflect back on the far I have come, and I am filled with gratitude to everyone who has played part in my life, and especially HHFL for giving me a chance to discover myself and the hidden abilities in me. My desire is to live responsibly, and be an inspiration to everyone I encounter. Mama Hanne and Baba Ted, The Sindens and other HHFL donors remain people I hold with lots of admiration and respect. I am also indebted to my current fitness boss, Mr. John Kimotho, for challenging and motivating me to be the best team manager. May God keep blessing you all with good health and happy days.

Bernie Arts! How I Found Myself Falling in Love with The Paint Brush

Bernie Arts! How I Found Myself Falling in Love with The Paint Brush

written by Bernadette Wasike, HHF-L Alumnus

Imagine a world where we are all free to discover, explore and nurture our inner abilities! That in spite of all the noise and chaos of our daily lives, there exists an opportunity to just be ourselves. This is what I feel any moment I have a personal time with my canvas, paints and paint-brushes to, in some way, bring out the images and imaginations running through my mind into a fine peace of art – one for passion and leisure but also earn some coins out of it! It is one of the joys and things that sets us (HHFL beneficiaries) apart from the rest of our peers. The extra curricular activities have enabled me discover the artistic side of myself, even as I chase for a career in horticulture.

Bernie Arts is an online art platform dealing in selling art canvas paintings and art prints. I am the sole owner of Bernie Arts, I started this platform in March 2020 after my internship ended at Dudutech due to the pandemic. It was a difficult moment for me as most horticultural companies laid off workers due to restrictions on exports. I started doodling to keep myself busy then one day a friend visited me she thought my paintings were great and advised me to sell online. 

I proceeded to do my research on online art selling and since I did not have a website I created a Facebook page and set up an account with Fine Art America an online art shop based in the USA that ships purchased art all over the world.

The Facebook page, Bernie Arts 254, assisted me in getting people’s attention many of my previous schoolmates and other friends now were aware that I am an artist ready to fill up their walls with my beautiful paintings.

The account with Fine Art America gave me an even bigger audience with potential to purchase my work all over the world in form of high quality prints👌🏾

Our slogan as Bernie Arts is ” You Imagine We Create” meaning all you have to do is give me an idea of a painting you would love and I’ll do the magic. My dream is to offer the best customer service get more referrals and create an even bigger audience. Currently Bernie Arts has 600 followers on Facebook and over 1400 visitors on Fine Art America. 

My biggest challenge in running the platform is that the international market has not been actualized yet as the website requires some payments of up to $300 in order to get a premium account. The Kenyan Market currently is dependant on referrals and converting followers to customers. Averagely Bernie Arts has managed to make about Kshs 20,000(USD 200) in 18 months and I am still aggressively working on the dynamics to boost my profit margins. 

I am currently focused on creating more digital artwork as it creates a niche allowing me to sell my work as prints for this to be actualized I’m working on getting a tablet and acquiring an online paint app known as Procreate which has allowed millions of artists to work digitally and even work in the Metaverse. I also plan to open more art shops with websites such as Etsy and Patreon.

This can not go without being said I am very grateful to Mama Hanne, Baba Ted, Alexander, Lucy, Isaiah and Teacher Dan for always being so keen in creating opportunities to develop our talents. My skills as an artist were discovered and sharpened within The HHFL Organization. Asante Sana. 

Here are links to my Facebook page and Fine Art America Website. I am also sharing a few of my art pieces here:

fineartamerica.com/profiles/bernadette-wasike

https://tinyurl.com/3p6b9zjw

This is a collage of some of my art pieces.

Aside from Art, I have had an interesting journey in my career path as a Horticulturalist. Being a degree holder in horticulture, I have learnt a lot about plants in general, sustainable agriculture and most importantly the big issue currently affecting agriculture which is climate change and the urgency to find mitigating solutions.

As a young woman trying hard to build a career in the agriculture sector I have experienced a challenge in establishing myself as knowledgeable enough and equipped to get the job done.  There is a lot of myth in hiring young people as our generation is seen as “zoomers” with no hands on skills however I am very grateful to the few companies I have managed to get into and acquire knowledge and skills. 

