This week we as wrapped up manicures and pedicures, I was able to sit with one of our students and get to know her a little better.
She is so cute. She is always ready to work. She is so happy to in beauty school!
Caroline grew up in the slum of Mathare Valley in the area of Kosovo. She had a sponsor in America that paid for her to go to school until high school. She loves everything about beauty and has since she was a young girl, always having her hair braided. She was creative from a young age and loved doing hair. She got pregnant at 15 and dropped out of school. She was married to the father of her child, but he was murdered years ago by police, who mistook him for a robber. Caroline reminisced of her husband and how good he was to her. Unlike most husbands in Mathare, he was kind to her and was very helpful. He cared for their daughter Stacy and even helped with the cooking. She says she didn’t realize how good he was until he died. She sees other women and how terribly their husbands treat them so and she misses her husband so much.
After her husband’s death, she was forced to move in with mother. Her mother has allowed Caroline, her daughter Stacy, and two cousins who each a child to love with them in their one room shanty. This one room shanty room made of thin sheet metal is about 12×12 feet, smaller than the size of most American bedrooms. They sleep on the floor or wherever they can find room. It has been so hard for Caroline to find work since she was unable to finish her education. All she has been able to find is common work, such as doing laundry for neighbors for 50 Kenyan Shillings a day (about 30 American cents). Occasionally, she will braid her neighbors and friends hair for very little money.
While attending church at Kosovo 2 months back, she overheard 2 social workers talking about a beauty school that was would be starting at the Panagni Center in June. She became so excited and asked what she had to do to join. They social workers gave her the information and she was so excited to tell her daughter Stacy who is now 12 years old. Stacy attends Joska, is in 6th grade, is very bright, and hopes be a lawyer. Caroline has wanted so badly to be able to provide a better life than the one they have been living for so long.
Caroline told me, “I am so grateful. I thank God for this opportunity. I feel my future will be so smart because I will finally be able to get new clothes for Stacy and hopefully one day be able to move to a house where we will have a bathroom. Stacy can have her own room and we will be much happier.”
The first day of school, Caroline was there early! That is not typical of Kenyans. She says she doesn’t want to miss a minute of learning. She hopes to one day own her own salon and make others look and feel beauiful. She has the drive and the desire to be successful for herself and for Stacy.