For International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting a few members of the SHOFCO Women’s Empowerment Project (SWEP), which provides business training and support groups for women in the slums of Kibera and Mathare who are HIV-positive. We hire our SWEP members to create beautiful handmade goods – from beaded bracelets to yoga bags – providing a means for them to support their families. These products are now for sale on SHOFCO’s Etsy page.
“SWEP has helped me come out and come to terms with my [HIV] status. It even gave me the courage to finally share my status with my mother. I was so afraid before of telling her or anyone else because I had no idea what their reaction would be. How would they perceive me? I came to the support group and saw so many women who were living positively and who were really healthy, so I was encouraged to live a positive life and live it openly.
I knew tailoring before I came to SHOFCO, but now I could be paid for my work. I didn’t know beadwork, so I also learned that. Now I’m able to earn money from both skills!” – Marsella