The new venture started with around 15 women who were recruited by word of mouth, and then trained to develop their skills. Ten years later, over 100 women have been trained, providing many of them with independence and security in a town with limited opportunities.
Shortly after launching, the group was contacted by Ethical Fashion ITC, an international UN backed organization that connects small and often remote groups of artisans with the international fashion world.
Through this collaboration several international design contracts with prestigious fashion houses all over the world followed.
In 2021, after many years of learning under the wing of this international NGO, over 30 members decided to take the next step in their empowerment journey and use their unique beadwork and sewing skills to branch out on their own.
Now under our new label of Ushindi Gilgil Women’s Group (UGW), we are a highly efficient and respected supplier of stunning bags, jewelry, beaded belts, beaded dog collars, and beaded sandals all crafted by using a combination of ancient skills and innovative modern techniques.
Since most of the women have overcome major personal obstacles and are survivors of Kenya's post-election violence in 2008, taking full control of their group finally feels like victory!
In Swahili we say ”USHINDI”.
Lilian is 10 years with Ushindi and leads the women. She has learned new skills that have enabled her to uplift her life and grow.
Alice is 43 years old and a founding member of Ushindi! She has been able to support her whole family through work with the group and given her children the opportunity to go to school.
Lena is 38 years old and has been with Ushindi for 10 years. She has been able to maintain and work on her own farm as well as afford school fees for her children.