The Single Mothers group was established in 2008. One of the ideas behind its establishment was to create work opportunities for single mothers from the Kibera slum. Another idea was to employ these women in order for them to get fresh thoughts into their heads while working and to change their (sometimes immoral) habits. They decided to produce paper beads because it is a relatively easy thing to do. They also make juice and detergents, and by so doing make enough money to cover their families’ needs. The girls plan on buying sewing machines to make a living in production and sale of clothing. They also want to open a kindergarten. We wrote down their stories in 2013.
Georgina Atieno, 28
Georgina is one of the founders of Single Mothers. She has two children, 10 and 13 years old. Both children attend fourth grade. As opposed to them, Georgina never attended school because she lost both of her parents at a very early age. She hopes that her children will grow up in better conditions and that they will get a good education. The group is an immense motivator for her. Georgina hopes that the group with reinforce its strength on the market and that it will be successful in the sale of its products. As a job on the side, Georgina also works in the local ‘pub’, which increases her chances of providing a better living for her family.
Jennifer Ongoche, 23
Jennifer has three children, 1, 3 and 6 years old. The youngest is in a crèche. She lives with her parents in the slum.
Jennifer stopped going to school in eighth grade because she did not have enough money. The members of the group contacted her when she could not find a job and taught her how to make paper beads. Thanks to this job, Jennifer can pay her children’s tuition fees and she can also help her mother with her expenses.
Mary Njeri, 26
Mary has three children, 3, 8 and 10 years old. All three attend school. She also takes care of her mother and two cousins. Before Mary joined the Single Mothers group, she worked as a prostitute in order to provide for her family. Apart from learning how to make paper beads while working with the group, she also learned to work with the computer. Thanks to the group, she can now provide a better living for her family. She also plans to give her children a good education. She hopes that the group will secure a better position on the market.
Neddy Muholla, 22
Neddy has a two year old daughter. She finished school in seventh grade. She lives with her mother, who provides for 5 other cousins by selling wood for heating. When Neddy was unemployed, she learned about the Single Mothers group through a friend who gave her the opportunity to make some money by producing paper beads. Thanks to the group, she is now saving money in order to be able to start her own business one day. She also makes some money by washing dirty clothing, in order to help her mother pay her expenses.
Priscilla Amanya, 25
Priscilla has two children, 2 and 6 years old. She also takes care of her three younger sisters because they lost their parents. She also takes care of her grandmother who lives in a village. She stopped going to school in fifth grade. Before Priscilla joined the work group, she took drugs and worked as a prostitute. The group changed her life by giving her a chance when she was at rock bottom. In addition to her work in the Single Mothers group, she makes some money by washing dirty clothing. She plans on selling clothing in order to pay all her children’s expenses.
Winney Obat, 26
Winney is one of the founders of the group. She has a six year old son who attends first grade. He was born after she was raped. The work group is helping Winnie to cope after her trauma. Winnie had to stop going to school in fifth grade because of a lack of money. Her parents have already died and she therefore has to take care of her 5 siblings.