From Outcast to Mogul

Gem Village, Kenya

 

The story of Mama Veronica is one of inspiration that shows the power of Transformational Community Development (TCD) programmes.

 

She was often neglected and her opinions and thoughts about the community were never sought out or held in high regard. As other men and women talked of a way forward for the village, she could hardly contribute or even be invited to meetings since she was not even recognised as part of the community. Mama Veronica was married as a second wife to an elderly man who died and left her with nothing but many kids to feed. As a result, she was forced to beg around for food, doing casual work like washing clothes on homesteads just to get some food for her kids in return. 

 

One day, as the GHNI staff were conducting house-to-house evaluations, they met Mama Veronica at her thatch hideout she shared with her children. She told them her life history, expecting some one-time relief like a food handout, but this was not the case: Mama Veronica was invited to a women's group meeting, which she attended and enrolled in afterwards. This was the beginning of a big change in her life, she says.

 

After Mama Veronica was enrolled and started the table banking programme with the group, we helped her through until she received her first soft loan. Together with others, she immediately started a small business. They set up a small food kiosk within the village, which began generating enough income for her to feed her children and place some small savings in the group account. Then suddenly Mama Veronica became one of the beneficiaries of the goat loan project. She tells how her anger and resentment were channeled into aggressiveness in her business dealings and how she later built a house for her family. They no longer take shelter under a thatch hideout. In the women’s group, her voice is loud for what she has achieved and many seek her advice unlike before. She tells the other women it is all about hard work, determination, and commitment to what you are and what you envision.

 

Thank you!

 

Habiba
GHNI National Field Leader

 

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