I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, last night and was so excited to see Mary and Wallace! It has been a long time coming and the 3 of us are so happy to finally be starting a salon project here in Kenya. Also, my friend Aubree Worrell who I haven’t seen in 5 years is doing an internship here with the preschool. As soon as I got to the house, it was chai time!
This morning, we were up early to get to the Pangani Center where I shadowed a woman named Mary. She runs the sewing program at Pangani and she is so joyful. I had so many questions about how she works with the women here in the community, how she recruits them, and how she helps them succeed once they have completed the course. Mary said the first thing she looks for in the women she accepts into her program is a passion. They must have passion to learn and a desire to succeed. She has had much success in her program having 101 women graduate in the past 5 years. When each girl graduates, they receive a sewing machine to start their business. She has a graduate that currently charges 3000 Kenyan Shillings ($35 US) to make one dress which is very high in this community.
Mary is so driven and dedicated to her students and all of them love her. These women often look to her for advice and guidance. She has had many students drop out of her program as a result of their living situations. Even the women who have left her program still come to her for comfort. She has had countless women confide in her about their husbands being abusive to both them and their children. Mary had a young mother who has a child with special needs. Her husband hates their child because he sees him as a curse on the family. She was forced to leave the program because he would beat their child while she away. To this day, this woman seeks out Mary as a mentor and friend.
Mary is so loved by this community. She helps these women use their creative skills to have a career and provide for their families. Mary is the perfect example of a Proverbs 31 woman and she is helping each of her students be just that. She and her husband are having a baby and she is due in 3 weeks! I am so excited to be working along side her until her baby finally gets here!
After sitting in on the sowing class, I had some fun with the kindergarteners and street kids at recess…