SEED Trust has been assisting under privileged children since 1992 to acquire formal education. The parents/guardians of these children have over the years received support in business development services which has enhanced their livelihoods and enabled them to educate the rest of the children who are not directly in the education programme. SEED Trust has been operating with limited resources reaching out to a handful clientele, mainly school children and their parents who are trained in business management skills and offered credit facilities to improve their businesses. Since Nov. 2008 the organization increased its outreach to other needy target group including those whose children are not under sponsorship. The education support policy ensures that only one child is supported in a family while the rest are educated by parents/guardians through the developed businesses. More parents/guardians now access business entrepreneurial skills to start and further develop their small businesses. A number of school going age children are also able to access formal education which is key in any constructive and sustainable development.
Over the years, experience has shown a difference in performance of businesses owned by entrepreneurs who have children under education support versus those who are only supported in business development. Clients with the double support tend to perform better in their businesses and loan repayments is much better despite the fact that only one child is supported in a family. Some of the reasons for different performance between the two sets of clients are:
- The over reliance on business by the family with regard to school fees expenses is reduced when the burden of a child’s school fees is taken over by the organization. Paying school fees is a major burden to many families in Kenya and the situation is much worse among those in the lowest income bracket. It is often a major factor which affects the growth or sustenance of micro and small businesses.
- The motivation to work hard in their businesses and repay the loans promptly is much higher than that of ordinary loan clients without education support for any of their children.
- The parents not only have the chance to concentrate on other children but harmony is realized among spouses which creates a healthy environment for the businesses to flourish.
The target are the poor living in the slums, most of whom are single mothers. They run small businesses which are a source of their livelihood. Most of the businesses are of trade in nature with a few production and service ventures. Having had links with this target group over the years, the organization is in a position to address a wider range of needs of the people by providing guidance, education and other resources at its disposal to improve the status and standard of lives of it’s target group.
This project intends to further expand its outreach to many of the under privileged children who are not able to afford formal education on the one hand and to support micro enterprises through business skills training and credit provision on the other.
The project fits well into the agenda of Global millennium development goals’ (MDG’s) vision which include education for all and poverty eradication.