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One Tribe Mama

One Tribe Mamas was borne after we were referred a tiny baby boy we called Max. Max had only been on earth a few hours and already his life had been horrific. His Mum threw him into a pit latrine (a long drop toilet) straight after his birth. The villagers desperately tried to save him and rushed him to hospital. Unfortunately on the night he was born, he passed away in the arms of Ivan and Damaris. Max was a perfectly healthy infant who died due to secondary drowning.

One Tribe Mamas gives vulnerable Mamas a real choice.

Young, pregnant vulnerable Mamas join our 12-month programme. They receive practical skills training on business skills like sewing, beading, detergent making, accounts, hair and beauty.

They receive weekly therapy sessions with our trained counsellor and play therapist Anisha.

They are immersed in positive parenting training with the younger teen Mamas being mentored by our more experienced older Mamas. They learn daily about attachment and bonding, nutrition, child development and learning through play.

They sew beautiful products, which you can buy in our shop. They receive cash in hand for every product they make.  (They take this home daily to support their family) They also receive savings in an account for every product they make. (They record this in their personal savings book) This may seem a small thing to someone reading this but it is an impossible dream realised for a lady who cannot even open a bank account in Kenya.


Meet *Esther: *Esther’s joy belies the hard life she has lived thus far. Her early story is not an easy one to tell or hear. She grew up in the slum area and lives in a small iron shack with her four children plus mother, brother, aunt and grandmother. Basically 9 people. No room. No privacy. There are no jobs. Nobody has money to pay people to do things. All Esther has to make money is herself. So, she sells herself. She sells herself for the equivalent amount of .75c. She receives that sum when the men agree to pay. Sometimes they don’t want to pay and they just beat her and leave. She has done this for many years and it gets harder and harder. Her children are getting older and they are getting to know what she is doing to feed them. On top of everything else she is now carrying that shame.

*Esther entered our One Tribe Mama programme and was a slow starter. Her hands shook as she learned to thread the needle because she was withdrawing from alcohol abuse. To be honest sometimes she would come after she had been drinking. But she kept coming and she kept turning up. She got better and better at her sewing. She was very determined and was one of the first ladies to complete an apron. Esther now takes on a self-appointed managerial role at One Tribe Mama HQ. She is always first to arrive in the morning. She is so proud to have the keys to open the shop. She is strict with the younger girls. She watches that nobody has more than their share of sugar in their coffee or tea!! She has taken such ownership and pride in the project.

We are serious about giving a hand up, not a hand out. Our One Tribe Mama Project is mostly self-sustainable and completely Kenyan run. We fund the project by selling the products that the ladies make. We have a small monthly donation from Lismore Baptist Church, which helps us pay the rent on the buildings we are leasing. The rest is up to the Mamas. We do this by having only one wage to pay. Our director – Anisha who is also the therapist is the only regular wage – earning person. Our Mamas derive a huge amount of dignity and self-respect and also a sense of ownership and pride from actually creating and maintaining this project themselves. So, if you really want to buy ethically sourced items, go to our shop. You will not find more ethically sourced or fairer priced goods than these.

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