Shoes by Shaherazad has been supporting a couple of projects in Kenya which empower women since the launch of my business 3 years ago, and so I wanted to share some of the progress from one of them: Raising Futures Kenya.
This is a truly female powered organisation which I was introduced to by Deborah Kimathi (a trustee) who is based in Kenya. Then last year, the new UK Director Vic Hancock Fell asked me if I would be a Patron for Raising Futures Kenya.
And of course, I just had to say, "yes please"!
Read on to find out why ....
A Little About Kenya
Kenya is a country in East Africa and is home to more than 38 million people, with about 4 million residing in its capital city of Nairobi. It has a hot climate due to its location. It lies directly on the equator, and is surrounded by Uganda to the south, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia to the north. The country’s official languages are Swahili and English. It does not have an official religion, though Christianity is highly prevalent throughout the country. Over half of the country's population live in poverty.
It is generally free for children to attend school in Kenya, but many children do not go, as they are too busy helping their families work the land, fetch water, and other necessary tasks for basic survival.
What is Raising Futures Kenya?
It's an organisation which supports vulnerable children and young adults in Kenya with a particular focus on education and vocational skills. This cause really resonated with me as it is keenly aware of the need to empower women and girls, and it proactively works with people of all faiths and of none.
So What Does That Mean in Practical Terms?
The organisation works with young people who have been exposed to issues such as child marriage, prostitution and extreme poverty. Students get access to life skills, business skills and vocational skills through Raising Futures Kenya which they would not otherwise have had.
Shoes by Shaherazad has donated some money for the last 3 years to enable graduates in Kenya to set up in business. Particularly in areas such as fashion design, dressmaking, mechanics and computing. Of course, the topic choice is up to the girls who take the courses - the dignity of choice is so very important.
Raising Futures Kenya also supports children who have been re-integrating back to their families after having grown up in children's homes. Poverty tears families apart and over 80% of the children in orphanages in East Africa have living family members - they end up in orphanages because their families are poor. The charity seeks to redress as much of this as it can by providing support to the families to set up income generating activities to boost household income and have the resources they need to pay for the children's basic needs.
It has also established two specialist schools for children with disabilities. Importantly, having helped establish the two schools, the charity handed them over to the community and worked with local government to encourage local ownership; an important tactic in improving long term poverty issues.
When Will The Work Be Done?
Raising Futures Kenya's vision is a world in which all children and young people in Kenya live with dignity, opportunity and hope. You can join in if you wish by donating via the charity's web page or treating yourself to a pair of new heels from Shoes by Shaherazad (100% of the profits go to good causes around the world). Regular progress updates can also be seen on the charity's webpage.
Can Heels Really Do Good Deeds?
These are guilt free heels - happiness for you and an education for her.