Compassion Sewing Self Help Group provides empowerment to young women from the slums, through training them in sewing and tailoring. They are encouraged to set up their own businesses as soon as they have finished their apprenticeship with the group.
Started in 2007, Compassion Sewing Self Help Group was one of the first groups to join the Compassion CBO Network.
Compassion CBO originally helped the group to secure a loan from the Youth Enterprise Fund, run by the Kenyan Government, which offers loans with interest rates of 8%. This allowed them to buy sewing machines. The group has five female members who now all have their own shops in Githogoro and meet once a week to report on their progress.
The aim of the group is to provide empowerment to young women, through training them at a small fee for six months in sewing and tailoring. The young women are usually aged 18-20 but can be younger when they are trained. All the young women come from the slum and are given the skills that will provide them with a income.
They are encouraged to set up their own businesses as soon as they have finished their apprenticeship with the group. Some choose to do so in villages where there is little competition, others have gone to Nairobi or other local towns. While being trained, the girls are given a percentage of the sale price of whatever they make, the rest goes to buy materials to allow the project to continue.
The main challenge for the group is space and lack of resources; training women with no previous sewing experience is costly as mistakes will be made and fabric can be quite expensive. The shops where the girls are trained are often smaller than 10 by 10 fee, semi-permanent structures - which means that only a few girls can be trained at once.
With funding, the group would like to buy larger premises that would allow up to 10 girls to be trained at once.