“What can we do if not prostitution?” a girl in the slums asks Sabina when she tells them she’s there to help them see there’s another way to live life.
“Can you do beadwork?” She asks her in return. “If you can do beadwork, I can help you earn money. If you can’t do beadwork, I can train you, so that I can help you earn money.” The women agreed.
Sabina Wanjiru became a committed Christian in 1991, after she was married with two sons. Much to her dismay, her husband didn’t approve of her “craziness”, and gave her an ultimatum… either him or Christ. She did what she felt was right to do, and she chose to follow Christ. Her husband walked away.
“It was so hard, but I had to do it. He told me that I was gonna become a prostitute, and wished me good luck in that line of work. Then he walked out. He was very arrogant.” So she took her creativity to open-air markets and began selling her items there as a starting point in supporting herself and her 2 boys. A strong woman to the heart of her soul, she made the decision that that was NOT going to be the way she lived her life.
It was at that point that she decided to give her life to helping others. She decided to go into the slums and to find women who were HIV+, and work with them. Those girls & women were a passion for her. She began speaking to them about HIV/AIDS, and educating them on where it comes from. She then began offering them a different way if they wanted to accept it. This is when the women were asking what they could do if not prostitution.
She began small, and now works with over 20 women in the slums. They do beautiful beadwork, and Sabina now has a shop in downtown Nairobi where she can sell those items that they make. It has helped them immensely, and they continue to grow personally because of it. I’m hoping to meet some of these women on my next trip to Kenya.
Because of the work that Sabina does, Creative Women of the World is now working with her, in an effort to further her ministry that she’s established. Sabina mentioned that one of her biggest hurdles is the lack of market. If there's more market, there's more women that she can help in a greater capacity. CWoW hopes to increase that market where they can, and honestly I don’t think it will be hard. Her work & creativity is astounding.
Additionally, I believe that Sabina will be a great resource for us while we continue the business training with the Mwangatu Women. She’s already been through some of what we’re going through in the business mentoring, and she is an established woman who will be able to help out with connections going forward.
The best part is that the only reason we connected with her in the first place was because one of my fellow international advocates, Ellen, met her in the airport in London while they were both on their way to Kenya. What a chance meeting, that could really be great for everyone involved! This is just ONE of the unexplainable yet awesome connections that we've made since beginning this trip 3 months ago.
So when we come back to the US next week, here are some of the amazing products we’re bringing back for CWoW’s “Shop With Impact” Christmas season. When you shop with impact, you help people all over the world in a way that benefits them and you.
Sabina – Helping women with HIV/AIDS in the slums of Nairobi stay out of prostitution.
Anthony – Furthering business and hand skills with street boys in the slums of Nairobi.
Mwangatu Women – women from the slums spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS through creativity.
Regina – one of our artisans who is also HIV+, attempting to start her own business, and is in CWoW’s business training program.
Help a woman avoid/escape prostitution. Help street boys earn their income instead of beg for it. Help women spread awareness of a disease that horribly affects so many. Help people do business in an honest way.
Shop with impact. Make a difference.