The Seamstress Project “Hope Designers”

The Seamstress Project “Hope Designers”

Hope Designers is a social enterprise supported by Kar Geno that provides training and employment to HIV positive mothers in Kisumu, west Kenya. The project seeks to end the stigma associated with HIV by demonstrating that HIV positive mothers are resilient, industrious and capable.

It was born out of the need and our desire to help HIV positive mothers make sustainable income, so that they can be independent and able to support their families. Our vision is to create a world where women can create social change through economic empowerment. To bring this vision into reality, we empower vulnerable women in need of socio-economic independence through entrepreneurship. All of the women in our project are HIV-positive mothers.

Women are frequently the worst affected when it comes to unemployment and poverty.
Without any income of their own, women depend on men for everything. If the men are also unemployed, matters get worse, and poverty can be severe. Empowerment of women through self-reliance and financial independence can be achieved by providing business development skills and training. Using the skills and knowledge they have acquired, women can either start up their own small business or take a job.

We produce original items such as handbags, purses, backpacks, aprons, skirts and shirts from African “Kitenge” prints that meet international standards and market demands. Our products are unique and of high quality.

As a social enterprise we ensure that Hope Designers’ members are paid a fair price for their products, which includes payment for pension contributions, sick and annual leave, and insurance contributions for medical expenses. All remaining profits are re-invested into the project. HIV positive women in our project are trained for embroidery, arts and design skills as well as tailoring. The course duration is 6 months for basic cutting and sewing. The participants can then progress to the next level which is training in detailed art and creativity.

Hope Designers too rely on the microfinance. The members set up a dedicated table-banking group which helps them save money and issue loans when needed. By contributing frequent savings installments, each member accumulates shares in the fund. When a member decides to leave the programme, the fund is used to purchase a sewing machine for the departing woman, so that she can start her own micro business and leave not only with an improved set of skills, but also with a tool for the future.

Hope Designers is a supplier of our seamstress products globally through our partner organizations and volunteers. Our past volunteers also provide guidance and expertise on a voluntary basis.

To see some examples of our products and to get to know the members of the group please visit:

Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a retailer of our products.