KANGEMI MIRACLE CHILDREN’S CAREGIVERS SELF-HELP GROUP
The ten-member group from the Kangemi community specializes in making beads from paper. They collect paper scraps and roll them into various bead sizes and shapes, then varnish and string them with small glass beads and plastic beads. Bone jewelry is also a specialty of theirs. This is a relatively newly formed group, founded in 2011. The members show great initiative and work hard to expand their product line. They meet once a week at the Lea Toto Kangemi Center where they can converse about their lives blessings and challenges, all while handcrafting their unique products. They also reach out to other newly formed self-help groups to train them in specific skills.
PROJECT VISION To enable the members to bring their energy together and uplift themselves through various income-generating activities.
PROJECT MISSION Create a savings scheme among its members
Train all the members on its basic beadwork training
Share life experiences, especially with regards to HIV challenges
Rosemary was born on February 23, 1969 in Musasa. She is the sixth born of eight; she has three sisters and five brothers, but four of her siblings have passed. Rosemary attended the local school in Musasa through Standard eight.
Rosemary is married to Charles and they have four children. Christbel, their oldest child and only daughter, is 21. She went to hair dressing school and is doing very well for herself. Rodney, their son, is 14 and in Class eight; and their youngest son, Alex, is six years old and in Class one. In 2008 they lost their son Kevin who was just 15 years old when he died. Rosemary’s first husband and father to her two oldest children passed when the children were young, and Charles has been supporting the family since.
Charles works as a driver and is the main provider for the household. Rosemary supplements his income through the sales of her jewelry and handmade wooden purses.
Since the family is not originally from Nairobi they do not own any land here. This makes it a challenge to pay rent and buy food. Their family’s rent is KSH3000 (US$39) per month for one room, and they also have school fees to pay.
Rosemary dreams to go on, and to manage to live by boosting her business. She wants to continue to care for children and get them through school.
Joyce was born on April 27, 1969 in the Matsiguru village in the Vihiga district. She was the first born of nine children; she has three sisters and five brothers. Joyce attended the village school through Standard eight, but was never able to take the final exam.
Joyce cares for seven children, one of who is her sister’s. She has two girls and five boys; the oldest is in Standard eight and the baby is almost two years old. Joyce is married, but her husband is unemployed and does not help in caring for the family. She supports her family through the sales of her necklaces and homemade detergent soap. Joyce does know how to make bar soap, but does not have the equipment or the space to make and dry it at this time.
The biggest challenge for her family is keeping the children in school because the fees and cost of uniforms is burdensome.
Joyce wants to develop herself and help others. She wants all of her children to finish school and to be happy.
Jane was born in 1968 in Macokas and is the fourth born in her family. She has five brothers and seven sisters! She attended the local school in Macokas through Standard seven, but then her family could no longer afford the school fees.
Jane was married in 1990. Together they had four children, but sadly their eldest son and first born, Joseph, passed in July 2012 when he was 26. Their daughter Mary is 23 and in college; Waithira, their second daughter, is 13 years old and in Class seven; and Lucy, the youngest daughter, is six years old and in Class one.
Her husband has a small business selling produce from his farm. However, the market is very poor because it is located in an area with no tourists, and the local community cannot sustain them. Jane also works by selling her crafts such as purses out of wooden beads, and bangles. The biggest challenges for her family are providing school fees and children’s clothes. Monthly they are only money for the household.
Jane dreams of having all of her children finish school and being able to sell her crafts regularly.
Zipporah was born in Limuru on October 28, 1968. She was one of six children raised in a single parent home; her mother still lives in Limuru. Her one brother and four sisters all live in the Nairobi area. Zipporah was educated through Class eight.
Zipporah has two daughters; her oldest, Catherine Wangari, is 27 and lives out of town and works as a gospel singer. Her younger daughter, Gorret Wairimu, is 13 and in Standard 8. The two of them live together; like her mother, Gorret is HIV+ and is a client at Lea Toto.
The main sources of income for her family include the sales of her crafts through the self-help group, and some money she earns selling soap in her neighborhood and local market. She makes enough money to cover rent and school fees, but Zipporah struggles when customers do not pay for their items or do not shop from her. She hopes that her soap business will continue to grow and can support her in the future.
Zipporah found lots of support and help when she joined the group; she went from being “down” to understanding HIV. She is now taking ARVs and goes to church, and she is feeling much more healthy and better than she did before becoming part of Miracle Children Caregivers group.
Grace was born in 1960 in the western part of Kenya. She is an only child; both of her parents have passed. Grace went to primary school through Class seven.
Grace was married to Joel Mmbi, also from the western part of Kenya, but he passed in 1999. She is now a single parent to five children. They were born in 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, and 1994. Her second child died when they were just ten years old.
She relies on Tuko Pamoja and her beadwork to support her family. Grace makes dolls, necklaces, and other beaded items. She is happy because the opportunities for her to sell her beadwork are increasing. As a single parent, it is a challenge to provide for her family with only one income.
Grace hopes her children will go to college, and will be able to acquire their own plots of land to build homes.