Women's Empowerment Program New Businesses - COMPLETED
In July 2006, Be Kids commenced the Women’s Empowerment Program to address and eliminate, where possible, the economic impediments faced by women in areas like Kangeta, Kenya. Through this program, co-ordinated by the Good Shepherd Sisters on our behalf, women carers of children can obtain a small interest free loan that can be used as capital to earn income for child care. If necessary, the money can be used for rent so women can free themselves and their children from dangerous situations such as domestic abuse. Basic adult literacy education is also included and many women are thrilled to be able to write their own names.
The Women’s Empowerment Programme began in July 2006. The aim was to uplift the living standards of the day care parents and guardians who rely mostly on casual labour for their basic needs.
The first program recipient, Lydia Naitore, used her loan to start a small business selling cereals and to pay rent temporarily so she could move to a safer place, away from her very violent husband. The challenges of empowering women in the community became shockingly evident when Lydia’s enraged husband threw away her stock of cereals, destroyed their home and severely cut her arm with a machete whilst she protected her eldest son from being killed. The child now attends the Day Care Centre and is receiving help to overcome his trauma so he can speak again. Today Lydia has learned from the strength from being part of the Women’s Group. She is able to rent a small shelter for her and her 5 sons and has had the courage to report her husband to the authorities and to the Children’s Department. She has been able to restock her business and through our program she has begun to understand her rights and those of her children. She is also a very keen participant of our adult literacy program. In July 2007, Be Kids extended the Women’s Empowerment Program to young women between the ages of 17 and 25 to offer them vocational training. These education loans are repaid from the sales of products produced in the training courses.