A Kenya entrepreneur has been honored by US First Lady Michelle Obama during the United State of Women Summit at the US Department of State on that took place on Tuesday.
Ciiru Waithaka Waweru received special mention for her work encouraging women to get more involved in the building and construction industry which is seen more as a preserve for men.
“This is worth stopping for a minute,” Mrs Obama said hugging Ciiru who was beaming from ear to ear after she called her on stage of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 women summit where she was the geust speaker.
“Ciiru is from Kenya. So we are Family. She started a business called FunKidz to create furniture, accessories and educational tools for children that are based on African stories. But while there was a lot of demand for her products, she found that as a woman it was hard for her to get the capital that she needed to meet that demand.”
The Kenyan, who is an architect, has grown her company FunKidz from two employees to nearly 30 employees in just five years. Her company is billed a children’s furniture maker and their products include babies’ beds, cots, stuy desks, wardrobes among others which are mainly sold in East Africa.
The company product line has over 100 children’s accessories.
Ciiru was able to double her production capacity, hire new employees and start selling her products around the world after getting a loan from 10,000 women.
“She didn’t stop at enjoying her success. Ciru stepped up and founded a program for kids from struggling families to teach them about innovation and technology and she has reached more than 350 children,” said Mrs. Obama.