Knowledge and competence are the power and authority that change the world. But in many places, girls and women have limited or no opportunities to participate in them. In spring 2020, Kalevala financed the establishment of the Kalevala Training Center project, which opens a path to a vocation and independent livelihoods for young women in the small village of Makongeni in Kenya, far beyond the equator. Kalevala Training Center operations in Kenya are led by Viola Wallenius, a young woman from Finland. The project came naturally for Kalevala, as the company’s beginnings and reason for being originates in a charitable idea, and in providing support for women and children in particular.

In spring 2014, high-school graduate Wallenius left for Kenya to do volunteer work. She returned to Finland two months later, but she left her heart in Africa. She read the story of a Finnish lady who set up a children’s home in Nepal, and wondered whether she could do the same. To implement the project, Wallenius established an association called Home Street Home the same autumn. Thanks to Kalevala Training Center, the association now provides continuous support to the education of women and girls. And the operations are expanding further.

The aim is to educate 190 women annually

In spring 2020, Kalevala Training Center for girls and young women was built in the village of Makongeni, on the east coast of Kenya, by 60 local artisans, builders and specialists. The Training Center offers three training programs for teenage mothers, girls and women aged 16 to 25. It specifically seeks to serve those who have had no education and come from poor families, are school dropouts or have never even started school or are otherwise in the most vulnerable position. The training programs last from two to six months, and are part of the Kenyan state education system. At the end of the course, the students take a national final exam and receive an official certificate for their skills. The first students on the hairdressing, seamstress and data processing course started in summer 2020, and the Training Center aims to educate 190 young women every year. The Kalevala Training Center building and daily activities are fully facilitated by Kalevala’s funding. In the first year of operation, the aim is to have 170 young women qualified for a vocation.

You can follow Kalevala Training Center’s everyday life and progress on this page, Instagram and Facebook – see how Finnish jewelry not only brings joy to its wearer, but also does concrete good thousands of kilometers away in a small village in Kenya.