Recently I have worked in agriculture finance related company whose aim is to provide sustainable financing through participative and collaborative financial and non financial interventions, innovations, technology and product. Through agribusiness related loans farmers are able to finance various income earning agriculture related projects such as steers fattening, greenhouse farming, water development projects and even land purchase. 

This has been an interesting phase in my career journey and has  created an interest in me to get into entrepreneurship in agriculture in the near future through low interest government loans, see I have a dream as a Horticulturalist to use both my academic and professional experience in establishing and running a successful organic fruit and vegetable farm business.

Our slogan will be something like “The Kienyeji Way” straight from the farm to your plate.

I will get there but for the mean time I have to work extra hard to build myself within the agriculture industry. I believe if I am consistent in my efforts there will be a positive reward to the Universe. 

Kind Regards,

Bernadette.

Down the Isle

Down the Isle

Written by Mercy Kangwato, HHF-L Alumnus

In case you’re a huge fan of my writing and/or storytelling, you would know how huge (and super emotional) this moment was not just for me but for these two and the many beneficiaries of their benevolence that were present in huge numbers on this day. Numerous times, I’ve shared our connection on this blog (mercykangsy.blogspot.com) and talked about them to anyone and everyone who attempted to ask;

“So, what’s your story really – Khaleesi?”

Khaleesi.

I binge watched all 8 seasons of Game of Thrones and have since held onto that name, ‘Khaleesi’ because who wouldn’t want to have dragons for children though? In any case you can’t relate, replace the name with Mercy, still sounds cute I guess😒.

Anyway.

Growing up under their care, they did the best that they could, with what they had at their disposal to give all the 170+ kids at (Hanne Howard Fund – Lenana) a better life with strong hope that we’d all get a good landing at life. Life’s uncertain and unexpected tides that one time rise and other times steadily fall without warning didn’t allow for all to get the good landing they so dearly desired for us. I can mention a ton of us who currently have a good bearing and a handful whose choices didn’t present them the same outcome as it did the greater number.

-HHF-L family at my wedding

30th April 2022 is a day like no other. I was the girl of the moment, surrounded by my siblings from HHF-L and my folks from the village. To either side of me, were the people I have lived to owe my life to – Mama Hanne and Baba Ted. The two were walking me down the isle to witness as I take my wedding vows to the love of my life, Austine.

As we were walking hand in hand, countless memories came to mind; memories that kept me going in my journey to self sustenance post life at HHFL. I remembered the times when they’d occasionally come visit my sister and I in high school on Visiting Days which led most students to think that we had white parents and that we were filthy rich 😂. Since it was too tasking to explain the whole story to the vocally curious cats, we just played along and said “YEAAAH, we have white parents, it’s the genes that played some tricks … but life is all that matters, right?” 

I was also taken back to the ‘Current Affairs’ classes that Papa Tango (Mr. Ted Horton) used to facilitate back in the day. Here’s how he’d facilitate the classes: He’d come with the day’s newspaper, select a manageable number of us (high schoolers), sit us at our open dining hall and share sections of the newspaper with each person. We would then each go through the section assigned, read, understand then explain to the rest of the team what you thought the sections meant and give your personal opinion – without reading it 😖. 

At this point it would be better to mention our reality on the ground in those days starting with our struggle to express ourselves in English. We’d been used to ‘Sheng’ both at home and at school. We’d always round off our English to the nearest ‘Sheng’ or broken Swahili. I now understand that it’s an environment issue. There weren’t many role models to show us how important expressing ourselves in proper English was and so we’d just go with what was familiar to us. This is the gap Papa Tango noticed and with much effort, managed to bridge. This class wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea though, it was quite challenging … but little did we know how vital it would be in our future!

When I joined campus in my first semester, among my units was Communication Skills taught by one Madam Betty Ngala. In her introductory class she had everyone come to the front of the class, introduce themselves and mention a thing or two that they expected to learn from the unit. She further explained that in the course of learning there would be times when we’d each present to the class a take-home assignment. Let’s just say that after my gibberish introduction, all I wished was to have Papa Tango there with me to remind me of the dos & don’ts of public speaking.

I can never put down all the memories. Perhaps one day I’ll write a book? 

