Florence Wanjiku Ihuthia is one of the seamstresses in our Enkiteng Program in Nyeri. She joined the sewing program in summer 2015 and started learning how to sew by making Enkiteng bags (cloth gift wrapping bags) using donated fabric. In addition to the Enkiteng bags from donated fabric, she is also making them out of Kitenge fabric, as well as new products such as Kitenge knapsacks, headbands and scrunchies and kitenge-burlap wine bags. She will also be learning how to make new products such as school uniforms and other products that they will be selling in Kenya, becoming independent seamstresses.
Florence lives in Kamakwa, Nyeri County, Kenya with her two children. She is separated from her husband.
Florence grew up with 6 siblings, and her parents could not afford to pay for high school for all of their children. Florence put herself through high school without much assistance, but was constantly in debt, and paid for her high school education years after graduating, thus making further education impossible.
Prior to joining the Seeds to Sew Enkiteng Program, she made and sold laundry detergent, but this did not prove to be lucrative as her product would move very slowly. Additionally, she has sold vegetables to make an income but a recent local drought has affected her income. Through the Seeds to Sew program, she has been able to further develop her business skills. She hopes to purchase land as well as livestock through savings and the program, which she feels would help provide a stable income.
When asked what she would like to change in her community, it is the alcoholism that is ruining too many families.
“The Enkiteng sewing program has helped me already as I am able to pay school fees for my kids and buy food for all of us. Thank you for buying our products! You are making our dreams a reality.”
~ Florence Wanjiku Ihuthia