Breaking ground is different for every project – for the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ, Kenya, this was achieved during a fundraising event held on 22nd October 2022, at the Queen of Peace region convent in Karen, Nairobi. The dinner “harambee” was a short-term local fundraising to raise capital and awareness for their project, as well as to engage with stakeholders and potential donors and supporters, offering their expertise, skills, knowledge, and future goodwill to the vulnerable girls this project wishes to serve.
Many high school leavers travel to Nairobi and surrounding counties to seek higher education after secondary school. Being far from home, they must look for accommodation close to campuses. Hostels are often situated close to university campuses, offering convenient and quality accommodation, but often these spaces are not very affordable for them.
The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary identified this problem and chose to design and build the Charles Heerey Female Hostel as part of their action learning project in the Social Enterprise Programme – Start-Up, as well as to honour the canonization of their founder.
After identifying the project idea and sharing it with congregational leadership, the project team, and intended parties, the sisters set out on the project design, which has since then been approved. The sisters are now in the resource mobilization stage, with a committee of 12 members (congregational leaders, project team, and lay people). The fundraising dinner hosted several stakeholders including Strathmore University Business School’s, Founding Dean, Dr. George Njenga who attended as the guest of honour – that evening, the sisters raised over 2 million Kenyan Shillings to go towards the construction of the hostel.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary (Queen of Peace Region) convent is nestled in the heart of Karen, neighbouring seven higher learning institutions making it a very viable and attractive project to donors. Through their charism, the sisters will not only offer accommodation, but will also offer psychosexual health education and corporate grooming to guide the girls throughout their stay in university. The congregation has gone further to partner with two companies who will support less privileged girls who may not be able to afford the subsidized accommodation fees.
The hostel will be constructed within the Immaculate Heart of Mary convent in Nairobi and requires an estimated 75 million Kenyan Shillings to construct to completion. The convent already has a borehole in place, and the project team has designed the hostel to be solar powered – these amenities will ensure constant supply of water and electricity to the hostels, without having to rely on external service providers. During the final module of the Social Enterprise Programme – Start -Up, the sisters took part in a mock pitch presentation to hone their presentation skills ahead of future engagements with various donors – the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary plan on requesting for at least 20 million Kenyan Shillings from well-wishers and donors to lay the foundation for the hostel.
The sisters are in the process of preparing a five-year strategic plan and business plan and are planning for other resource mobilization events. Sr. Mary Clara, Sr. Maria and Sr. Kate successfully completed the fourth module of the Social Enterprise Programme – Start-Up on 28th October 2022 and are keen to ensure this project is successful with implementation scheduled to begin at the end of 2022.
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Article by Katherine Keango