The Journey

The idea about Mdada came about in 2014 when I was living in Tanzania. My job wasn’t fulfilling and so I decided to start something that I was passionate about. I liked fashion and wanted to use it as an instrument for change in my community.

When I was in high school I remember experiencing financial difficulties and as a result being sent home for lack of school fees. Later on in life, this experience inspired the desire to help young girls overcome this challenge.

I decided to sell T-shirts and use part of the profits to pay school fees for girls in high school in my community. This was such a difficult task because when I started, I wasn’t selling enough t-shirts to generate the required amount for school fees which was about $500 per year.

Founder: Ainaeny Lila Kiwelu

 

I pivoted and tried several products to see what would work. I made scarves, sold stickers, shoes and later bracelets. Bracelets turned out to be so profitable I trained one of my girls to make personalized bracelets with people’s names. With an investment of $10 she made $100 in total sales and a profit of $90.

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Nicole, one of the students handmaking Mdada bracelets.

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Mdada T-shirts

Design by Abigail Toha

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Mdada Bracelets

Handmade

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Mdada Scarf

Handmade

Mdada Kit

This is when I came up with the Mdada kit which contained all the materials necessary to start making the bracelets. Every once in a while I would also give a talk in a high-school in Kawangware to encourage the youth to be entrepreneurial and start something small where they can. Being an introvert, this was not easy for me but it helped me build my confidence and make a difference no matter how little it was.

Acknowledgement at WISE Doha, 2015

 
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WISE is an international, multi-sectoral platform for creative thinking, debate and purposeful action. WISE has established itself as a global reference in new approaches to education. Through both the biennial Summit and a range of ongoing programs WISE is promoting innovation and building the future of education through collaboration. I was selected as one of the WISE Education Innovators in the 2015 summit where Michelle Obama was the guest speaker.

 
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Michelle Obama at WISE. Image from Alarabiya News

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Honors & Awards

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Training +100 youth

Testimonial from one of our school fees beneficiaries

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Interviewing the girls

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Training at Ashoka

Started 4 profitable jewelry stands in major malls in Nairobi, Kenya.

Accepted to MIT Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in

Brisbane, Australia

Was honored as a WISE 2015 Education innovator in

Doha, Qatar

 

What is Mdada for Girls up to now?

Mdada for Girls has evolved to a platform that is giving back to its community. Throughout my journey as a social entrepreneur, I’ve been supported by different people and organizations through training and seed funding. I’m forever grateful to all those who gave me a chance especially my family, friends, business partners and customers. 

It’s now a pleasure for me to give back to all those who are starting their

social enterprises whether as individuals or as registered organizations. 

I’m still passionate about businesses or organizations that have a positive impact on youth education and values. One of my favorite charities

is Scripture Union Kenya which nurtures children's knowledge of the bible. I would also like to support initiatives that keep children in school by providing school meals.