The Lea Toto twelve-member women’s group from the Dagoretti district specializes in beaded home décor and jewelry, featuring small glass beads and thin wire. These women are a text book example of entrepreneurship. Good Hope group members are always presenting new product ideas, their craft quality is near flawless, and there diversity of products makes them a go-to group with product ideas from the states. Meeting once a week as a group, they share product ideas and train one another in new skills.
To work for every woman and give them a way to provide good health, better education and enough food for their children.
PROJECT MISSION Empower the members financially though Micro-finance initiatives such as table banking
Learn and sell craft products, especially beadwork
Carry out community outreach to other HIV infected families
Give psychological and social support to the caregivers
Elizabeth was born on February 28, 1963 in Nairobi. She has ten siblings! Elizabeth is the first born of four boys and seven girls. Growing up she was able to attend school through Form two. After that her father left the family and she had to drop out to stay at home and help her mother.
Elizabeth has three grown children. Her oldest, a son named George, is 25; her daughter Eunice is 22; and her youngest daughter, Lydia, is 20. She was widowed when her children were young, and she has been raising them alone since.
She does what she can to provide for her family, and even volunteers as a Community Health Worker (CHW) and providing palliative care. Her love and commitment to helping others is evident in all that she does! When Lea Toto has meetings Elizabeth is hired to cook for the staff and guests. For the Good Hope Self-Help Group she specializes in beading bowls. Her biggest challenge is when she visits the homes of her clients as a CHW and she sees they have no food; she then shares what she has. Elizabeth also tries to teach others how to make liquid soap.
Elizabeth prays that God will provide medicine for all those living with HIV, and that someday there will be a cure.
Ann Wairimu Kimani
Ann was born on May 13, 1978 in Nakuru. She is one of sixteen children; four of them have passed and her parents died last year.
Ann was educated through Class six. She was previously married for eight years before she and her husband separated. Ann now raises her two children has a single parent; Kevin Gichuni is 15, and Joyce Gatchoni is nine.
She supports her family through casual work, washing clothes, and craftwork. As part of Good Hope Self-Help Group, Ann is responsible for making jewelry and training others.
Ann’s biggest challenge is providing the school fees for her children’s educations. Kevin, her son is HIV+, is blind, and has problems walking. Finding a school to accommodate his disabilities is difficult.
She hopes that she can find a stable market for her products so that she can rely on a monthly income. Ann’s priority is to educate her children. Someday she hopes to visit the U.S. to explore the market and to share her story.
Florence was born on May 14, 1978 and was 34 at the time of this interview. She was born in the Nakuru Village, and her family name is Molo. Her entire family is alive and well, including her parents. Florence is one of five children, with three brothers and one sister. She attended school and completed Form 4, graduating at Level O.
Florence is a HIV+ single-mother, caring for three of her own children and housing her cousin’s daughter who is eighteen, educated through Form 4, but unable to find work. Her oldest son, John, is twelve and in Class 7. Job is eight and in Class 3; he is HIV+ and a Lea Toto client. Her youngest is her only daughter, Grace, and she is 15 months. Florence’s biggest challenge is supporting her family on the sales of her beadwork. She participates in Good Hope Self-Help group, and also sells some of her own crafts at the mobile Maasai market in Nairobi. Her meager wages are used to raise her children, paying for their school fees and affording food. Lea Toto provides the necessary medication for her son, Job, but other resources are limited. Unfortunately ends don’t always meet and they go without meals.
In the future Florence hopes to continue to educate her children so they can live a good life, and in turn support her.
Nancy was born on April 24, 1975 in the Dagoretti community of Nairobi. She has a brother and a sister, and they and her father all live in Dagoretti. Her mother passed away.
Nancy completed college where she studied counseling. She is a single parent to two children. Her son, Roy Mbaki, is 16 years old and in Form two. Her daughter, Mary Ann, is 10 years old and in Class five.
Nancy is a volunteer with Lea Toto in her community. For Good Hope she makes beaded bowls, necklaces, bracelets and boxes. Her biggest challenge is the lack of market for her product.
Nancy hopes to see her children get a good education, medication and shelter. She would like to find a stable source of income. Nancy thanks Tuko Pamoja and says the program has improved the lives of her and Good Hope members. The increased income helps to pay for housing and school fees.
Elizabeth was born in the Limutu district on August 22, 1954 and was 58 at the time of this interview. Her eight siblings - four brothers and four sisters - are all alive and well, but her parents have passed. Elizabeth was educated through Form 2 and speaks lovely English, which is helpful for the self-help group and their marketing.
Elizabeth is married to Peter Kinuthia, and he is a driver in the city. Elizabeth has four children; her first daughter, Beatrice, passed away when she was just five years old from HIV. Anthony Kirie is 35 years old and he holds a regular job as a mechanic. He is married with two children! Her second oldest son, Rufus Njino, is 30 years old with one child. Her youngest, Patrick Rimui, is 25 years old with one child. Both Rufus and Patrick work construction whenever jobs become available, but they are not always reliable. The entire family lives together in a compound, but in different homes.
As a volunteer Community Health Worker, Elizabeth well known and well respected in her neighborhood. Since Elizabeth and her family move often, she has no steady paid employment and earns income selling her beadwork.
Elizabeth loves her family, and hopes for many more grandchildren! She is excited to have friends outside of Kenya and is grateful for their help.