by Gwen Meyer, co-founder
Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife
Last November, I wrote about the Molo Wool Project, an activity that our NGO Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife (FKSW) supports in Kenya. FKSW has assisted the 35 members of the Karunga Women’s Group, participants in this project, with skills training in the fiber arts and business development. In 2010, a $1000 loan from FKSW assisted the group to start a tree nursery. Since 2007 they’ve earned more than $26,000 from their hand-knitted products and income from the seedlings is now beginning to bring the group a second source of revenue. In February, we interviewed some of the participants to see how the project is impacting their lives.
The Molo Wool Project: One Member’s Story
Since picking up knitting needles just three years ago, 54-year-old Anastasia Njuguna has seen her natural talent and creativity emerge to make her one of the most prolific knitters in the group. She is also one of the top earners. The quality of her work is exceptional and her creations include chameleons, dogs, horses, goats, angora goats, pigs and antelope. She doesn’t use patterns. Her story about learning to knit a chameleon is illustrative, not only of her talent, but of her determination to better her life.
“My name is Anastasia Watiri Njuguna. When I joined the group, I knitted sweaters but I didn’t know how to knit animals. My first attempt on chameleons I came up with chameleons that were discredited because the legs were straight. And I was told ‘no, no, no, they must have some fingers and things like that.’ So when I did the next one, I had some feet, but I was told ‘no, this looks like a bird’s feet.’ That’s when I decided I wanted to learn what a chameleon looks like.
“So the first day, I went to the forest and I didn’t find one. The second day I didn’t succeed, but on the third day, I found the chameleon. So I took it to a neighbor’s house and tried to learn everything about the structure of its body, the way it walks, and all that and after that I was comfortable with the chameleon.” (more…)