Lavender is 23 years old. She is a resilient young lady from Mathare Hospital ward. She faced life the hard way and has had to fight against all odds to emerge successful. After she got pregnant out of wedlock, her parents saw her as a disgrace to the family.
“I felt I betrayed my family that loved me unconditionally. I was not ready to face life alone after the father of my child denied his responsibilities. I had to compose myself because I believed all was not lost. I decided to change my disgrace into grace and embrace my challenge positively. By this time in life, most of my peers had gotten pregnant since it seemed to be the trend’, she narrated with a sad look.
‘In my neighborhood, we were fifteen teenage mothers but i would have desired a different picture. Then, I thought, at my own capacity I would want to be part of the solution to help stop the trend at whichever cost. I felt that I needed to do something to arrest the situation,’ narrated Lavender.
Lavender at the HOPE worldwide Kenya Office in Mathare
where she works as a mentor.
‘The DREAMS project came just at the nick of time, and we were all enrolled into the project. We received mentorship and psycho-social support training which we really needed. During our meetings and interactions, we discovered that we were all facing the same challenges especially economic hardship. Through the DREAMS project, we received financial capability training and learnt about saving. We started table banking where we contributed Kes.50 weekly during our meetings and we would also contribute a separate kitty to take care of emergencies. This has really improved our financial status and towards financial independence. We now do not depend on ‘sponsors’ (transactional sex)’, she said with a smile.
Lavender has been instrumental in influencing other girls positively by changing their mindset. They have a mentality that nothing good can come out of them without engaging in vices like immorality.
‘Currently am pursuing a certificate in journalism at Zetech University. I managed to raise part of my school fees from the casual jobs I do and from additional support from the DREAMS project. I am also proud to have been trained to Mentor other DREAM girls’, she said with a hopeful look.
Lavender and her group participate in a mentorship session by the Witeithie ward,
Member of County Assembly (MCA), Thika County during his visit in Mathare informal settlement.
‘I am grateful for the person am turning to be with the mentorship I receive from the DREAMS project. I have learnt never to give up and not to let my challenges weigh me down. I am so determined to make a difference in my life and other girls from Mathare. I am also proud of the impact I am making to the girls in the community from the skills I have gained from entrepreneurship, financial capability and attending the Social Asset Building (SAB) sessions,’ she said in conclusion.