This moment remains one of my happiest. The fact that I got to share this magical moment with them is just one among many ways that I could share how grateful I am for the big and little ways they’ve impacted my life over time. I didn’t even think twice about who I wanted to walk me down the aisle. I would choose them a thousand times over!

To Mama Hanne and Baba Ted,

…because of you, I have a constant ‘fire in my belly’ and your words, “You’ve just got to be pro-active!” still runs in my mind to date. I have embraced and will continue to hold dear our motto: Disciple, Respect & Teamwork because without those, I’d not even be remotely close to where I am now.

As I put my feet into this new chapter of my life, I am confident that I have gained a lot of life hacks that will play a big part in making our marriage work, and raise a healthy family that is built on principle, trust and teamwork.

Cedric Spreads His Roots Deeper into Nursing

Cedric Spreads His Roots Deeper into Nursing

Written by Cedric, HHFL Almnus

I have a very fulfilling feeling about what I have been able to accomplish in my life so far. I want the absolute best for myself and those that I have left behind in HHFL. More often, I go above and beyond to help those around me succeed and be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be.

My life has been a mixture of moments – some happy and others not so much. Regardless though, these moments have made me the person that I am today and I don’t regret anything that has happened in my life.

I consider myself a strong, and a very determined person. I have many dreams to achieve in this world and I am willing to put in the necessary efforts to attain as much as possible. Through time, I have inherited my motivations from my family (HHFL); more specifically from Mother Hanne and Father Ted who never  gave up on any of us at the project. I have had difficult moments in my life; and instead of the difficult moments of discouraging me, these moments give me motivation and the necessary energy to move forward.

Just to give one example, in the midst of the Covid pandemic, I happened to lose my nursing job and instead of me just sitting at home i decided to use this time to further my studies. I had to join AMREF international University. This was only possible because I had kept a good discipline of saving some of my earnings.  I went for an advanced diploma in Critical Care Nursing.

At the start of my course at AMREF University, Mother Hanne, Father Ted and HHFL offered me a laptop which made my work easier during the online classes. This family has been of constant help to me even when I felt that I was all alone in this world and for this I shout a huge THANK YOU. I managed to pass my final and licensing exam to practice as a critical care nurse anywhere around the globe, and on the same year I also did two short courses i.e Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support under the American Heart Association. With the additional short courses, I am able to perform ideal resuscitation either in the field or in the hospital wards.

Caption: Cedric In work clothes

I have also managed to secure myself a job with Nairobi Metropolitan Services(NMS) under the Nairobi county government in Langata constituency. I have come to learn that we live in a world that is constantly changing and to succeed we need a smart plan. The ability to adapt and adjust to the changing world environment is also key, but more importantly one needs to prepare and  have self discipline. l have also learned that I am the architect of my own life, the artist of my own destiny.

Through work, commitment and determination and above all an unshakable will to resist difficulties when they happen has made me optimist but also realistic  in life. Every route taken or not taken will somehow impact our existence and leave a trail like a shooting star in the night sky, the beauty of the trail depends entirely on the nature of our actions in life. I am in love with whom I have come to be over the years.

Doing My Best Through the Pandemic

Doing My Best Through the Pandemic

Written by Lucy and Isaiah, HHF-L’s Co-admins

We have been thinking of bringing to perspective what our lives have been like from this end of the world, especially considering the new lives we have had to live with Covid-19 all around us.

To get a better picture shared out to our donor network and friends, we posed an open-ended question to the children on what “Doing My Best” through the pandemic has meant to them, and as the saying goes ‘Monkey-see, monkey-do’ we kicked it off by sharing with them what doing our best has meant this far.

Isaiah:

Like many people from the world, I embraced the covid situation with a lot of uncertainty, and until this time there are many things I may still not understand from a layman’s position.

Nonetheless, I took it upon myself to observe the laid-down protocols to ensure my own safety and that of those who are around me. I keep a pack of face masks at home, and I ensure my little laptop bag has at least 3 masks every day.

I have been a bit skeptical about the covid jabs, and for quite some time I did all I could to avoid it. I however had to come out of denial and be vaccinated in September when I received my dose of the Moderna vaccine. I have not been diagnosed with any Covid symptoms, but I did not want to continue living in the dark to only end up endangering other people’s lives…especially the very elderly ones that I interact with from time to time.

