The Strength of One Woman
“Dreams do come true,” that is probably the first thing that Vicky Kimuhu will tell you if you asked her to narrate her life story.
Vicky, a single mother of one child, is enthusiastic about the team work involved in shipping finished goods from the Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project EPZ factory to their final destination abroad. She’s been with Wildlife Works for just over two years now.
“Handling shipping successfully, which is a new thing to me, excites me a lot! Though I am an enthusiastic professional and versatile designer with extensive experience in garment production from the raw material to the end product, I am happy to learn new things. My goals are to ensure smooth work flow especially during pattern making, exportation of goods and to see this company expand to a big company with many clients and employees,” Vicky says.
Getting to where she is today was not an easy road. Despite being born in Nairobi and raised in Rift Valley region a place far away from the port industries, Vicky always had hopes of working for an export company.
As a child, Vicky performed well in national level exams in middle school and was able to join a regional high school, despite her parent’s struggles to raise her school. ”Many times I was sent home because I didn’t have school fees, the proper school uniform or books,” she says. After completion of high school, Vicky could not afford to immediately attend University due to lack of funds from her parents. “The most challenging time came when my father lost his job in the service industry. “My four siblings and I, turned to my mother for financial support from the little salary she got as a primary school teacher,” she explained.
Her determination to continue school strengthened her will to make some money on her own. “My mother, my main mentor, taught me all the skills she had. She trained me to make mats, sweaters, tablecloths, seat covers, dolls, to do hair and even catering. All these skills helped me make a little money,” she says. Then in the evenings, Vicky would join her father in the farm and sell the products in the ‘shamba,’ or local market. “We grew and sold produce like maize, yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes and onions,” she explains. After two years of hard work, Vicky was able to raise a small percentage of the money to supplement the funds acquired from her beloved Mom, government bursaries and the well wishers.
After graduating, Vicky found work at many factories in Nairobi as a quality control supervisor, pattern maker and merchandiser for several years before joining us at Wildlife Works.
Vicky applied to Wildlife Works because our mission inspired her. “I am very passionate about protecting wildlife, and this company was a unique opportunity for me to enhance my skills in garment manufacturing, have income to raise my family and to increase my knowledge.”
Vicky advises people embarking on this career path to never give up since this is a skill that will never fade. Job markets are readily available and one can always start his or her own business and even create employment for other people. Lastly, you have an opportunity to learn more since the world of fashion keeps on changing.
“I am motivated by my only daughter, my family and the clients response to our work. When you produce quality garments and the clients responds positively, I feel encouraged behind my ambition,” she explains.
The next skills Vicky would like to add to her knowledge base is to complete the course in purchasing and supply management and to learn printing and embroidery. Vicky’s dream is to start her own fashion line or wardrobe.
Her inspiration is to see people joining hands in the protection of wildlife by embracing garments made in a fair trade factory!