Jorova Crafts Kenya from Kenya
"It makes me happy and also humble to see the miles we have moved from cleaning offices to handicrafts exporting," says Josephine Karimi, one of three women living in the slums of Nairobi, more than twenty years ago, who pooled their savings earned from cleaning to buy a sewing machine. Josephine, Rosemary, and Eva combined their talents and a few letters from each of their names to become Jorova Crafts. Since then, they have helped many women in the greater Nairobi area, mostly single mothers or widows, enabling them to gain employment to support their families while using their talents with handicrafts or developing new skills.
"When a woman is economically empowered, the society shines," says Karimi. One of those artisans, Veronica Wanja, is now happy to be doing what she likes most. "I happened to meet Karimi five years ago, at our church," she recalls. "I was desperate in life – just imagine – with three kids and not any income. She introduced me to Jorova. I thank her very much. That business has made me who I am today. My kids go to school just like other kids. I also managed to build my own house. God bless your trusting us."
Some Jorova products use Kanga, the traditional Swahili fabric that Kenyan women use and wear for so many things. Josephine says she's also pleased Jorova Crafts is developing unique designs. "To me, the sky is the limit!"