For quite some months last year, things were at a standstill here, with movement restrictions making us stay at home. When the restrictions were lifted, I have had to avail myself on a daily basis to the needy kids who look up to us. We still have to keep the rest of our lives moving while understanding the risks we are living with.

Lucy:

Doing my best during the pandemic means: Listening, taking action and giving solutions.

It has been an unprecedented situation for everyone and more so the young ones. They were, and many still are confused. The new way of life and the change in the education system caught many in panic and not knowing what to do. They needed persistent loving, caring and a reassurance that things would in the end turn out good. They had no surety of how to handle the new normal. I have been very available to the children, and I am glad they have known, over time, that no matter what comes their way, there is someone on this end that is ready to listen to and address their concerns.

As far as providing solutions is concerned, I have been in touch with a number of alumni who went through tough times when their jobs were terminated from the effects of covid19. I advised them on small business start ups that they could begin with pocket-friendly income. I am very happy because those that took it seriously are way far ahead from where they began. It gives me great to know that I could be of help to them

From the kids, we picked out some of the outstanding ones, with most of them giving very similar outlooks of their lives

Snorine(high School girl):

I think I have done my best during this pandemic by ensuring that I put on my face-mask everywhere I go. I also wash and sanitize my hands. That has not stopped me from living the normal life I was used to before Covid came. I do all the activities I am expected to do including putting a lot of seriousness in my studies. When we teenagers are allowed by the health ministry to get vaccinated, I will be among the 1st ones because I love my life and I care about the lives of those who are around me.

Muli(high school boy):

Doing my best during the pandemic means obeying the government’s regulations on health. Other than that I have also been keeping myself busy by working on my school assignments and revision as I wait for end of year examinations.

To avoid too much free time when I am not in school, I am attending some classes for graphic design. I brand myself as Buffalino Graphics. I am growing my skills every day and I already have done some designs for some clients.

I also travel to HHFL from my brother’s house where I am staying with him. I attend daily activities and help my younger HHFL siblings with their homework.

Mackline (high school girl):

I do my best by respecting the covid19 protocols. Covid has also made us appreciate the little things in life and also to be more serious about our future. I have to be strong and work harder to meet my needs.

Rajab(primary school boy):

Doing my best in the pandemic means wearing my face mask all the time, washing hands and keeping distance. I have learned how to manage my time during the pandemic because when we could not go to school for almost a whole year, we had a lot of free time. I would spend more time at HHFL using the laptops, playing board games and also doing my assignments.

Nicholas(high school boy):

I do my best during these covid days by wearing face-mask, keeping social distance and wash hands after touching surfaces. I also try to eat fruits as much as I can so that my immunity is strong.

Brian(high school boy):

The most outstanding thing I have done best during this pandemic is finding something useful to keep me occupied in my free time when I am not either in school or at HHFL. Idleness has got some of my friends into drug abuse and girls got pregnant. So for me I had to help my mum with her small business of selling tea and snacks to get some money.

We want to believe that we have undergone one of the hardest times of our lives as the HHFL family, and in the midst of all the hardship, every one of us has put their best foot forward to still be standing at this moment. We do not exactly know what the future holds, but we keep hope alive as we all continue to give life our best.

We can never forget to appreciate the support we continue to receive from our network of donors and friends. You are the props that have held us up when we could not do it on our own.

From the Nairobi office, we sent hugs to all, wishing you happy holidays and a prosperous 2022!

Letter from Albanus – The Pioneer HHFL Self-Sponsored Nurse

Letter from Albanus – The Pioneer HHFL Self-Sponsored Nurse

To all our donors,

I would like to share with you this exciting update about my life, and also take a moment to say how grateful I am to you for enabling me chase after my dreams in school.

(Pic_in my nursing college)

My name is Albanus, a beneficiary of the HHFL programme and I am at the Kijabe School of Health Sciences pursuing a 3 and a half year course in nursing. It is a course that has been a dream come true to me.  I am already in love with the career and I am really convinced that after my three and half years stay at the school, I will emerge victorious with the essential skills I am acquiring each day.

