Stella Makena

Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya

Stella Makena lives in the informal settlement of Kibera, Nairobi and is partly responsible for the growth of embroidery in Kenya’s capital. She came to stitching in 2019 when she made a story for the Woman’s World Quilt which described the lack of services available to women in Kibera. The following year she organized training for ten friends in Kibera to produce stories about the pandemic for the Kenyan COVID Quilts. Stella herself produced two powerful blocks that showed the exodus from the capital Nairobi and the mournful funeral of a COVID victim without family members being present. Stella organized another embroidery in Kibera the following year to make blocks for the Sister Artists 2 challenge. Her own block featured a bright red firefinch which was quilted by Judy Miller in California and auctioned. Stella leads the women’s association Shield of Faith which has launched a composting project supported by The Advocacy Project. Embroidery remains one of Stella’s favorite hobbies. She finds it therapeutic and loves to see the way her friends react with joy to a finished piece.

More from Stella  

Work by Stella