Our Work in
Economic Empowerment

Wairimu Mwangi

“In teaching youth and those living in informal settlements how to create food gardens in their spaces and repurpose waste materials, I am helping them to care for themselves and produce beautiful products to be sold to generate income.”

With a love for sustainability and desire to design a balanced life, Wairimu Mwangi has developed a project that is changing the lives for street youth in the urban areas of Nairobi. This exceptional illustration of a circular economy is uplifting these creative youth.

Wairimu has trained over 100 young people, including teen mothers and young children, on how to grow seedlings, create income, develop vertical gardens using recycled plastic bottles and use waste materials to create beautiful planters. Many youth and children have now learned how to grow food vertically so as to avoid contamination.

When it comes to creatively repurposing materials such as fabric from construction sites and plastic bottles, Wairimu teaches young people to create many things. They enjoy being creative and savor the ability to turn something seen as waste into products that generate income. 

In looking to the future, Wairimu hopes to bring her program into more centers and help the homeless, children’s homes, people living with disabilities and many more to grow their own food and sell their own unique products.

Wairimu Mwangi
Wairimu Mwangi
R. Senthamarai
R. Senthamarai

R. Senthamarai

“I am happy to share that some nonprofit organizations in our vicinity have joined the movement and are modeling our program as well.”

As the Founder and Director of The Social Improvement Voluntary Association, a nonprofit based in Tamil Nadu, Senthamarai works to uplift the lives of community members that no one else is helping, especially women and children.

While assisting people facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she came across a community of cobblers in the village of Vilvarani. “Their living conditions were horrible. The children were starving and pregnant women did not have access to nutritious food. Their lack of education and healthcare facilities did not help either.” So, Senthamarai decided to help them to become independent.

The project trains cobblers in making ropes and footwear by recycling tires. As the buying power of the lower middle-class section in India diminished, people began looking for cheaper alternatives. With the implementation of this project, the cobblers started to obtain opportunities to sell shoes to people at a much lower price. This enabled them to have an additional source of income. So far, 20 cobbler community members have been trained. Senthamarai believes that illiteracy and poverty should not be impediments to achieving your dreams and continues to work to create opportunities to uplift people.

Madupe Darabidan and Ayooluwa Ebire

“We are supporting young women in our community to keep being productively engaged over the course of the pandemic outbreak.”

Modupe Darabidan, Founder and Managing Director for iStarter Hub, a social enterprise that empowers young women and girls through training, peer-to-peer networking and mentorship in the areas of technology, creative designing and entrepreneurship, is deeply passionate about women and youth empowerment and technology. Together with Ayooluwa Ebire, Founder of “Girls to Queens”, a nonprofit that empowers young girls with life skills, they developed a program that helped women to create value in their lives and in society by growing their skillset.

The Girls Creativity Hub initiative, an iStarter Hub program, is an intensive Creative Designing, Entrepreneurship and Leadership skills acquisition program that teaches out-of-school girls and other young women between the ages of 16 and 25 the skills needed to become young entrepreneurs.

At the beginning 2020, the 3-month-long preparatory program was teaching creative designing and entrepreneurship skills through its Technology and Entrepreneurship workshop training. However, toward the completion of the training, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Lacking access to an in-person training space, the program was moved to a virtual environment where new participants joined and young women were able to learn and remain productive during a time when many were losing their jobs. This program continues to be effective at helping more out-of-school girls acquire relevant designing, entrepreneurial and leadership skills for their personal growth and in some cases, their pursuit of admission to tertiary institutions.

The Girls Creativity Hub Initiative
Girls Creativity Hub

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