Imani's Impact: Antonia's Story
Antonina started working at Imani in 2006 after she was diagnosed with HIV. At that time, she was uncertain of her own survival as well as her 8-year-old daughter's future. Through AMPATH, Antonina was able to access HIV medical treatment, and then hone her skills in sewing at Imani Workshop.
Over more than a decade, Antonina kept in touch with Barb Zech from Indianapolis. On a recent trip to Kenya, Barb worked with Antonina and Imani to start a new product line of scarves made from recycled t-shirts. T-shirts donated to Goodwill and other US charitable organizations are shipped to Kenya by the ton, sometimes causing job losses by local clothing manufacturers. The new Imani t-shirt scarves create jobs by upcycling gently used T’s into fun and stylish scarves.
The Imani t-shirt scarves are a wonderful example of collaboration. Stacey Cassel, a volunteer with Global Gifts, introduced the idea. Then the employees at Imani built upon it with ideas for adding beadwork and Kitenge accents to some of the scarves, which adds unique Kenyan style.
Antonina is now one of the Imani tailors who creates these scarves, and more importantly, is a strong mother, a great friend, and mentor for other women working at Imani. She proudly shared that her now 19-year-old daughter is in college in Nairobi studying Deaf Education. Her daughter hopes to become a teacher for the Deaf - another underserved population in Kenya. Because of AMPATH and Imani Workshops, she has overcome many challenges!
Written By Deb Neary