(Pic_previously as a barista)

For a number of years after clearing high school in 2013, I had a great desire to take charge of my life after being sponsored by HHFL through high school. I aggresively went from office to office looking for jobs and I landed one at the Nairobi Java House which sells coffee in their chain of shops across Kenya. With no skills, I joined the staff as a steward, and the working environemnt there is good – allowing their staff to grow their skills at work and progress in their career ladder within  the establishment. So with time I moved myself up to become a barista and specialized in mixing wines in one of their branches.

I still had a dream that one day I would be in a proper school and pursue a career of my choice, even though I was so much in love with my work as a barista and mixologist. For a number of years I was saving part of my pay in order to start me off in school. Last year is when I finally took the 1st step towards starting school, and I had to approach HHFL to partly support me. I started off with my contributions which I had saved to pay part of my admissions and school fees. I feel very privileged to be a beneficiary of your funding through HHFL and I am giving it my best shot, and trusting myself that I will become a big nurse in the next few years. I have wanted to be a nurse so that I may be more close to people and impact their lives more positively. I am touched by humanity especially with the covid situation in the world, among many other diseases that affet us as humans.

(Pic_in my work attire)

Currently, I am ending my first year and it has been such an exciting experience. We have theory classes and ward rotations with equal time allocated to each. Currently I am at the Medical Surgical ward until early next year and I am getting real hands-on experience under the supervision of our trainers. I also get a chance to be in other hospitals around Nairobi for my practical classes and I can almost predict what the future holds for me. I hope to keep in touch and share more exciting news about this new journey that you are making possible for me. May God keep blessing you and keep us safe.

Wishing all of you happy holidays.

Warm regards,

Student Nurse, Albanus

Letter from Mary Wairimu, HHFL Media Science Undergraduate

Letter from Mary Wairimu, HHFL Media Science Undergraduate

My name is Mary Wairimu Wasike, a beneficiary at the Hanne Howard Fund(HHFL). I owe it to you donors that now I am in my fourth year pursuing a course in journalism and media studies. Well, I am pretty much in love with the course and I am excited to make it my career. Pursuing Journalism is really a dream come true to me and I am exhilarated with every learning experience.

At school I have done a couple of projects including news broadcasting. I recently did a feature story, which I aired on YouTube. It showcased how students form clubs/small unions that do good for the community. ‘Charity begins at home’ is how I titled the project. I am grateful that I have a chance to grow in dream career.

The Youtube video is here:

https://youtu.be/M0OzqB9R3CM

This course has also enabled me to expand my horizons on my writing. Mid 2020, I created a blog:

https://wairimuwasike.wordpress.com.

Here I share my articles to the world. It started off as a hobby but now I am glad that I earn from it. With every article I post, I get some money. I use these funds to pay some of my expenses. Writing just excites me. I am currently working on writing a science fiction novel. When I finish, I will surely share with you all.

 I am also involved in a small business where I retail ‘Kenchic’ sausage products in bulk to a couple of shops near the school. This job keeps me busy when am not having classes. It also helps with my interpersonal and business smart skills. The funds I get from the business are also very helpful with some of the daily expenses and I get to help my mother where I can.

At Moi University, the four-year course I am taking is so far so good and here are some of my achievements:

  • I have successfully hosted a radio show at MU FM in early 2020.
  • My Magazine design was tagged as the best in a recent design challenge at School.

With all these I can feel my hands gripping tight on my journalism career. I really appreciate all your support and I will update you from time to time. May you stay safe and blessed. Happy Holidays

Regards, Mary Wairimu.

I Found Passion in my Voice

I Found Passion in my Voice

Written by Priscah Mulei – HHFL Alumnus

Hello world! My Name is Priscah Kalekye a gospel music minister(artiste) or PK Music and an ICT specialist. I have been a beneficiary of HHFL project since I joined them in 2009 when I was in form two. Since then it’s been a bautiful journey.

I studied beauty at Ashley’s Beauty College with the hope of becoming a beautician and I am a successful graduate. In my pursuit of a stable career, I later joined KCA University where I was funding myself with support from my father. Here I took a course in IT and I am a diploma holder.

My journey in music started back in high school where I was Christian Union(a student religious organization) leader and I carried on with this passion through campus. At campus is where I seriously began to compose my own songs. It took me time to enter the recording studios because by then I was not financially stable. As time went by I started saving little monies and it took me one year to raise enough cash for recording.

