Elizabeth Juma Mwamkono, a seamstress in our eco-factory, can attest that life needs to be faced with every ounce of courage that can be mustered. Born and raised in Taru, Mombasa County, Elizabeth has faced a number of challenges in her life.
Elizabeth said that while she was growing up, many of the young people in her neighborhood, faced with uncertain futures due to financial hurdles, turned to prostitution, drug abuse and violence. She was determined not to fall into these traps, and decided to focus her efforts on getting an education. Liz remembers being sent away from school frequently due to lack of funds, but even her prolonged absences from the classroom could not dim her hope of one day being a significant contributor to her society. If anything, Liz asserts, the absenteeism added to her determination to make something out of her life. She borrowed textbooks and notes from friends and neighbors, absorbing every detail in them.
The years of hard work finally paid off when Elizabeth sat for her O Level exams in 2002, and was named one of the top-performing students in her location! “I couldn’t believe it when I saw my [Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education] results,” Liz recalls jubilantly. “At last my hopes had been fanned. I was flying high. The world was all mine for the taking.”
Unfortunately, financial restrictions forced Liz to attend a technical college rather than follow her dreams of academia. For two years, Liz studied as a machinist apprentice at the Mazeras NIT EPZ, where she learned sewing and many other skills. After completing her training Liz joined the great populace of Kenyans who are perpetually seeking for employment. Having worked so hard, she was determined not to be another statistic of unemployed youth.
Liz found work at two textile companies before joining Wildlife Works in May of 2006 as one of the pioneer employees of the Wildlife Works Apparel eco-factory within our Kasigau Corridor REDD+. She describes the pride she gets when watching western celebrities on TV and realizing that some of the clothes they wear have actually passed through her hands.
She is also proud of being associated with the company that is doing much to protect the ecosystem, saying, “Working for a company that has the best interests of the ecosystem gives me a lot of pride and hope. I hope that my son can live in a healthy environment, free of pollutants.”
Liz’s work in the Wildlife Works eco-factory has taught her how to utilize self-drive to get things done, and has rid her of some of the financial worries that trounced her as she was growing up. We are proud to have such a dedicated person on our team.
Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.
Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.
The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.