The whir of sewing machines, chatter and laughter welcome you into this space. Skilled hands busy at work, turning yards of colourful Kikoy and Maasai fabric into beautiful bags, accessories, children’s toys, home furnishings… the list is endless. This is a place that lives up to its motto, ‘Sewing together a better life’.
Mama Africa, a non-profit organisation, was founded with the aim of giving disadvantaged women a chance to uplift themselves. Employing women from the slum area of Kangemi, this organisation gives them the training and opportunities to better their lives, to empower themselves and the community as a whole. How true the saying, ‘If you educate a woman, you educate a nation’ rings here, these women go on to become change-makers in their homes and in the lives of their children. Their work not only supports their families, it supports the vital work of the Kangemi Resource Centre, a place that focuses on providing learning facilities to informal non-state schools and supporting the local community in the slums. This Resource Centre runs a library, water sanitation and health campaign, a computer centre, a day-care and early childhood programme, a programme educating teachers and a project to promote urban farming by having sack gardens. So you see, Mama Africa’s reach goes a lot further than you’d imagine.
Mama Africa products aren’t just lively and bright, each stitch has had an impact, has an inspiring story behind it. And how best to express the good that Mama Africa does, than to tell you one…
“Several years ago, a young girl walked into Mama Africa seeking an opportunity to work and learn. She was painfully shy and unskilled, but she had resolve in her, the resilience to work hard and create a brighter future for herself. Mama Africa was that opportunity, a place where she learnt how to craft products, and very well at that, where she
formed friendships and found the support that turned her into a confident young woman.” That girl… well, she’s the head tailor now, training other women and sharing the skills Mama Africa gave her.
These women come in, learn to sew and begin to start making a living in an accessible and easy way. There’s something satisfying in the process of creating, and that shows in those that develop a talent for making and crafting products. Their work is handsome workmanship and variety, something here’s bound to catch your eye. And if you’re set on having something a certain way too, they’ll customise it and give you as unique as you can get, one of a kind.
Imagine if you could be a part of this? You can; Mama Africa encourages volunteers to come experience using their skills and share them with others while enjoying an atmosphere of change and seeing impact all around. You want to help with marketing, or design, or a programme at the Resource Centre interests you? Come by. And definitely come by the shop too, we bet you’ll discover something special just waiting for you. Wapi? Mama Africa.