Our residents are school-aged girls and since many Kenyan schools don’t allow pregnant girls to continue their education, they need tutoring because they have fallen behind. The maternity home provides a safe, positive environment for the students to continue their studies in core subjects. During the first year in the home the girls are home schooled. Once our girls begin their second year in the home and have reached certain milestones, they will attend a local girls private school or vocational school. After their second year in the home, when possible, the girls transition back to their families and attend school near their home. Education is absolutely crucial in Kenya and we want to do everything in our power to help them pass their Form One test (primary through 8th grade) and then go onto high school. Students can enter/graduate high school at any age in Kenya.
Although we will help each of our residents with an individual exit plan upon graduation, this is the overall framework for our girls
First year and second year- healing, become mothers, personal transformation, participate in programs in the home
After two years, it will be determined if the residents are ready to attend public school locally or near their familes. At this point, residents attend primary or vocational school, gain more independence, have regular home visits, toddlers begin baby classes.
Rehema House is a lot like long term foster care in the USA, with the goal of reuniting families always at the forefront. There are quarterly family visits at Rehema House. Towards the end of Phase 1, girls visit home with a social worker if it is possible.
The staff social worker will check in on their progress, assess needs, and offer guidance. Mercy House will continue to pay school fees or for them to start a business if they complete our programs. (In 2015, we will move to a sponsorship model for graduates). There will also be the option to continue producing items and exporting them to be sold in the U.S.
About half of our girls have a home to return to in the slum. They came into our home because they had no other options, but our goal is to help reintegrate them back into their family IF this is a possibility after several years. Some residents don’t have a home to return to, so in these special cases we will offer more assistance.