How $8 can change someone's life - Teresa Kerubo Okemwa

Please meet Teresa Kerubo Okemwa, a charmingly bold twelve-year-old Kenyan girl who received a donated school uniform this past summer. Being one of two children raised by a single mom, it’s almost a miracle that she gets to be in school. That’s because in Kenya, school isn’t free.

Along with the yearly academic fees comes another strict requirement: the school uniform. Many families, like Teresa’s, might not be able to pull enough money together for the fees and the uniform. Too often, those girls never get to go to school. As a result they marry young, make little to no income, and have children of their own that they struggle to support. And if those children are daughters? The cycle starts again.

“I so much appreciate your support,” Teresa spiritedly asked us to tell you. “In your hands lies the future of my educational dream accomplishment.”

Her “educational dream” isn’t just about her own education. She wants to be a teacher. Right now her favorite subjects are math, English, and Swahili. She’s pretty gifted with words for a twelve-year-old; there’s no doubt she’ll be a great language arts teacher someday.

When she received her uniform, she said it made her feel wanted and accepted by her village, and her self-esteem swelled. That plain, unembellished dress with a light matching sweater–identical to all the others–made her feel seen. Who knew such a simple garment could hold so much meaning? So simple, in fact, it takes only an hour or two to make. And it costs the equivalent of about eight U.S. dollars.


Now Teresa’s school term is in full swing, and families are already starting to prepare for the next one. But there are still many more young Kenyan girls who don’t know where they’ll be on that January morning when school starts: in the classroom with their peers? Or at home tending chores.img_3363

Your generous gift of $8 will give one more girl the chance to feel the elation Teresa felt this summer. But it gets better: in this case, your gift holds twice as much power. That’s because you won’t just be donating the uniform. Instead, on behalf of the girl who will receive the uniform, you’ll be hiring Seeds to Sew seamstresses in their very own community to make it. These are the Seeds to Sew participants who are building on the skills that they have learned through their programs to build their own market, locally. The woman making it could easily be the girl’s own mother, or aunt, or neighbor.

img_3385Seeds to Sew International has been helping women and girls in Kenya raise money for their education and other basic life needs since 2011. Our method is through empowerment; we teach them new job skills and how to apply them to become entrepreneurs. This summer, with the help of Hopewell, NJ area high school students, we successfully raised money to fund a sewing center for women in the rural subsistence farming village of Nyanchonori, Kenya.

Getting the sewing center established with machines and materials was just the first step. The women are trained, ready to work, and ready to earn an income. Now they need customers. And with your help, we know just where to find them.

The eight primary schools in the Nyanchonori area have estimated that there are 194 girls in need of uniforms for the upcoming January term. That will be here before you know it, so we are asking for your help now. With each uniform costing only around $8, this means we’d need to raise just over $1,500 to get every single one of those girls in a uniform for the term.


Now that she’s in school, Teresa Kerubo Okemwa isn’t just improving her own personal life. The nation needs her to be in school, too. For each year that a girl in a developing country gets to attend primary school, her eventual working wages are boosted by 10 to 20 percent. For a year in secondary school, those wages are boosted by 15 to 25 percent.

And because women and girls typically invest about 90% of their income back into their families, it’s said that when a girl is educated, two img_8390smnations benefit: the nation of her own family, and that of the family she will marry into. If even 10% more girls are able to go to secondary school, the country’s economy could grow by 3%.

By sending a gift today of $16, you’ll not only get two girls in uniforms for the January term, but you’ll also be helping the newly trained seamstresses start to build a market within their own community. We’re calling it the “Sare za shule Fund”, which is the Swahili word for school uniform. And, as I hope my letter has conveyed, that uniform actually means so much more. With your generosity, those 194 girls will have uniforms long before the term even begins. And the women who made them will be well on their way to running a successful business.



Like Teresa and all the women and girls who will benefit from this fundraiser, we want to personally thank you. These girls are all at a crossroads. Your kindness and support could be the one thing that determines which direction their lives take them.

We’ve all heard that it takes a village to raise a child. But did we ever truly consider just how much a girl could change that village? If given the chance.

Let’s find out. Let’s see what these girls can do.


Thank You! Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent under the law. Seeds to Sew International, Inc. is an IRS 501(c)3 organization, Tax ID #27‐2460832.