When Pauline & Florentine decided to start Mom in Balance Kenya in 2016, they immediately agreed on one thing. Besides starting this concept in Kenya, they also wanted to give back to the community in a sustainable way.
Esther van Diepen, founder Mom in Balance, shared this passion and determined and driven as she is, in no time she found the perfect partner; Women Win. Women Win globally promotes women rights through sports. Women Win partners with local partners and in Kenya, they work with Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP). VAP translates to Youth Together in Peace from Swahili.
VAP combines soccer & general sports practice with sessions involving life skills for children from slums in Nairobi. This program is called GOAL. The GOAL program exists of 5 modules: Be Yourself, Be Healthy, Be Empowered, Be Money Savvy, Be Independent.
After an introduction meeting end of last year, Pauline & Florentine decided together with Esther to investigate how Mom in Balance could contribute to the current methods of these two organizations. In January 2018 Pauline and Florentine visited the extensive program of VAP in Buru Buru. They showed them a class taking an exam, received a presentation of girls sharing their ambitions, and joined a Tailor-, Beauty- and Computer Class. It was very clear how professional and engaged this organization is in developing skills with girls to make their profession out of. After a meeting with the coaches and the director of VAP, it was clear they had a problem; it seemed girls as young as 14 and 18 years old dropped out of the program due to (unwanted) pregnancies. These girls completely disappear from their communities and social environment. Out of shame, out of insecurity, and from a feeling of belonging nowhere.
Pauline & Florentine decided to join their forces for this specific group and redesign the Mom in Balance concept as a tool to solve these problems. 'How can we make sure these girls won´t remain locked up in their homes and drop out of this program? How can we make sure these girls keep active, regain self-esteem and feel they belong somewhere, belong to a community of positivity with girls going through the same things as them?'
In the summer of 2018, the Education team helped out to simplify the Mom in Balance concept with the above in mind. Using appropriate content for this specific pilot to train the coaches of VAP enabling them to provide the workout to their girls. A difficult task, imagine that concepts like hormones, the pelvic floor and diastasis are a complete Abracadabra to them...
On Friday, November 16th Mom in Balance Kenya kicked off with the first Train the Coaches workshop! Florentine & Pauline gave a workout with the entire group in the African sun on a terracotta sandy field within old buildings in Buru Buru followed by a presentation showing them the core basics and value of our program. After an interactive break, the ladies were split up in teams to present a block of the workout. Incredible to see the energy and enthusiasm they had and how positive and joyful their appearances were. They have the Mom in Balance DNA flowing in their bloodstream!
Doing this workshop was very insightful for Florentine & Pauline; the energy and positivity is an absolutely natural fit and it is now clear how to best reach this young and vulnerable group of girls and what to teach them. Even if these girls show up during the workouts, the impact has already been made. They can´t wait to scale this pilot in 2019 and share the gospel of Mom in Balance in this part of the world and make a difference for these girls ánd their community. Strong women make a better world!