The University of Notre Dame’s Business Academy for Kenyan Women

The University of Notre Dame sponsors a business academy for young women in Kibera, Kenya. The shantytown in suburban Nairobi is home to one million people. Most homes have no electricity or running water.

In addition to elementary business and leadership training, students receive instruction in nutrition, health, and child-rearing. The academy offers a three-year program for about 25 women. Students are paid a small stipend to attend classes to offset income that they might be losing.

Students in the academy are trained to run small businesses and small loans are available to help with start-up costs. Current students have opened candy shops, fruit and vegetable stands, a hair salon, and clothing stores. One woman has started a stonecutting business.

The academy hopes to expand to 100 students in the near future. The plan is for some students at the University of Notre Dame to spend a semester at the school to study and learn Swahili and to help teach business skills to the Kenyan women.