Alice Njeri Ngugi is one of the seamstresses in our Enkiteng Program in Nyeri. She joined the program in summer 2015 and started learning how to sew by making Enkiteng bags (cloth gift wrapping bags) using donated fabric. She has now graduated to making the Enkiteng bags out of Kitenge fabric, as well as new products such as Kitenge knapsacks, headbands and scrunchies and kitenge-burlap wine bags. She will also be one of the first seamstresses learning how to make new products such as school uniforms and other products that they will be selling in Kenya, becoming independent seamstresses.
She lives in Kamakwa in Nyeri County, Kenya with her 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren.
She has never been married, an unusual situation in the area which she lives. Because of this, she has found supporting her family to be an ongoing struggle. She struggled to provide a good life to her children, but hopes to provide her grandchildren with a good quality of life.
Since she has joined Seeds to Sew, her grandchildren have been able to continue their schooling. As she continues through the program, she would like to start a business tailoring, and over time would like to purchase land. Once she builds enough money to make that purchase, she hopes to grow and sell produce and vegetable. Combined with tailoring, she feels that she will be able to provide a good life to her entire family.
When asked what would she change about her community, she said she would like for the girls in the community have more options than having to involve themselves in prostitution.
“The Enkiteng sewing program has helped me very much, my grandchildren can continue with education and we don’t go hungry any more. I am now self-sufficient and I am even able to help my grown-up children, as they don’t currently have good jobs.”
~ Alice Njeri Ngugi