Nairobi Jua Kali Artisans Train Street Children for Free, Offer Them Jobs

An Image of Jua Kali wares on display.
An Image of Jua Kali wares on display.
The Standard

Artisans in Kamukunji's Jua Kali market in Nairobi initiated a programme to train street children for free and offer them jobs as a way of keeping them away from crime. 

Speaking on Monday, January 23, the Kamukunji Jua Kali Association Secretary General, Tom Mboya, stated that the association equipped the street children with the necessary artisan skills to enable them earn a living.

Mboya added that the venture also served as a training centre for pupils who were not able to get post-high school education or those who did not get the necessary grades to transition to high school.

Jua Kali
Jua Kali Artisans in Kamukunji at work.
Flier Online

“We train them so that instead of stealing from others in the streets, they get a real opportunity to acquire skills and rightfully make their money.

“Some of the children dropped out of school in grade eight because they did not get the grades to be enrolled in high school among many other reasons,” Mboya stated.

Mboya explained that the trainees had an opportunity to continue working with them at the market after their training, allowing them to put their skills to good use

However, James Mwaura, the chairman of the association, lamented that the market had since become too small because of the increasing number of artisans joining the Association through the programme. 

The chairman pleaded with the government to allocate them a bigger space to enable ease of their operations. 

“The space has become too small. It was meant to accommodate 350 people but we have grown to 8,000 artisans,” Mwaura stated. 

Mwaura added that the government should help them find markets outside of Kenya as many of their products including the school metal boxes are bought majorly during the start of a school year. 

On December 16, 2022, the Kenya National Qualification Authority (KNQA) introduced a new framework that would allow persons in the Jua Kali sector to go through an assessment that would test their relevance in the job market.

The Authority’s Acting Director General Alice Kande explained that the framework would allow the artisans to advance through three levels where artisans in the Jua Kali sector can be tested via their vernacular language.

“The move would enable the country to benefit more from the sector through proper assessment and certification of individuals,” Kande stated. 

A collage of Jua Kali artisans and graduands in a graduation ceremony.
A collage of Jua Kali artisans and graduands in a graduation ceremony.
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