All of the products offered in our shop are designed, sourced and produced by women from Kipsongo Slum or by members of local women's groups. The women are given a fair price upfront for their products and any remaining profit is poured into other Kipsongo development initiatives and the creation of Lenana Girls High School. Although still in its initial stages, the long-term goal of our shop is to bring sustainable economic well-being to residents of Kipsongo (you can read more about this in our news story). Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy your shopping experience!
Meet the women of Kipsongo... ...All of the women we work with in Kipsongo have lived extremely troubled lives facing seemingly insurmountable hardships. Most are HIV positive, few have any formal education, and many have resorted to prostitution as a means of survival at some point in their lives. Our store is currently supporting approximately 50 women, a select few of whom are profiled below. As we add more product lines to our store, it will expand to assist hundreds more Kipsongo women.
Vicky is 23 years old and attended school through class 3. She was born in Kipsongo into a poor family and was forced into prostitution by the age of 13 in order to survive. She hated doing it but felt that she had no other option. During this time, she got married to a husband who promised her that everything would be fine but after giving birth to two children, he disappeared leaving her again with no hope or money. She then joined the Kipsongo women's jewelry cooperative which has allowed her to lead a slightly better life, though it only affords her 40 to 50 cents a day.
Selina was born in the Turkana region of Kenya. Although her exact age is unknown, Selina is believed to be in her late 70s. She came to Kipsongo in the 1970s escaping drought in Turkana and entered a refugee camp in Kipsongo. When the camp was abruptly closed, Selina had no money and no where to go and has been in Kipsongo slum ever since. She never went to school and has 6 children and a number of grandchildren to support. She joined the jewelry cooperative in hope that it would bring income, but it has thus far only brought Selina about 30 cents a day. She is hoping that this new initiative can increase her revenue.
Patricia is the leader of the womens jewelry cooperative in Kipsongo. Born in Kipsongo, she is 26 years old and completed school through class 8. Her parents collected garbage in nearby Kitale town for money but didn't earn enough to send Patricia to secondary school. Unable to continue with her education, Patricia got married at the age of 15 and has since had 4 children. Caring for these children is difficult as she only earns about 50 cents a day from the cooperative and her husband is unemployed and doesn't work toward improving the family's situation.
Selina standing at the entrance of her house in Kipsongo Slum
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Loice, 31 years old, was born in Kipsongo into a family with no resources. She never went to school and married at 13 as is common amongst Kenyan women who don't attend school. Loice has 5 children to support but her only job is being a member of Kipsongo's jewelry cooperative. She is still married though her husband is unemployed and does little to solve the problem or to assist Loice in caring for her family.
Like Selina, Ekai was born in the Turkana region of Kenya in the 1930s. She also came to Kipsongo to escape drought in Turkana in the 1970s and was stuck in Kipsongo with no resources to get home after the refugee camp was abruptly closed. Ekai has no education and has 6 children and a large number of grandchildren that she tries to support. She was not able to send any of her children to school. Ekai was married in Kipsongo but her husband was killed during a streak of violence in Kipsongo decades ago. She hopes that her participation in the Kipsongo jewelry cooperative will allow her to increase her income so that she can better provide for her children and grandchildren.
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