Alice Nyanguthii Waithaka is one of the seamstresses in our Enkiteng Program in Nyeri. She joined in winter 2014 and started learning how to sew by making Enkiteng bags (cloth gift wrapping bags) using donated fabric. She has now graduated to making the Enkiteng bags 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 one of the first seamstresses learning how to make new products such as school uniforms and other products that they will be selling in Kenya, becoming independent seamstresses.
Alice lives in Kamakwa, Nyeri County, Kenya with 3 of her 5 children. She also cares for her parents. Because she is separated, she has found that her single-source household has not been enough to allow her family to live comfortably. Additionally, she has faced some discrimination because of her broken household. Though she has managed to successfully put her first two children through high school, she still has another 3 children to find means of paying school tuition in order for them all to complete high school. Through the Seeds to Sew program, she feels that she will be able to successfully do this. Additionally, as she is learning business skills, she hopes to save enough money to open up her own business growing and selling vegetables, and eventually purchase a stable place to live.
The Enkiteng sewing program has really changed my life. Before I started selling my Enkiteng bags to Seeds to Sew, my kids used to be sent home from school because we were late with school tuition, but now we are able to pay school on time, and I am also able to buy food and we no longer go to sleep hungry.
~Alice Nyanguthii Waithaka