May 27, 2016

This morning we want to share a story from the field with you – the CARE for AIDS center in Mukuru Kwa Njenga opened in the late fall of 2015 and the first class of clients graduated just a few months ago. While doing exit interviews with clients, Patrick Wanyeki met a woman named Stella…

Stella is 37 years old and lives happily with her two sons in Nairobi’s Mukuru Kwa Njenga community. In 2005, Stella tragically lost her husband to HIV/AIDS. In her marriage, Stella lived as a housewife and had learned very few skills that would allow her to make enough money to support her family when her husband passed away. She did casual jobs to earn a living, and used to go from house to house in her community offering to do laundry for about $1 per day.

Soon after her husband died, Stella tested positive for HIV, but continued about her work in an effort to raise and educate her children. In 2015, she joined the CARE for AIDS program in her community and started learning a wide range of marketable skills through the empowerment aspect of the program.

One of the skills from the CARE for AIDS program that stuck with Stella was liquid soap making. She recently won a contract to provide liquid soap to a small government agency. This contract has stabilized her income, and she no longer worries about making ends meet each month. Stella is also making and selling bathmats. Now, instead of struggling to make $1 per day, Stella can sell a single bathmat for $15- enough to provide her family with food for the whole week. She has even started a savings account and puts aside a weekly percentage of her earnings to prepare for the future. 

Stella has graduated from the nine-month program, but she continues to learn and grow using the skills she has mastered.