Back then I was singing in a band or( call it music groups ) as a back up singer which boosted my confidence. For a 1st time around 2017/2018 I finally made it to the studio. I did four songs and unfortunately, my producer later called me and said that he had lost my recordings. It was my lowest moment in my life I was frustrated as an upcoming artiste.

I gave myself break then in 2019 December, I engaged a different producer and recorded my first song Tumaini… the song was not well received by the Audience but I kept pushing. In 2020 I did two songs with complete audio and video.

This year, 2021, I recorded another video which has been the password that I feel it has unlocked my music career. For a production to be complete, I compose the songs and also give a rhythm for it. I work with a team of 6-10 people who are involved with photography, audio programming, make up artist, dress code designer, producer among a few.

As far as marketing my music is concerned, I am yet to have a reliable marketing team, and I am reaching out to my network of friends to make myself and my music known. I have been working on getting at least 1,000 subscribers on my Youtube channel so that I can start earning from it. I am at 680 at the moment and I trust in God to give me more suscribers. Please do so once you open the channel. The link to my YT channel – Priscah PK, is here below:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiGxONIQ5NDNBdUI0b763Tg

Among my favorite videos, I choose “You Reign”. I released this video around July this year and it has so far it has attracted more than 7,500 viewers. Other than the audience reach, I just fell in love with the rhythm of the song which comes with a Spanish instrumental touch. You can watch it on this link:

Music has taken me to places I never went before and I can not even estimate how far I wanna go to the world. I see myself performing in a big international platform and I am focused to see it happen. I am just from a performance in neighboring country Tanzania. I have aslo been to a number of towns in Kenya. My songs are written in English as well as local dialect of Swahili and my vernacular, Kikamba.

Other than music, I have worked in two real estate companies for the last 4 years in the sales & marketing as well as customer relations departments. My latest job is in an Internet Service Provider company where I am putting my IT skills into good use. I serve as system admin and general manager.

It has been a wonderful journey and I am open to any and all possibilities that come my way.

You Empower the Girl, You Empower the Entire Village

You Empower the Girl, You Empower the Entire Village

Written by Mercy, an alumnus of the HHF-L

My favorite Kenyan writer and blogger of all time (now author), Jackson Biko of Bikozulu succinctly puts it that everything is a story. He says some are beautifully told; with good beginnings and happy endings, others with sad or complicated endings. Others are told and the audience laughs, others the audience shake their head in angst. ‘The reactions of the audience notwithstanding, these stories have to be told.’ ~ Bikozulu.


Usually when I tell my story to any audience there’s one consistent major player who’s part in the story cannot be missed. I point with contentment it’s contribution in my life. I tell of how they took a chance on me and many others when all seemed lost and transformed our lives. 

(most recent pic with Mama Hanne in Nairobi)

Hanne Howard Fund – Lenana was my home for a decade+. As a young girl in their exceptional care, I learnt the power an empowered girl holds in the society. Hanne Howard (founder) herself, together with our program manager, Lucy being at the forefront showing us the capabilities of women in how they ran HHFL’s day-to-day was something we all admired. While still an active beneficiary at the home, the sessions I would enjoy most were the mentorship sessions by Mama Hanne (That’s our nickname for her), the ever so punctual ‘Current Affairs’ classes by Baba Ted (co-founder; Mr. Ted Horton) where we’d all gather and each read out loud a section of a write-up in a local newspaper then explain what we’d understood. Man, talk about struggling to express ourselves in English! Some of us would round off the English to the nearest mother-tongue! 😂😂 Our Art, reading, drama, music and computer classes led by Kwontec, Tr Nancy, Peter Muchene and Isaiah respectively we’re my favorite. Despite them all now being memories, I closely hold them dear to date. It might not have occurred to them then but these sessions did not only educate us but also empowered us to go into the world with courage and skill. 


HHFL was and still is a significant part of my story. It’s a story I will always tell.

