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City Lady Juggles Beadwork, Dress Making And Family

Fatuma Said learned beadwork to raise school fees. Now it's her fulltime job

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Fatuma Said is one incredible woman. After losing her job during the early stages of Covid-19, she ran into difficulties and couldn’t raise school fees for her four children. Her husband’s salary alone could not cater for family needs and pay their fees.

Fatuma had to think outside the box – and fast. She approached Wells of Hope Academy, formerly Prosperity Junior Academy. Head Teacher, Mrs Nancy Wangacha, and requested if she could work at the school to supplement her children’s fees.

But the headteacher had a better idea. Since she wasn’t the only parent facing financial difficulties, Mrs Wangacha brought in a beadwork trainer who would teach parents the art of creating ornaments.

“At first I did it to clear school fees arrears, but the moment I made a few items, I really got attached to them and was proud of what I was capable of producing,” said the 33-year-old mother of four. “I just love the art of beadwork.”

Ms Fatuma, who hails from Kwale County, has been beading for over a year now and has no intention of stopping. Bracelets, bangles, ladies’ handbags, table mats and fruit trays are just some of the items she makes from beads. Prices range from Ksh300 to Ksh2,500 depending on the item and its size.

Apart from beadwork, Ms Fatuma is also a dressmaker, mostly vitenge fashion. Her clients purchase on order, while some clients bring materials to get tailor-made outfits. She charges between Ksh1,500 to Ksh5,000 for dresses depending on type of material and style.

Though business has not been as smooth, Fatuma is striving to balance between her business and her young family.  Since she works from her house in Kangemi Estate, Nairobi, she gives ample time for her kids whenever she’s not busy with work.

Fatuma’s work can be found on Tumi’s Designs Facebook page. She plans to open a shop later in the year to showcase her products.

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