THE CHEREHANI PROJECT 

Rockflower Commitment: Fund training in tailoring to reduce poverty among young women in rural Kenya.
Location: Siaya County, Kenya

‘Cherehani’ is a Swahili word for a sewing machine. Rockflower is partnering with Cherehani Africa to reduce poverty among women ages 20 to 30 and their families who live in rural parts of Siaya County, Kenya by training 150 women in tailoring. Upon completion of their training, women will also receive a sewing machine. This will increase their opportunity for economic growth and further improve self esteem and self worth through the inclusion of participation in local activities and the development of tailoring groups.

Cherehani Africa will monitor the beneficiaries after the completion of the project, through local offices and partners, providing support and encouraging forward development. The sewing machine beneficiaries are also required to repay the sewing machines in 12 installments of $10. Through the repayments Cherehani Africa is able to provide new sewing machines to new beneficiaries.

 

ABOUT CHEREHANI AFRICA

Cherehani Africa is a social enterprise that pursues financial inclusion through asset financing of sewing machines and provision of business loans to asset-less but skilled women in emerging and under-served markets. The women we attract in the initiative hardly possess any documented financial history or assets, we therefore largely use their demonstration of tailoring skills as a pre-qualification for business support.

Cherehani Africa was born out of the desire by the cofounders to use fashion as a medium for poverty alleviation and innovative financial inclusion. The cofounders strongly believe that women who are economically empowered are more likely to stand against social injustices and human rights violations. Today, Cherehani operates in five counties in Kenya (Siaya, Kilifi, Homabay, Baringo and Kisii). The overall unemployment rate is 40 percent in Kenya and rural poverty levels are particularly high.  Women are arguably the hardest hit, lacking training, documented financial history and ownership of assets or credible guarantors. The majority are excluded from economic growth opportunities because financial institutions lack systems to estimate the non-monetary value they possess in their tailoring skills. Cherehani Africa addresses this gap by providing training, sewing machines, financial management training and technical assistance to women who can sew. Cherehani Africa focuses on the financial viability of the beneficiaries’ business ideas, target markets and commitment to the craft.  Cherehani Africa has provided sewing machines to more than 600 women and extended small business loans to more than 300 women. Currently demand for sewing machines is high with over 1,200 applications received. 

 

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