Teenage Mothers Association of Kenya (TEMAK)

temak.jpg (19782 bytes)           temaktiedyes.jpg (83567 bytes) TEMAK
P.O. Box 4220
Kisumu, Kenya






T he sign for TEMAK indicates that it is "the last house towards the Obunga slums." While the word "slum" has a slightly different meaning in Kenya, the levels of poverty and illness in a Kenyan slum is much higher than that of a normal Kenyan neighborhood. Many of the unwed mothers who come to TEMAK to learn job skills live in these slums.

TEMAK is an organization that offers job training in tailoring, hairdressing, secretarial skills, tie dying, batiking, and recently computers to unwed mothers, girls, and others in the Obunga slum community. It has also become critical that the organization provide the community with an educational forum for HIV/AIDS awareness as well as the dangers of female genital mutilation.

To enable the young women to learn a trade, their children often attend a primary school conducted in a sheds in the back of the compound. Twenty or thirty young women learn the trade of tailoring by sewing clothing of paper bags. The room is full of the whirring sound created by the manual sewing machines. Saturdays are reserved for tie dying and batiking material that is sold as tablecloths, curtains, or bedspreads, or tailored into clothing. The dyes and materials used are a high quality and produce material in deep hues.

In the last year, TEMAK has become a craft center for many of the artisans and craftspeople in Kisumu, who are known for making products out of recycled wire, tin, metal,  and the weed, water hyacinth.  The artisans, for example,  will make the wire decoration or paint images on the discarded tin while the young women will affix the designs to greeting cards, making it a complete product.  The TEMAK center provides artisans with a place to work and acts as a consolidation point for selling items to international markets, greatly increasing the sustainable income available in the region.