Mathare Youth Talented Organization


Mathare Single Mothers Self-Help Group

The single mothers self-help group started in 2003, an idea that they got through Ben Ochieng. The ten founding members knew each other because they were part of the same church. They started by meeting every Sunday for an hour at one of the members' house. 

Members at that time used to run a café, which would employ a different member each month. It would serve around 60 customers per day, and also ran a catering business, for weddings, funerals and other events. 

The café does not operate anymore, as some members left or passed away. 

See below pictures from 2005:

Selected members, in front of their café 

Cafe menu. Prices are in Kenyan Shillings 
 On the left: The café's Uji and Ndazi. 
On the right: The cafe catering team and Kendle Wade, a former volunteer


Our current group

"We don't have husbands but we have God"

The group is still going on, counting around 20 members, who are all entrepreneurs in the area. They meet every Saturday and each contribute to 100KSh, to help with one's business or if one of them gets sick. They try to help and support each other as much as they can, in each other's jobs or other chores. 

Those women face challenges: their businesses cannot even sustain them, sometimes can barely feed them. Usually it is not doing well because they need to add to their capital to generate a better income. Their children want to go to school but cannot afford the school fees. Many members are also guardians for some orphans, one of them lives with 8 orphans plus her own children. Finally, for most of them Nairobi is not their place, and they would like to go back to the rural area but don't have a home.