I want to tell everyone a little bit about the Maisha Collective. Here at Heshima Kenya, some girls wanted an opportunity to have a concrete source of income, so they have come together to form a small business collective. Through the Maisha Collective, members make beautiful handmade tie & dye scarves that they are hoping to sell in the U.S. and Kenya. So far, the response has been great!
The other day I interviewed Maisha members about what the Collective means to them and what their hopes are for Maisha. I think it illustrates how these scarves are helping Maisha members build their confidence, independence, and a sense of empowerment. Here is what they had to say:
“The money that I will save from selling the scarves will help me to go to school to learn science so that one day I can become a doctor and help the people from Kakuma Refugee Camp”
“I like Maisha because it is helping us change our lives for the best. I have very big dreams. I’m dreaming that Maisha will help me rent my own house, survive on my own, and allow my son to go to the best school. One day, I would like Maisha to grow big and to be known all over the world, to be famous!”
“I really like making the scarves because its fun and I enjoy it. My favorite part is rolling the tassles and dyeing the scarves… Eventually I want to run my own business, to be strong enough to do something like Maisha on my own. I want to do this so that I can take care of my child. I hope he will grow up to be a strong boy; I want him to finish his schooling nicely, and I want him to grow up well.”
“I could make scarves for the rest of my life. I just really enjoy it. I see myself having my own store, selling my own scarves, doing things on my own.”
“I like Maisha and making scarves because it’s fun, I love sewing and I’m good at it. It gives me something to do everyday that makes me feel good. My sewing skills will also help me to make money one day. I want to be a businesswoman and run my own business of sewing, making shawls, and scarves.”
“I really want to teach others to do this and I especially want to help young and single mothers learn how to do this. They need this so that they can have a skill and support themselves.”
“My dream for Maisha is that one day will have our own shop, with many girls working in it, and the workers will be able to provide for themselves. I really want Maisha to have its own store. I love doing this and I’m going to continue to do it forever. My past, when I was giving birth to my first born, I didn’t even have food or water to give him. Now that I see he can eat food, he is safe, he has clothes, and he is loved by the other girls, it inspires me to continue to do this work. That’s the biggest reason why I decided to do this.”
I hope that from reading this we can all be inspired to dream big and to not be afraid to articulate those dreams. The Maisha Collective is just getting started, but I believe fully that one day it will become everything these girls want it to be, and more.