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

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.)

THREE QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  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.

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