In many communities surrounding our Nairobi site in Kenya, a lack of employment opportunities has been an ongoing issue, especially for young adults. In these areas, it’s a constant struggle for many individuals to find stable, well-paying work that they can rely on for a steady income.
Our East Africa Coordinator, Martha, walks by a particular corner every day on her way to and from work. Known as the “jobless corner,” young men would wait here to be approached and chosen for daily wage labour jobs. She would see these same young men waiting for work, day in and day out. A naturally social person, Martha would stop and chat, and got to know the young men over many months.
Martha was saddened by their stories. Despite their best efforts, they were chronically unemployed, and their families were suffering. So Martha did what she does best – she educated them! She met with them as a group, listened, connected them to local resources, and gave shape to their dreams. Upon learning about their skills and potential, she arranged for the group to receive entrepreneurship workshops and financial training thanks to kind Chalice donors. Thus, the “Njiru Stars” youth group was born!
Through donations to our Chalice gift catalogue, the Njiru Stars received a shipping container to use as a hub for their own small businesses. They have set up the space to be used as a convenience store front, produce stand, small barber shop, snack bar, welding shop and vegetable garden!
These young men are all thrilled and proud to be small business owners. Their enterprises have meant steady work for them during widespread unemployment due to the COVID-19 lockdown, and owning the container has protected them from the stress of unpaid rents.
Best of all, their families are reaping the benefits, too. School fees are quite expensive in Kenya. Before Njiru Stars were formed, It would have been impossible for the men to afford school fees for their children. Now, however, they have enough income to pay school fees and purchase needed school supplies, helping to ensure that their own children never have to experience “jobless corner”.