Teresa Njoroge had embarked on a successful business career in Kenya until she was arrested for a crime she didn’t commit. Unable to pay her bail or pay for a defense lawyer, Teresa served 12 months in Langata Women’s Maximum Security Prison before being exonerated after her release.
Teresa’s circumstances are the norm in a country where 1.5 million women live in chronic poverty and are either desperate or simply unable to pay their court fees. Of this 1.5 million, there currently are over 20,000 women imprisoned in Kenya, many of whom will find themselves even more indebted and desperate following their release, resulting in female recidivism rates of 40-50% nationwide.
Teresa’s experience left a deep impression on her and she has since founded an organization known as Support Me in My Shoes (SMIMS) which is dedicated to helping former inmates reintegrate into wider society upon their release.
Through her newest initiative, Clean Start, Teresa aims to provide former inmates with office cleaning jobs upon their release in order to break the cycle of poverty and incarceration. She has already begun training a group of ex-inmates in Nairobi and Kiambu, has begun a training program in several correctional institutions and is actively lobbying government and private organizations for cleaning contracts.
Author: The Pollination Project