Nora Matunda, a mother of four, has been a seamstress at the Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project Eco Factory for over 13 years.
‘’I am passionate and motivated by my work because of the quality products we produce as a team. Our work empowers the community with job opportunity, growth, development and wealth creation for our families,” she says.
Nora grew up in Maungu, a town adjacent to Wildlife Works sanctuary. ‘’15 years ago, Maungu was a very small village with very few people who depended on mostly charcoal burning and bush meat to live, ’’ she recalls.
Growing up in poverty-stricken Maungu provided very little opportunity for young Nora to finish school. Her parents could not afford to send her to high school so Nora looked for ways to make some money and keep busy as she waited for her parents to find funds for her studies.
“I thought about burning charcoal but with the little knowledge I had about the consequences of destroying the environment, I didn’t want to involve myself in this illegal business,” she explained. She decided to work on their farm planting and taking care of the small livestock they had.
Three years later, Nora had something to smile about. Her parents earned a small amount of money from selling some livestock. It was enough to send her to Voi Youth Polytechnic, where she choose to study tailoring and dressmaking.
After almost two years of skills training, she came back to Maungu and got a job at a small tailoring shop. As Maungu village began to expand into a small town, she took an entrepreneurial risk and opened her own tailoring business. At first, she would go door-to-door taking orders. When word got out of her quality, customers started flocking to her shop and piling on the orders!
In 2002, a greater opportunity arose when Wildlife Works opened their eco factory. Nora’s experience made her the perfect hire as one of the first few pioneers to help launch the Wildlife Works’ eco factory. She has since been promoted to supervisor and helps to train new seamstresses.
Nora was excited for this job opportunity to acquire more skills for career development and felt lucky to benefit from Wildlife Works’ childcare support. “I feel so happy and motivated to work close to my child who attends the free preschool provided by Wildlife Works, funded by the protection of our forests,” she says. Her third child graduated this year from our preschool program.
“I can now meet the needs of my family better than I could being self-employed,” she says. The best advice she would like to give to someone embarking on her career path is to be hardworking, determined and to remember that devotion is the key pillar to success.
The next skill Nora would like to acquire is pattern making and design. Nora is inspired to become an effective designer and to be recognized by all. We are proud to have Nora on our team and look forward to supporting her career as we grow.