Soul Source is active in promoting the empowerment and education of women and girls in Western Kenya. Active engagement in programming for women’s empowerment programs and educational support for young women in secondary school, college and university, and nursery school in communities in the region have become the goals of Soul Source.
Soul Source is committed to supporting Empowerment for women, girls and families. Holistic and Financial Empowerment is done through women’s self-help groups. Youth empowerment is done through training in schools and Girls Clubs with mentors. Young women and men receive secondary school scholarship and reproductive health education at Kamasengre Mixed Secondary School. One young woman each year from KMSS receives assistance to pursue the degree of her choice in a Kenyan University. Nursery school students receive nourishing breakfast each morning at two different schools.
Holistic Empowerment is done in conjunction with financial empowerment as a part of a four day workshop model developed by David Gershon and Gail Straub of the Empowerment Institute. This includes The seven areas of life and supporting Community relationships: Mental/learning/personal development, Vocational/career/business, Financial, Family, Social, Physical, Spiritual.
Financial empowerment is done in conjunction with the holistic empowerment workshop as an educational tool help implement: Entrepreneurship, Table Banking, and the Merry Go Round.
- Entrepreneurship is basic techniques that help the members of the community to initiate their own income generating activity.
- Table banking is a strategy where the groups meet once every month, and lay their contributions, savings, and loan repayments on the table. Then a few members are able to borrow immediately either as long term or short term loan to be repaid under the terms determined by the group.
- Merry-Go-Round is a savings strategy where the group members bring a small contribution each meeting to donate to the group. One meeting, one group member will take the entire contribution home with her to invest in something she might not be able to save for and pay for on her own such as in important household item or school fees for herself or one of her children. Members take turn receiving this fund so that in the course of 6 months to year, each member while contributing only a small amount, will be able walk away with a large sum she is not expected to pay back expect by continuing to contribute to the regular merry-go-round activity.
Youth mentors help develop youth groups that empower young men and women to stay committed to education. Young women receive access to necessary resources and relationships that help them through puberty. This support and guidance helps youth to build the strength and wisdom to address various situations and challenges.
KMSS scholarship students receive empowerment training through a brief workshop model annually to encourage their development as students and community members. In the Girls Clubs, girls meet weekly to play games, sing songs, and support one another along with their mentor.
The Soul Source Foundation believes that part of empowerment within communities, lies within access to comprehensive education. Young women and men receive secondary school scholarship and reproductive health education at Kamasengre Mixed Secondary School. Additionally, each year a young woman from KMSS receives assistance to pursue the degree of her choice in a Kenyan University. Finally, nursery school students receive nourishing breakfast each morning at two different schools.
Health and Nutrition
Soul Source is a strong believer in taking care of the body so the growth of the mind can follow. The team in the US and the team in Kenya work closely with one another to figure out what the biggest roadblocks to educational and financial success are and then do their best to address them. Consequently, Soul Source now focuses on three specific areas regarding health and nutrition: a porridge program, teaching reproductive health, and providing sanitary products. The porridge program has now been extended to two schools. It provides a daily meal to every child in attendance and also provides jobs for local women. Reproductive health education is also provided for girls and women in Soul Source programs. The women who participate in these programs report feeling better equipped to broach uncomfortable subjects with their children, husbands, and co-wives. The girls learn about reproductive health and how to stick to their academic goals. Soul Source also provides sanitary products so girls do not have to miss school and fall behind because of their periods.
The Operation My People scholarship program is our program that identifies secondary school students with academic promise and economic need to receive a 3/4 scholarship which aims to empower young girls to stay in school through their secondary education and potentially impact the poverty cycle that is part of their community history.
It provides a steady stream of support to the Kamasengre Mixed Secondary School to offset unpaid school fees ensuring the school’s performance as a whole is not jeopardized and improving teacher retention. In this way, not only the 40 sponsored students are affected, but all students enrolled benefit from the stability which the sponsorships help provide. As the school continues to improve, it becomes increasingly eligible for more public funding and the community prospers as well. Recently, the school enrollment has double per request of the government.
Post secondary educational support enable partnerships with two young women who are following their dreams of earning a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and English Literature. We are actively pursuing partnerships for scholarships of other interested students by connecting them with other opportunities for academic support.
In recent years Soul Source has begun working with local school and community leaders to identify students whose success in secondary school has created opportunities to pursue further education at college, university, or vocational programs. Once identified we help finance next steps in their career development with scholarships that cover tuition and fees. Currently students participating in this program are seeking to become nurses, teachers and other professions that will have a transformative impact on their communities.