Few things can make me evaluate my perspective on life and inspire me more than spending quality time with the young women trying to make a living in the poverty of the Kibera slum. Today was such a day for a stark reminder of how much I have in life to be thankful for and what I can do with what I have to make a difference in the whorl and the lives of those around me. One of the new initiatives of Every Girl Counts is Empowering young girls living in the slums through small businesses like jewelry making and sewing. Today we had the privilege of meting four young women ranting in age from 21 to 24 who are skilled in the craft of jewelry making. Every Girl Counts has chosen to invest in these young women to empower them to earn money to support themselves without having to turn to something like prostitution to make ends meet. So after lengthy negotiation and crunching the numbers, we collectively came to an agreement that the girls will spend the next 3 days making various unique, handmade bracelets, necklaces and earrings that we will bring back home to sell at a profit and subsequently reinvest 100% of the money back into empowering other young women. Simply put, its a cycle of women helping women.
It was very insightful today to be reminded that sometimes all a girl needs is someone to believe in their potential and give them the chance to do better, to be better. Many of the girls we talk to from the slum share the same sentiments…they've been told more often than not that they are unworthy, unimportant and incapable. It was inspiring to see the hope on their faces as we discussed providing them an opportunity to succeed. Although I'll never have any idea of how difficult it is to be a girl living in one of the largest slums on Earth, as a woman I can relate to their desire to become better, take care of their families and make a difference with their life. Empowerment of women is really about offering them hope. On Friday, when we receive the items from these women, that hope will take the snap of a beautifully crafted piece of jewelry. Yes, money will change hands, but the currency is greater than the US Dollar or the Kenyan shilling…the currency is love.