Grace's Story

Money isn’t a problem for me now, not any more. I’ve been able to combine the business I had before becoming an outworker at Neema with my jewellery making skills and now I can comfortably support my son and I.

I started at Neema during its first year, when my son was three-years-old. That was the year my father died and my mother had died the year previously. It was hard coping without them, as we’d always supported each other. I don’t have a husband and I raised my son with their help from the beginning. It was hard, just selling sweets on my stall. The money wasn’t enough to buy things for my son, or anything else for me for that matter and we struggled.

I tried selling mandazi, which wasn’t successful. I was constantly rooting around for money just for basic things like soap. I was so unhappy. There weren’t many options open to me because I never went to school – I couldn’t even get there as I can’t walk and my parents couldn’t afford to buy a bike for me. Polio crippled both my legs after I’d developed it at the age of one and I had to stay at home and crawl around. I had friends who came to visit me, but I longed to go to school.

After trying out a few businesses I then decided to apply to Neema Crafts. Finally I had the chance to do great work. It just shows how us disabled people can do anything if we’re given the chance. Neema hasn’t just provided us with a wage. It’s given us the chance to exchange our lives and experiences with each other. I also feel that other people can finally see that we count, whilst before I was ignored in town, now I have many friends. I really want to carry on working here.

Grace is one of our outworkers and makes beaded bracelets, toy snakes, crocodiles, and bunting.