The daily lives of those living in the maternity home is multi-faceted and offer an enriching family atmosphere.
Prenatal/Postnatal Care-Each new resident receives medical care through the maternity home, beginning with a thorough physical exam at a safe hospital. A normal delivery cost between $900-up to $2000 for emergency c-section and all medical expenses will be covered by Mercy House. If they have health issues (such as HIV), they receive needed medications and support. Regular check-ups are performed by the hospital nurse. Girls receive proper nutrition through a balanced, nutritious diet. The home is equipped with emergency birthing supplies, but girls deliver at a nice private hospital located close to the home. The girls receive excellent care and follow doctor's guidelines during their postnatal experience. Breastfeeding is highly encouraged, although formula will be available to moms with HIV.
Nutrition-This is a crucial area in the programming. Because of extreme poverty, food often has low-nutritional value. Protein is rare and many times it is hard to find. There is education on proper nutrition while pregnant, while nursing and on what to feed babies and children. False information will be dispelled. Each resident receives 3 healthy balanced daily portions that include: fresh vegetables, protein, eggs and milk, plus they partake in traditional tea times twice a day.
Counseling-Since rape and abuse are such a huge contributing factor to unplanned/unwanted pregnancies, there is extensive counseling in this area by the staff counselor and also the private hospital has a Crisis Rape Program. Counseling for emotional issues, family problems and personal crisis is also available. We also have group therapy, and books and resources to aid in the healing process.
Our staff has received very specific training dealing with counseling children in trauma it is called Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(TF-CBT), a model with ten stages.
TF-CBT is an effective, flexible, culturally sensitive/adaptable to other cultures and adaptable for use by non-professionals it was discovered by Becca C Johnson a psychologist from America. It is a counseling that encourages progress, educates about trauma, teaches self-help skills, addresses thoughts and feelings that affects our behaviors, focuses on one’s trauma, encourages sharing one’s story, involves caregivers in the healing process and evaluates unhealthy perspectives.
The components are: Psycho-education; Emotion regulation; Correcting unhelpful beliefs;Trauma narrative and Positive parenting
Spiritual-This is the most important part of the program because we can offer opportunity, but only Christ can offer true hope. Every aspect of the home occurs prayerful perspective. Sound Biblical teaching occurs on a daily basis, with morning and evening devotions. Regular church attendance is required. While religion is not forced and girls don't have to be Christians to live in the maternity home, they do have to participate in meetings. The local church is a resource.
Education-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 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. There is a certified teacher on staff who will help the girls a few hours a day with their studies. Once our girls enter their second year in our home and have reached certain milestones, they will attend a local girls private school. 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.
Outreach- We want the maternity home to have a positive impact on the slums and surrounding community. We hold bi-annual Community Outreahes that include positive community development. In our first year of exisitence, we have helped a local school in the slum and also a home for disabled children. Future plans include
Mom Mentoring Groups- coming in 2014. This outreach will take place in the slum, targeting pregnant teens and single moms. We will be conducting Discovery Bible Studies and developing relationships in weekly meetings. The moms will learn valuable life skills as well as have the opportunity to make products to help sustain their lives.
Skills for Living- The maternity home does not hire staff to perform all household tasks. It is imperative the girls are trained with skills for living: preparing and cooking nutritional meals, gardening, shopping in the local market, bargaining for the best price, cleaning, laundry, budgeting finances and childcare. Much of this training happens by living and working together.
Job Skills-There are 2 hours set aside each day for learning and completing sustainable skills:
-Sewing: the maternity home owns four sewing machines and our skills teaches teaches basic sewing skills.
-Jewelry: hand-crafted paper beads will be created with recycle paper to make gorgeous pieces of jewelry. Unique samples have already been made!
-Crafts: Paper mache mobiles will be a colorful addition to anyone's home decor, along with unique art are part of the crafts our girls make. These items will be made from 100% recyclable materials.
-Other-craft-making skills will be taught
Check out our store for one-of-a-kind creations our girls make.
Personal Economic Development Account:
All proceeds from product goes to Rehema House in Nairobi, Kenya. Rehema House allocates a portion (25%) of the funds it receives from the items sold for the future sustainability of each girl. The other 75% is used for education.
Two-Four Year Program: Although we will help each of our residents with an individual exit plan upon graduation, this is our overall framework for our girls
First year and second year- healing, become mothers, personal transformation, participate in programs in the home
Third and fourth years- residents attend primary or vocational school nearby, gain more independence, have regular home visits, toddlers begin baby classes in the home.
Mercy 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's possible.
Social worker will check-in on their progress, access needs, offer guidance. Mercy House will continue to pay school fees or for them to start a business. 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 possibiilty after several years. Some residents don't have a home to return, so in these special cases, we will offer more assistance.