Elizabeth Mbanda is a mother of 3 young children & lives in Nairobi with her family. In 2012 Liz (as she’s fondly referred to as by friends) lost her father and her life was utterly devastated. “I felt hopeless and it was like my world had come crumbling down on my hopes and dreams in life” Liz recalls. “Just after losing my dad, I was also going through a very difficult phase in my marriage due to frequent quarrels with my husband. As a casual laborer his earnings are barely enough to meet our family needs, I was desperate, unemployed and fully dependent on my husband’s meager income and this added even more pressure to our family problems as my husband looked at me as a burden” Liz narrates.
As her family challenges continued to escalate, Liz kept praying and sought help from friends. “In the midst of all the turmoil I was going through, I kept praying and trusting God for a way out and some of my friends advised me to look for a job but there were no jobs everywhere I searched not especially for somebody without any training or certificates. One Sunday in our church, my pastor announced that there were training opportunities for women to be trained on dress making and other practical business skills at a training center sponsored by AE not very far from our house in Kariobangi informal settlement. I sensed that this was an opportunity to improve my live and I quickly submitted my name to my pastor and few weeks later I was called for an interview at the AE sponsored project and I was very excited when I was accepted to enroll at AE Mathare Women Empowerment Project” Liz notes.
“Since enrolling I have made great progress in learning dress making, design, marketing, basic customer care, basic book keeping, as well as in my faith and family care. Through this project my life is gradually being transformed and I truly thank God for bringing me to Mathare Women project. The AE project staffs have really helped me especially on family care and this has greatly improved my relationship with my husband. As a family we are still struggling to provide for our children’s needs but due to these challenges I am more motivated & paying more attention to my training so that I can successfully complete my 6 months training and graduate. Once I graduate I want to set up my own small shop and make school uniforms, bags and other accessories to support my family”. Liz beaming with joy and proudly shares holding some of the dummy dresses she’s made.