Miariam Mutheu, 18, is pursuing a certificate course in tailoring and dress making at Shauri Moyo Baptist Church located in Kamkunji sub-county. Mutheu’s passion in design started when she was in her early stages of primary school. “I love this course. I love fashion and designing things, especially clothes. It’s been in me for a long time” Says Miriam with enthusiasm.
Miriam’s parents separated in 2014, the same year she sat for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).She was affected psychologically and even contemplated quitting school to get married. The mother, burdened with responsibilities, could hardly support education for her three school-going children. She relied on casual labor such as providing laundry services in her neighborhood for survival. In spite of all these domestic challenges, Miriam did not give up ,she managed to score good grades that but could not join secondary school stating that she wanted to reduce stress for her mother, “I knew she couldn’t afford buying food every day, school fee would be huge burden for her.”
In Shauri Moyo, girls like Miriam face overwhelming challenges, especially sexual violence. Most girls do not have opportunities to pursue education beyond primary school. “Majority of girls drop out of school because of inability to raise fee, pregnancy and early marriages. That’s the way of life in here.” Says Miriam.
In 2017, Miriam learnt about the PEPFAR-funded DREAMS program which is implemented by Global Communities in Kamkunji Sub-County in Nairobi. Around this time, she had stayed home for many weeks due to lack of school fee. Through the program’s education subsidy support, she was able to go back to school and is now in second year.Her instructor says that her skills has since improved since she attends all lessons. Her work is impressive. She designs sweaters, hats, shirts and well thought work that has seen her products become a darling to many.
Grace is a Case Worker under Saint Johns’ Community Centre (SJCC),an implementing partner of DREAMS program and Miriam’s loyal client. “She designed a sweater for me, and my colleagues like it. Each one of them requested to have a hoodie like mine.” Said Grace. SJJC has granted Miriam a tender of designing 100 sweaters each costing Kshs.850. Miriam hopes to use profit from this tender to buy sewing machines and other equipment that will enable her start running her own business in the next 2 months.She plans to employ about 3 young women to help her with marketing her finished products.