We are now in Kisumu, Kenya. We had the most wonderful day! We met up with one of our partner NGO’s located in Kisumu called Our Lady of Perpetual Support (OLPS).
OLPS is an organization that is very dear to Mama Hope because the work they do inspired us to create an organization that helps communities. It is where and why Mama Hope began.
Today we met with the Women’s Small Business group, who because of support have been able to start their own businesses to provide for their families. The women sew clothes and linens, make jewelry, baskets, purses, and hats which they sell at the market in order to generate income. They were all trained in their trade by OLPS, and were given a small amount of funding to start up their business.
Two of the women invited us to their homes which they worked out of. They were in the OLPS program and were given a small amount of money, to rent a sewing machine. With that they began sewing clothes, and within a couple months they were earning enough money to feed their families. Lucy was one of these women, she introduced us to her children and her two sisters who she was supporting. She became an orphan at 17 and was responsible for caring for all of her younger siblings. Because of the training she received she was able to put all four of these children through school with the earnings of her business.
It was so wonderful to see how such little things, can make huge changes in peoples lives. Lucy, who is 23, told us that not only is she supporting her sisters and children, but that she is training them to sew also, so when they grow they will be capable to have their own businesses. Her goal is that they become self reliant just like her!
One of the things that really made me smile is when the women told us that their businesses allowed them to marry because of love not out of dependence. They all agreed that this has been one of the greatest gifts of the program.
We have witnessed the ripple effect of the OLPS trainings and how they have transformed the lives of multiple generations. Women who normally would end up on the street or forced into early marriages are now able to provide a better future for everyone in their family.
I work everyday in the office to fund raise for projects like these. It was a special honor today to get to meet the people we support. Knowing who they are and what they have accomplished despite all their challenges inspires me and makes me want to do so much more!