Kemunto: The money just wasn’t enough

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“I saw an opportunity that could make my situation better. I took it”.

“In 2017, I was washing clothes for a living.I had 3 children; my husband worked as a security guard and didn’t earn much. The money just wasn’t enough. After finding out from a friend – who had benefited from the knitting program at St.Bakhita House of Hope (then St. Vincent Training Center) -that there were opportunities for women to learn new skills, I saw a window of opportunity to make my situation better. So I took it.”

The early days

Evelyn Kemunto, 37 is a resident of Langas in Eldoret. She had always been interested in knitting and tailoring and therefore went ahead and inquired about the program. When she was finally admitted, she preferred knitting to tailoring because it was less crowded asnot as many people were doing knitting. On her first day in November 2017, she got acquainted with the knitting machines for the first timeand was taught how to operate them. The knitting course ran for 12 months, 6 of which were spent practicing the craft full-time under a business incubation program.

 

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Evalyne during her training days at St.Bakhita

 

The learning days

“The best part of the learning came when my classmates and I were contracted by Langas Primary School to produce uniforms. It was such a great feeling and opportunity to see how our work was helping in educating our children.” Additionally, Evelyn recounts her excitement and the importance of learning how to use a computer as part of complementary courses offered. Evelyn graduated last month with a Certificate in Knitting and a starter-pack including a knitting yarn and personalized business cards.

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After graduation, Evalyne comes back to St. Bakhita to use some of the machines 

 

Overcoming the challenging days

Upon graduation, the main challenge she faces is not having a machine. Knitting machines are not affordable for new graduates like Evelyn. “For now, St.Bakhita has been kind enough to allow me and the other mamas to use the machines at the center until the new students begin.” As she hopes to save some money, Evelyn has recently learnt that she is eligible for government funding that could help her acquire a machine for herself.With funding and the skills provided by St. Bakhita, she hopes to gain good income from knitting and selling sweaters within Eldoret.

  • This article is extracted from our ongoing post-graduation follow-up and advisory assistance. Evelyn’s story will be followed up and shared during our second round of follow-up. Stay tuned!!!
  • Article written by: Claire Were (Project Intern)