My family’s helper told me “being single” is her greatest challenge. She showed me an incredible Kenyan welfare group that supports single women.

By Abigael Abuga

When I asked Dorine, the helper who lives with my family, about her greatest challenges, she quickly responded: “Being single.”

I decided to explore this phrase and visited her at her own home, in Kawangware, Nairobi. When there, she introduced me to her main source of emotional, financial support and camaraderie — her welfare group, or chama.

It was clear that this camaraderie gave economic independence to her and to the many strong women involved.

Filmed: Nancy Makacha, Nancy Muhonja, Rose Odongo, Dorcus Odongo, Rose Imbwaga, Rachel Amoyi, Margaret Odongo, Evelyne Makacha, Jaqueline Ngairo, Rebecca Odongo and Rispa Odongo

(For other News-Decoder stories on Africa, click here.)


  1. What are chamas?
  2. How does the welfare group in the video help Kenyan women?
  3. Are there any cooperatives in your neighborhood?


Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Abigael Abuga is currently a first-year student at the African Leadership Academy. She is passionate about music, film-making and worldwide gender equity. As a feminist, she plans to study Chemical Engineering in order to empower girls in Kenya to pursue more STEM-based careers.

One comment

Watch: All The Single Ladies: Kenyan support group for women

  1. Ms. Abuga, this is a wonderful article/video of hope. I would love to know more about how these groups work. I’m an American who has worked in Africa over the course of the last 16 years. My ministry has been challenging female inequality and especially, since 2011, challenging Female Genital Mutilation among the Sabiny people in Eastern Uganda along the Kenyan border. We have a very unique approach that is changing behavior by changing hearts! Also, we empower young women with income-producing skills. But to add Chamas to the work of these young women makes a lot of sense. I will be in Nairobi this coming November. Perhaps we could meet.
    Rev. Patti Ricotta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *