Redemptor Wanjiku, a survivor of gender-based violence and a mother of 9 month old girl, works with over 50 males at a car wash merchandise located in Shauri Moyo in Pumwani. Redemptor got married in 2014 to a man who she says assaulted her many times. She can’t remember any day that passed by without her husband abusing her physically or emotionally. She says that she was a “punching bag”. “Life was so hard for me. My husband would come back home drunk and descend on me with beatings for no apparent reason.” She went through this traumatizing experience for 2 years and decided to run away from her troubled marriage in 2016 at the age of 22.Her hope for a better future had diminished.
In 2017, Redemptor learnt about the PEPFAR funded-DREAMS program through a Case Worker. This became the beginning of regaining her lost self-esteem and hope in life. “Since I joined DREAMS my life has changed. Training such as gender norms, healthy relationships and entrepreneurship have helped me to become determined in life.” Says Redemptor. It’s through the courage she developed from these trainings that she was able to apply for the car wash job.
Through the car wash business, Redemptor is able to meet her personal needs and her child’s without depending on men. She is also able to support her mother by buying food and paying rent. Redemptor is also working hard toward building a stronger future for her herself and her child. “I save at least Kshs. 100 each day. My dream is to own a big car wash business and employ other jobless youth.”
Johnson Aseka, the Chairman of Shauri Moyo Car Wash acknowledges that Redemptor’s performance is impressive compared to most of her male counterparts.“ When Redemptor approached me in 2017 for a job opportunity at our car wash, I thought she would give up along the way but it’s now over 1 year and she’s doing exceedingly well in her work. She knows how to relate with clients and she’s keen on details.”
Redemptor is just one of the over 12,000 girls empowered by DREAMS.