A vision that has been years in the making, was finally made a reality. It’s beautiful to see every piece of the puzzle fall into perfect place. Our biggest concern as we launched was finding a way to economically transport the girls from different points in the community to The Zoe House. We didn’t want to use boda bodas (motorcycles) to transport pregnant girls and moms with young children and trying to use Uber would be difficult to coordinate and over our budget.
The Zoe House welcomes young mothers
You can imagine the shock when our volunteer mentioned her dad owns and drives a taxi (van) and she could ask him if he would be interested in helping in the mornings and evenings. It was a surreal moment to see the taxi driving through the gate with Uncle Jackson at the wheel.
We cheered for the girls as we welcomed them to The Zoe House. As they settled into the home, four girls nervously sat crammed together on the couch trying to make sense of the new environment. Our Program Coordinator, Sheria, is truly gifted at infusing the days with fun and we carefully thought through ice breakers and team building activities that would help us get to know each other on a deeper level.
While we worked in the kitchen to serve up breakfast tea, porridge, and bread Sheria kicked off the morning with a simple activity – having the girls find their name on the wall. You could start to visibly see the girls loosen up as smiles emerged on their faces.
After breakfast, we headed outside to play the “bedsheet game” where the girls go around and share their names, favorite food and favorite thing to do. After we’ve all had a turn to share, we split into teams and take turns trying to guess a member of the opposite team’s name, favorite food and favorite thing to do. It was a great exercise in listening and remembering what others share.
Teambuilding activities and icebreakers
We love that we can already identify the class clowns, the creatives and the caretakers in the group. In this activity, their personalities began to shine through. Sheria ended the bedsheet game by asking every girl to hold a corner of the bedsheet while she tied the game to a larger message about unity.
After the game outside, we took the time to introduce our leadership team. Sheria made the mistake of asking the girls if they wanted us to do anything for them and can you guess what their answer ended up being? DANCING. So we put on some music and each took turns dancing (or doing a stroke as its called here). Every embarrassing and horrible dance move is worth it to see the girls laugh, relax and let their guards down). During introductions, our hairdressing instructor, Mrs. Rosette, gave a motivational speech where she encouraged the mothers to believe in themselves and their ability to accomplish the course ahead of them.
At lunch, there was a moment where we saw the heart of these young, brave mammas. We noticed one girl was not finishing her lunch and we wanted to know if there was a problem. She quietly mentioned she was saving the rest of her food for her sleeping child. How beautiful to see this young mom willing to sacrifice her own meal to feed her child. Of course, we told her to eat up because we had plenty left over to feed her child when he woke up.
After lunch, the girls began orientation for the hairdressing course where Mrs. Rosette went over customer care and proper ways to cover your customers before working on their hair. Our house mom even happily volunteered to be the customer of the day. We can’t wait for the day when we can give these mothers a chance to work on actual customers.
The hairdressing class begins
The day ended with daily reflections where each momma went around the room sharing something they learned that day. The girls also shared their expectations for the course to help us understand what they desired to get from their time at The Zoe House.
Every mom is made for more
One moment that stood out from the rest happened when we introduced the name of the program – Made For More. The girls started to chant, “I’m made for more” in unison, their voices echoing throughout the home. It was one of those moments you want to freeze in time. Our hope is by the end of the program they will know they are made for more and can walk confidently in their purpose.
This is only the beginning of a beautiful journey as we equip young moms with the skills to start and manage their own businesses. They are each made for more and we are thankful for our supporters around the globe who are championing these young mammas and giving them access to resources and training they wouldn’t normally have. Most teen moms are chased out of school and often overlooked by society, but at The Zoe House, we remind these young moms that they are worthy and more than capable of making an impact in this world.