By Cian Molloy - 10 August, 2019
“I have learned to be independent, and I know that by working hard I can make life much better for me and my children.”
A Kenyan mother of two is forging ahead as a clothes maker and online trader thanks to a women’s empowerment programme supported by the Irish Catholic aid agency Trócaire.
Nancy Wanjiku lives with her two daughters in Kangemi, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi. For 10 years Nancy had a good job as a housekeeper with a local organisation but she was made redundant following a management change.
As a result of her job loss, she and her two children were forced to leave their home and move into a single room. Nancy did odd jobs to survive, but she described life as “very difficult”.
“If I did not have the church, I would have lost my way,” she said.
It was through her local parish, St Joseph’s, that she heard of a women’s empowerment programme, Uzima, which is part-funded by Trócaire. Uzima aims to eliminate discrimination against women by empowering them to take on equal roles in the community.
Through the programme, Nancy learned vocational skills in catering, computing and the fashion industry, the last of which she particularly focused on to start a small tailoring business.
Trócaire was able to provide funding for a sewing machine for Nancy – the result of her exemplary class work.
The mother of two started off making clothes for her daughters and some of her neighbours’ children. She then started to trade online, with the result that she now has a solid source of income.
In addition to being able to afford food and basic commodities, Nancy can now also afford to pay school fees so that her two daughters can advance in life.
“From my training, I have learned to be independent and I know that by working hard I can make life much better for me and my children,” she says. “And all the while doing something I love.”
Nancy is just one of tens of thousands of people in the developing world whose lives have been transformed thanks to the faithful’s support for Trócaire, the Irish Church’s overseas aid agency.