Decisions and Sacrifices our girls make to see their dreams come true-The story of Catherine Chepengat

“I am a divorced mother of two beautiful girls. The thought of how I was going to raise them single handedly used to haunt me a lot. After getting divorced, I moved back to my parents house together with my daughters. I was tasked with doing home chores and grazing goats. I had to oblige because I needed a place to stay and food for my girls.

Later on in 2016, I learnt about Jitokeze from the then Batei ward field officer. Since I knew my parents wouldn’t agree to take me to school, I started gathering firewood while grazing and heaped them at my mother’s place. They thought I wanted to start selling firewood but far from it, I wanted to use it to pay my fees.

In 2017, I joined Jitokeze under the girl’s empowerment program with the aim of acquiring sewing skills and a sewing machine to kick start me start my sewing business. Although my mother agreed to stay with my children, I was still expected to continue grazing and do home chore while on holidays.

I completed my tailoring training in 2018 and managed to raise some commission from sewing items that Jitokeze would later sell. In 2019 April, through my commission, I was awarded a sewing machine. I was thrilled because in my mind I knew that was a milestone towards starting my business.

When I went home, I expected things to change but to my disappointment, my mother told me to keep the machine and continue with assigned tasks of grazing goats. I felt disappointed and when I asked her to allow me start my sewing business she bluntly refused and dared me to move out if I wouldn’t do what she assigned me.

I felt broken but this did not deter me. I looked for a cheap house at the local center and moved out with my girls. I had faith and believed that I will be able to pay my rent and all bills from sewing. I started by informing all my friends and church members that I could make cloths for them at affordable prices. It didn’t take long before customers started coming since there was no other tailoring shop around.

It has been four months since I started my business and I can attest no day goes by without me getting atleast 400 shillings. Apart from my business, I have also planted a plot of black knight shades which I got from Jitokeze. Money from the vegetables goes to paying my rent while the one I make from sewing goes to my children’s school expenses. I have also started saving some money because I plan to purchase school uniform fabrics since new year is fast approaching and parents will need new sets of school uniforms for their children.

Although I feel bad my mother didn’t want me to start my business, I am glad she gave me the chance to go to school by agreeing to look after my children. I don’t regret moving out either because it made me face life and gave me the courage to fight for my dream.”


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