(My graduation home reception at HHFL)


While sessions with the founders, teachers and support staff at HHFL really boosted our progress, there were times we would wish more people from the community would come mentor us. I was a young naïve girl who needed a ‘big sister’. A sister to come comfort and tell me that everything would be okay, guide me on where to direct my focus and give me hope that the opportunities out there were for me too – not just for other girls from family za masonko (rich kids). Had I had this ‘sister’, I would have probably managed to courageously sit through my first Communications Skills class at Strathmore University without feeling so bad that I was the only student who didn’t have a laptop at the time 😁. I spent the whole 3 hour session class wondering if I really would fit into that school. Anyway, that is a story for another day. I am here now, empowered, educated and elderly (a little bit 😜) and I feel strongly that I fit the ‘big sis’ description, don’t you think? 😎


Together with other amazing young adults (women & men), we have started a wonderful journey and relationship between ‘big sis/bro’ and ‘small sis’ called STELLAR GIRLS KENYA for the young adolescent girls at HHFL and those from the Lenana community too.
Allow me to tell you a little about it. 😊


WHO/WHAT IS ‘STELLAR GIRLS KENYA’? This is a mentorship and empowerment program for adolescent girls and young women in Lenana, Ngong Road – Nairobi area and beyond. Our objective is to EDUCATE, ELEVATE and EMPOWER a girl’s emotional, intellectual, mental, spiritual and social strengths with an intent to help her acquire skills that will allow her make informed choices and decisions in her life as a stellar girl.

WHY ‘STELLAR’? YOU ASK. By dictionary definition, ‘Stellar’ refers to a person or thing considered to be good/has the qualities of a star performer/relating to stars. Stellar Girls Kenya believes that every girl deserves to lead a stellar life and is committed to guide her tap into her strengths to see this realized. Every girl is a star! We are here to remind her that, everyday!


WHAT IS OUR MISSION AND VISION?
Mission: To educate, elevate and empower a young girl into the best version of herself.
Vision: To be a platform for positive and long-term positive change in the community.


WHO IS A STELLAR GIRL? SGK’s stellar girl is any girl ready and eager to be educated, elevated and empowered into the best version of herself.


WHO IS A STELLAR MENTOR? SGK identifies individuals or industry experts within the community and beyond, who are committed and dedicated to fostering positive change in the lives of adolescent girls and young women. A stellar mentor is a person (adult man or woman) who’s personal and career journey has been full of life lessons that they would in turn like to pass down to a stellar girl.


WHICH STELLAR TOPICS DO WE COVER? The mentorship topics we cover are not restricted to any particular area as the intention is to take an approach that ensures most, if not all areas of life are covered. However, notable topics of conversations include:

  • Education (formal & informal)/Academic success & its impact in life/goal setting
  • Menstrual health hygiene management,
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health – (Early marriages, Teenage Pregnancies, etc.
  • Women in leadership
  • Spirituality
  • Mental Health Management (Handing depression, anxiety, stress, etc.)
  • Relationships/Family
  • Drugs and Substance abuse
  • ICT Skills for women
  • Career – white & blue collar,
  • Talents and hobbies,
  • Income generation activities,
  • Social media use (pros & cons),
  • Motherhood & Parenting (for our young girls who are already mothers),
  • Social life – , etc.

_________________________
We recently concluded a great introductory session dubbed “Stellar Girls Tujuane Meet-Up” andcaptured some moments of this day and shared it on our now ready and set Youtube channel –  (See video of session HERE).

With this introductory meet-up, we identified adolescent girls and young women (who fall into the target age group) at Hanne Howard Fund Lenana  who we gave priority to sign up. The program is voluntary in that NO girl was coerced to join. Surprisingly, all the girls that showed up for the meeting (from the Lenana community too) all signed up and were very punctual are ready to be mentored. 

(John Mutahi, a fellow alumnus addressing our gathering)

We managed to also collect all the girls’ basic data i.e. full names, contact details, area of residence, grade/education level, name of school, performance levels, parent/guardian contacts. It was very vital that we had this information for the purposes of setting up a database for our supporters and/or stellar mentors that will aide in following up with the girl’s progress.


As we all embark on this great graceful journey of growth, million little miracles and possibilities, I would like to raise a glass (of mango juice 😎) and repeat a powerful eminent slogan to our stellar girls saying, “Here’s to strong bold stellar women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!”