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Chumvi Sewing Center

Learning to sew at the new Chumvi Sewing Center.

The local Maasai women are using foot powered sewing machines making Days for Girls feminine hygiene kits. The remote village of Chumvi has no electricity. Thus all work is manual. This sewing center will become a hub for distribution of kits. Women will earn a living wage.   Sponsored by KHCI.

Chumvi, Kenya Sewing Center

Days For Girls at Chumvi, Kenya-

Sponsored by Kenyan Health Care Initiatives

Chumvi Sewing Center
Chumvi Sewing Center

Imagine, a seed of an idea planted by a young Kenyan nurse, Catherine Senteu, in June of 2013 requesting help to get menstrual supplies for the girls and woman of Lakipia District of Kenya to keep girls in school and give them dignity. An article in Oprah Magazine in January 2014 about Days For Girls, International was the catalyst. Kenyan Health Care Initiatives becomes the Connecticut Chapter for DFG in January 2014. Together all of you are making a difference in the lives of our sisters in Kenya. Within six months we:

• Provided start- up funds for the Chumvi, DFG Sewing Center. They have secured 2 treadle regular sewing machines, one treadle interlock (hemming) machine and supplies to begin a sustainable business for Maasai woman, some disabled. Sewing lessons have begun. Chumvi is a remote village with no electricity, no internet, and some cell phone service, about 1 ½ hours from the Nanyuki, the closest city;

• Donated, made, and sent 75 completed kits to be distributed by the clinic nurses in Chumvi and Lokusero, along with the DFG educational program;

• Donated materials for over 400 precut shields to be made by our Maasai sisters. These mailed boxes of supplies have been received and all are intact;

• Formed a relationship with the American Friends of Kenya who have offered us space on their container to send fifteen boxes of supplies and Kits to Chumvi in spring 2015;

• Are building an inventory of kits and supplies to send as we find reliable transport;

• Have raised funds to buy an Accuquilt DFG die cutter to cut shields, and a snap machine to send to Kenya this spring. Thanks you Victoria Walters and Kelly Berry;

• Came together as volunteer sewers, organizers and donors from CT, MA, PA and NJ to support this program forming a bond to bring “Education, and Dignity to Every Girl.”

• Organized the Oct 4, Sew-A-Thon, sewing, sewing demonstration and informational session, hosted by the Trinity Church on the new Haven Green.

Catherine Senteu
Catherine Senteu R.N.

Catherine, Reisa, coordinator of Woman Initiatives, Martha, Nurse at Chumvi, Gladys, Nurse at Lokursero sends us all their deepest thanks and gratitude. We are changing lives for girls and woman. Only with our support can this happen. The need is tremendous across all of Kenya. Together we can make the Chumvi Center a major hub for the making and distribution of sustainable menstrual kits.

Your help is needed to spread the news, doing good work, building trust and forming a personal relationship with the Maasai women. We welcome sewers and especially folks who can serge (Hem stitch). We welcome quilting groups and sewing groups to join us. We welcome people to donate supplies: PUL, Cotton Cloth, Flannel, Underwear, and Zip Lock Gallon Bags. We welocme donations to fund the center, and buy supplies. We welcome speaking engagements to share all programs and good works of KHCI.


Chumvi Clinic

Chumvi is a crossroads community that is growing fast and becoming a central hub. It is located about six miles over dirt roads from Timau, the nearest population center. The Chumvi Primary School has more than 700 students with some students walking two hours to reach school. Chumvi is the home to the KHCI Woman’s Center which houses the Chumvi, Kenya Days for Girls Enterprise.

Chumvi Clinic
Chumvi Clinic

Maternity Unit for Chumvi Clinic

Nurse/Midwife Martha Maleson Lesowapir
Nurse/Midwife Martha Maleson Lesowapir

The Chumvi Clinic, a facility in the private sector, was in danger of closing in 2008 because of inadequate funding. Given the large population area (more than 9000 clients) financial support to keep this clinic in operation was deemed important, and funds were sent to sustain the clinic, provide funding for construction of a maternity unit, and partially subsidize the costs of delivery in the clinic setting. Il Ngwesi Clinics and KHCI work toward increasing the number of in-clinic deliveries to reduce neo natal and maternal mortality and morbidity.

