‘They smile now’: Del. teacher looking for donations to expand school in Kenya
DELAWARE – One Delaware woman is doing what she can to help people thousands of miles away, across the ocean in Kenya. It’s all in the form of a needle and thread, but to keep making an impact, she needs your help.
“Four years ago I went to Kenya for the first time on a mission trip, and my church was surveying the area seeing what the needs were, and I was distracted by these broken sewing machines in a corner,” Alayna Aiken, a Delaware teacher and the founder of Kenya Gather, said.
That was in 2016. Flash forward to 2018, and Aiken was back in Kenya, still thinking about those sewing machines. She decided to take the plunge, buy land in the country, and open her very own sewing school there called Kenya Gather, showing women in the country something that she’s passionate about and has been teaching in Delaware for years.
“It’s more than just a sewing school for women, it is a sanctuary from the culture in itself, and it’s also a sanctuary for women who have been oppressed,” she said.
But after seeing the success of the school and the impact it’s had on the women learning there, Aiken wants to expand the school and complete two more buildings on the property.
One would house students and teachers who stayed there and the other would be for administrative purposes. Work has already started on the two buildings, but of course expenses pile up and now Aiken is asking for donations to be able to bring the gift of a sewing skill, and livelihood, to the people she’s come to love in Kenya. It’s a project that, she says, she always felt Delmarva would be a part of.
“People could come together, and be like this is what we did as a community to impact the other side of the world,” she said.
And, she says it’s a project that makes a bigger difference than even she ever realized.
“We have story after story of these women who are just changed by it, someone taking time and valuing them, and teaching them something,” Aiken said.
If you’re interested in donating, you can do so by visiting KenyaGather.org. Aiken says she’s going back to Kenya next month, so she hopes to have more money fundraised by then.