FRIENDS OF THE KAREN STREET CHILDREN: THE LUCKY ONES
Grace Neema joined us in January 2016. She comes from a deeply impoverished single-parent family and had achieved reasonable marks in her Primary school exams. When she started in secondary school, however, she found the going very tough. After lengthy discussions she agreed to transfer to a vocational training college where she immediately thrived and specialised in Dressmaking and Fashion Design. She completed in 2019 and was fortunate to find employment in January this year with Zeb & Effie, a niche high-end clothes designing company which takes pride in employing less fortunate girls. She was becoming part of the team and developing new skills when, like everything else, the business had to close temporarily. She was extremely lucky that her employer agreed to continue her salary to enable her to support her mother and two sisters during this difficult time.
Elizabeth’s story was similar to Grace’s. She arrived in Embulbul, a peri-urban slum area close to Nairobi to live with an “aunt” having completed two struggling years in High School. We were alerted to her difficult circumstances and agreed to take her on but on condition that she also attended St Columba’s Technical Training College. She reluctantly agreed but when she got there, she loved it – she had found her niche. From being bottom of the class in school she achieved Distinctions in all her subjects and became Head Girl. After qualifying she started an internship at Brood, one of Kenya’s top artisan bakeries, and her hard work ethos and happy manner meant that she was given permanent employment. As a key worker she is now assured of a good income to support all her extended family.