Many women reside miles from the nearest health care facility and must walk to the clinic because of lack of available transportation. One of the big issues is how to provide care for women in their third trimester who come to the clinic in false labor. In the past women were expected to walk home if they were not ready to deliver. This was truly an extreme hardship for the pregnant women. The other issue of concern for women who deliver in the clinic is how to provide a space for post-partum rest and nourishment before they walked back to their homes.

The women of Chumvi and Nurse Martha came up with a wonderful solution for these two issues, the creation of a maternal shelter using traditional Maasai construction techniques called a Manyatta. It is bringing their home to the clinic. Inside the newly completed shelter there is now a double bed with linens and mattress, several benches, a hearth for warmth, a propane stove for heating making tea and cooking porridge, basic cooking utensils, a water thermos and solar lighting provided by KHCI. Now women come to the clinic accompanied by a relative and have a comfortable place to stay for a few days. This model has been successful, is being adopted in Lokusero and will likely spread to other clinics.

As an additional incentive to encourage women to deliver in the clinic KHCI and CT Chapter of Days for Girls are providing DFG Heavy Flow Feminine Hygiene pads and Sanitary towels, along with receiving blankets and a new born out fit for women who deliver in the clinic. In the spring of 2016, state of the art Fetal Doppler’s were given to both Chumvi and Lokusero Clinic. Imagine the joy of women as they heard for the first time the beating of their unborn child’s heart. This has brought many to the clinic to hear the heartbeat.

Nursing Education

KHCI provided a Nursing continuing education grant to LPN/midwife Martha to help her obtain a RN diploma. Martha received her BSN in 2012 and is currently working in Chumvi Clinic near her family.

Water at Chumvi

In Chumvi a large water project was completed several years ago by a Canadian donor where water is piped about 12 miles (20km). An emerging challenge is to level out water availability throughout the year, water supply is impacted during the dry season. The community is considering the construction of additional water storage and piping and has approached KHCI for help in the venture. This will help significantly improve village life, hygiene and combat disease.


Clinics are at the heart of KHCI’s mission because they are at the center of every community, providing primary access for emergency, preventative, and maternal and new born care. They also act as centers for health education and referral. The clinic are staffed by nurses who are largely responsible for the health of the communities that they serve.

KHCI provides clinic support in the communities of Chumvi, Lokusero and Ntalabany targeting projects and equipment for which there is currently no government funding. Chumvi and Lokusero nurses see over 10,000 patients and deliver over 100 babies per year. Deliveries occur in the Manyatta home setting or in the clinic. The government is actively encouraging women to deliver in the clinic to reduce neonatal and maternal mortality. With your help KHCI can continue to build, stock and develop clinics as centers for primary care and education.


Day For Girls

Keeping girls in school, delaying early pregnancy and marriage has been identified by the Group Ranch as an important need. KHCI has partnered with Days for Girls International, an organization dedicated to improving women’s health, education and productivity to bring DFG programing to the Group Ranch. With great success, KHCI has distributed reusable feminine hygiene kits and sponsored educational workshops for men, women, boys and girls.

With the support of KHCI, Chumvi Village women founded the Chumvi Days for Girls Enterprise, a micro business dedicated to the manufacture of DFG reusable feminine hygiene kits and health education programing. The enterprise was established in response to the need to help girls stay in school, to provide economic opportunities for women, and to work toward gender equality. KHCI is the Connecticut Chapter of Days for Girls in the United States and has sent more than 2,500 reusable feminine hygiene kits to Kenya. It has also sent materials and tools for the local fabrication of many more kits in the support of the Chumvi Days for Girls Enterprise.

KHCI has coordinated sending women from the Chumvi Sewing center to the “Uganda DFG University” to be trained in sewing, soap making, business planning, marketing, and supply chain and distribution networking. These skills will help keep the enterprise on firm economic footing. KHCI has made the commitment to support the Chumvi Sewing Center with financial help and additional supplies including feminine hygiene kits as the women develop their skills and generate business.

KHCI has constructed a new sewing center building and women-friendly latrine. These facilities will provide a well-lit, safe, secure space for women to work and thrive.