The Galana Amani Women’s group is a group of ladies from the Galana area in Kenya who have come together to continue their education and learn new skills with the support of Friends From Ireland. FFI have been working in the Galana area since 2012 and through our projects we got to know some of the ladies very well. It was clear to us that these were strong, determined women with huge potential who were eager to learn and develop themselves, but they were lacking the necessary resources to do so.
The first meeting with the local women of Galana was held in September 2014 and with the support of FFI the group has thrived. The name Galana Amani Women’s Group was chosen by the ladies because amani means peace in Swahili and peace is exactly the spirit in which these women work. The group is made up of women from numerous tribes, religions, and backgrounds, all living in the Galana area. All these women expressed a desire to work together to learn new skills and create an income for them and their families. Following the initial meeting Jackie, the local kindergarten teacher, agreed to teach the ladies how to read and write in both Swahili and English. In September 2015 FFI donated a sewing machine to the group and this has led to the establishment of a thriving micro business with the group making and selling school uniforms to local families as well as selling embroidered and, on request, personalised kikois to tourists and volunteers who visit the area. This initiative was so successful that FFI donated a second sewing machine to the group in January 2016. With the support of FFI volunteer Agnes Chege the group also introduced a “Merry Go Round” system. This is a traditional way for groups of women to save money together and now, well established within the Galana group, it allows the women to get loans for expenses such as school fees.
This group was a new venture for Friends From Ireland and to date it has been a huge success. The ladies have shown passion and determination and have worked very hard to learn new skills. Attending a 2-hour meeting every Saturday means sacrificing time with their families yet these women have chosen to empower themselves, in turn sending a very positive message to their children. The fact that the group is made up of women from all the different cultural and religious groups in the area, working together in harmony, is nothing short of an inspiration to us all. Within a year of the sewing classes beginning the women were providing uniforms for the children of the local school. Not only are they offering the uniforms to their local community at a competitive price, they also offer the convenience of a local service. These ladies have also shown us that this is a model that can be replicated in other communities. Friends From Ireland will continue to support the group in any way we can and look forward to seeing just how far the ladies can take it.
Galana Amani Women’s Group
Community Support Project