Nancy Wanjiku is a single mother with two daughters living in the Kangemi slum in Kenya. After being made redundant from her job in housekeeping, she didn’t know how the family would survive. But joining a Women’s empowerment programme, supported by Trócaire, Nancy realised skills she never knew she had which opened up a new future for her and her children.
Living in her two-bedroom home with her two daughters in Kangemi on the outskirts of Nairobi, life was good for Nancy. Living conditions are very poor in her area but she had a good job, in charge of housekeeping at a local organisation where she had worked for 10 years. However this all changed when new management took over and she was abruptly made redundant.
Forced to move into a single room with her two children, she did odd jobs just to survive. But life was very difficult. “If I did not have the church, I would have lost my way,” she said.
She then heard about the Uzima Women and Girls empowerment programme at the local parish of St Joseph’s. Funded by Trócaire, the aim of the programme is to eliminate discrimination against women and empower women and girls to take on equal roles in the community.
Nancy joined the Uzima programme where she was able to gain a number of vocational skills. She studied computers, fashion and catering to name a few. But realising where her passions lay, she focused her training on computers studies and fashion and design.
Through her newly acquired skills, Nancy was able to start her small tailoring business. She was supported further by Trócaire and given a sewing machine for her exemplary work in class.
Starting with making clothes for her daughters and some of her neighbours’ children, she quickly gained the confidence and skills to branch out further. Making the most of her computer skills, she then began to sell the clothes online and today is able to make a solid income.
Nancy is delighted that she can now afford to pay school fees for her daughters and buy enough food and basic commodities. From her training she has learnt to be independent and knows that by working hard, she can make life much better for her and her children. And all while doing something she loves.