"I want others to know about the work that I am doing in the community to help the girls.”-- Monica Mwende, Zawadisha loan recipient and team member [TWEET THIS]
Meet Monica, a Zawadisha loan recipient and member of Zawadisha's Kenya-based staff, who has been able to make dramatic changes for herself and for her family since receiving a loan. Take a moment to see what she's doing--the return on what seems like a small investment will amaze you.
Z: Please tell us a little about yourself and your family -- where did you grow up, do you have brothers/sisters, how many children do you have now, what tribe do you belong to...
M: I identify with kiKamba, which is my mother's tribe. I am an only child. I grew up in Mombasa and went to school there. I later relocated to Maungu with my husband. I have 3 children, one son and two daughters.
Z: What has changed in your village/Kenya since you were a young girl?
M: Things were much cheaper when i was growing up. The economy doesn't seem to be that good anymore. People can't afford that anymore. Even back then when people didn't have enough money, they always seemed to have just enough. Now, it never seems to be quite enough. The level of education has also changed significantly. Back then, a class 8 level could find a job to support his/her family. Now, not even finishing undergraduate degree can get you a job.
Z: Now that you are a grown woman, what is the one thing that you are most proud of?
M: I am proud of my children.
Z: What brings you joy?
M: To see many more girls in school, and women being empowered, and not having to depend on their husbands.
Z: What does the future look like for you, your family, and your community?
M: I see myself and my family at such a different place than we are now. My kids will have all finished school and gotten good jobs. I also see more women continuing to be empowered, and especially financially.
Z: What do you want other people to know about you, your family, and/or your community?
M: I want others to know about the work that I am doing in the community to help the girls. I want them to know about the issues that the girls in the community are facing; lack of sanitary pads and panties when they need them the most because they cannot afford them. This means they have to frequently miss school. This is a huge problem in the schools here in this community. I want to eventually open a camp for the girls, as well as one for the boys that will teach them how to end GBV (Gender Based Violence), how to respect women, and to know that showing emotion does not mean that they are weak as they are currently being taught.
Z: If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?
M: I would want men and women, girls and boys to switch genders for a year so that each side could really truly understand what it really is like to be us. This will help us truly understand each other.