You’ve opened our stories scrapbook where you can meet some of the inspirational people we’ve worked with along the way. No two people are the same, so neither are two scrapbook pages...
Maureen 'Bright and Beautiful' and one of the iSmart originals.
Maureen sings: "We are the ones, we are a family, we are iSmart."
Written by Simon, February 2012.
We first meet Maureen during a welcome rendition of the Livelyhoods iSmart anthem. She has a strong voice, an even stronger presence.
It was during Maureen’s mid-teens that her life changed drastically. Kenya’s 2007 post-election violence saw her sponsor flee the country, which meant no more education. She was jobless and dependent on others for over three years, until she eventually made it to LivelyHoods, social enterprise, iSmart.
I spent some of the day following Maureen as she walked around the market areas looking for sales. Her products included clean burning stoves and solar powered lamps. The first thing that struck me was how confident she was. I know that I’ve always found approaching people in the street quite intimidating, but Maureen had no problem talking to anyone. Although the sales pitches were all in Swahili it was obvious that people were very interested in the products - hardly surprising as they meet real needs for these communities, enabling them to save money in the mid to long term for a reasonable initial cost.
Maureen’s been working for iSmart for three years, and in the future would like to start her own business. She works five days a week selling around the Kawangware slum area, but she lives across the city, which means at the weekends she can sometimes sell in the area around her home were no-one else is selling the products. Earning money enables her to live rather than subsist. And the training and mentoring from the American founders means she can be an effective saleswoman and set herself up for her own future enterprise.
£1,632,751 invested in social organisations through 48 financial grants
£195,078 donated to our partners through fundraising
1,803 Days of expertise invested in our partners
Organisations supported through funding, expertise and connections2318
Lives improved as a result of our completed projects
59 Events convened or hosted