We choose to challenge
International Women's Day is celebrated on 8 March around the globe and it's roots go as far back as in 1911. The official theme for this year is "Choose to challenge" (International Women's Day). We can all celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality. For us, empowering women and increasing gender equality is at the core of our business every day. One of our team leaders in Kenya, Ruth Kalondu, described our ideology well. She said: "Mifuko's mission is to bring joy to our customers while improving the welfare of women in the rural areas of Kenya. We are guided by our core values in everything we do. We are unique, joyful and socially responsible. Just as every one of our artisans is unique so are the products he or she makes."
Although Kenya brought in a new constitution in 2010 to enhance the fulfillment of basic rights of vulnerable groups, the situation has not improved for women and children. However, different organizations are working to strengthen women’s ability to participate effectively in governance structures at both the national and local levels Meanwhile, companies like Mifuko help from the bottom up by empowering women. "Women are known to be hardworking and very committed to what they do and that's the strength women bring to the organizations they are in. I would like every woman to know that they can achieve anything they put their mind to and it is OK to stand up for your rights in the society and work place", Ruth says.
JENIFFER MWANZA"Everyone calls me Jen", Jeniffer says. "I like that weaving has helped me to earn a living and improved my lifestyle and home. I don't like to stay idle so I like getting orders from Mifuko. I haven't been able to earn as much as earlier during pandemic due to restrictions, but I'm still happy and grateful."
"I love making baskets, because not only does it help me earn a living, but I get to interact with my friends. We weave together and catch up", Eunice says merrily. She is ambitious and looking forward to working harder and getting more orders. "I'm glad that that COVID-19 hasn't affected our lives and no one I love has been infected."
Catherine says: "Weaving means improving my life with my hands. In the future I expect a better life and health for myself and my family." Although COVID-19 affected her life when she wasn’t able to work as much, and her children were not able to go to school, she is happy that life is slowly normalising and she hopes things will be better.
"I love weaving and the best thing about it is that it keeps me busy. Of course, it helps to earn a living too", Janet comments. "In the future I expect more work thus more earnings. It helps me raise my children, give them good education, healthcare and just improve all aspects of life. I want to set an example to them."