Rose Ambogo (Gruppenleiterin des Kibera Slum Workshops)
“Sky is the limit”
Rose Ambogo looks forward to a better and brighter future of sustainable living. She dreams of seeing the lives of her people change and every day that she lives is a step forward in the direction of making that dream come true. Married and a mother of five children, Rose is all of 46 years of age and her products are marketed by Bawa La Tumaini, the Fair-Trade company that works with marginalized handicraft producers in Kenya by linking them to global markets. She works in and manages a legally registered workshop in the Kibera slums, producing ceramic jewellery and other products that include earrings, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, anklets and key rings.
“We make the ceramic material and source other materials locally”, she explains, adding that they specialize in ceramics, amber, maasai beads and recycled bone. Everyday is a learning process for this workshop, which prefers to make its own designs with occasional help from other designers, as there are new designs to incorporate and market needs to adjust to. The Workshop not only trains its producers in the art of designing, but also makes it a point to instruct them regarding the importance of quality production and fair trade. These producers, who include youngsters who had been unable to seek gainful employment after completing their O-level education, are guided towards self-employment. Although lacking access to any loans and merely facilitated by the advance payment made by customers, the workshop aims to create more jobs for the youth and the women through trade.
“We know we can change our marginalization state into a better life through fair trade and hard work.” Rose, O-level educated herself, adds, confident that if more orders for production and possible funding keep flowing in, “then sky is the limit.”
Working as a producer enables her to personally afford food, clothing and education for her children, since this is the only source of income. She enjoys the satisfaction of creating products that the customers like, and the fact that this industry enables people like her to sustain their families through the production and marketing of fairly-traded products. While she expresses her gratitude to the organizations that are buying these products through Bawa La Tumaini, she holds on to the dream of seeing the workshop grow into a leading company that will employ over thousand men and women and thus make their lives better.