Warriors are made and not born.

They are not made in a factory but through challenges and experiences, they undergo in life.

This is the story of  Ms. Jenny  Nuccio from Dallas Texas who came to Kenya 10 years ago and made Kenyan women warriors.

She is the founder of IMANI COLLECTIVE and has motivated and inspired women in Mombasa by coming up with a Women empowerment program that has seen over 60 artisans beneficiaries.

one of the beneficiaries from Imani collective

Majority of women who have been victims of violence or suffer the ill effects of gender inequality have finally, become a positive inspiration to society through her empowerment programs.

They have become warriors in society and continue to inspire other women in modern lives.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s once challenged us to ‘ do one thing every day that scares you.
I meet this group during one of the event organized by Empower Limited and these women shared their amazing stories with great achievements, despite the challenges that they face in their daily life’s like an unstable source of income.

With time, Jenny decided to take them through some training and perception change that has made them be productive members of society.

But how did IMANI COLLECTIVE journey started?

Jenny came across a group of women in Mombasa when she once visited Kenya  and she noticed this women were faced with a myriad of challenges ranging from inadequate food to provide for their children, some single mothers, widows while others are disabled.

This is when IMANI COLLECTIVE was born.

Imani is a Swahili word which literary means hope.
She gave hope to these women who were desperate and some frustrated in life.
She brought together these women and started working by making and designing elegant handmade home decor items that include, pillows, rugs, wall hangings, Mini cactus, planters, blankets and many more.

They also provide in- house enriching childcare, food programs, and literacy classes.
‘Most of the women here are super creative and talented to work with their own hands we can all see the amazing products that are on sale ’.

Rehab Mumbai  an account at Imani Collective narrates.
She added that it was first named  Imani exchange but since it was a collective of so many things like literacy classes, food programs and childcare they changed the name to Imani Collective.

Apart from job opportunities Imani collective has also provided scholarships for artisan children.

I spoke to one of the artisans, Evelynn Achieng a teacher and a mother  who works at Imani Collective day care center, she joined Imani collective through a friend in 2017.
She narrates to Coast woman Magazine how she hard difficulties raising her children due to financial problems.

The Diploma graduate in Early Childhood  Development (E.C.D)said  it was hard for her to secure a job.

‘When I came to Imani collective I was able to receive a lot of counseling and advice from women', she narrates.

She really enjoys spending time with the kids at the daycare but  what she likes most about Imani Collective is the socialization aspect.
Today she can pay bills and one of her kid in form three is under sponsorship through Imani collective.

‘I urge women who are faced with challenges in life to join Imani Collective and learn how someone can earn a living by simply creating and designing handmade elegant designs.’ She added.

In this community, men are not left out, both with the women design and print out the products.

Samira Omar 59 a mother of 3 boys is another member of the group living with disabilities.

She moves with the support of a wheelchair.
Samira despite her  old age says Imani collective has shown her a lot of love and respect that she deserves the kind she cannot ask anywhere else.
‘The group has provided a platform where I feel accepted despite living with disability and my gender gap,’ she narrates.

Samira has gained skills on sewing dolls, crochets and rug mats that has enabled her to pay bills to feed her family.

The group was founded in 2015  and also they have another workshop located in Mtepeni.

‘Most of the achievement so far most women are motivated, able to make a decision on their own, creation of employment opportunity and also take their kids back to school, there is a lot of growth in terms of been independence.’ Rehab added.

Youth are not left out in to this program most of them spend their time at Imani Collective learning how to make these elegant designs.

The women are coming from different places in Coast some are from old town while others are from Mtepeni, Kikambala, Likoni, and Bombolulu.

Rehab added that most of the challenges are hard to get donors to
 chip in and help the group , and mostly they rely on selling the merchandise from the shop.


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