Perception is truly deceiving, for one has to cut through the illusion to know what is the reality. When seeing Jumwa in a crowd she might not be the one to be noticed first but after talking to her in person, her strength and determination is almost visible. Though not possibly not being born like that but the path her life took made her the woman she is today.
Married off at such a tender age as a child to an old man she gave birth to her first child at the age of 15; six more children followed. Her husband was not able to provide for the family or pay for school fees and left nothing behind after he died and sadly living in these hard times, families rarely offer assistance. She then asked for assistance at Kiwandani School where her children learn and they suggested she contacts Kesho Organization. According to Jumwa that was a turning point in her life and she felt as if life had given her a second chance.
She used to do casual work (e.g. washing clothes) where she would earn KES 100 and tried to save as little as KES 20 per day. The challenge in her pursuit for employment was that she was unable to be with her children who wereall alone and did not get food. At that point in time she had managed to save about KES 2,500. When she got the chance to rent a small Kiosk she did not hesitate and used all her savings to pay rent and got somelittle stock to sell. She started by selling potatoes; later on she added bananas and tomatoes. Nowadays she buys stock in bulk in Mombasa. She’s extended the Kiosk by constructing a small outside area where she cooks and sells porridge and fried fish and has added a number of other products (coconut, charcoal to name a few) to her product range. This is a pure reminder of how one should never let adversities of life keep them down.
With the income of her business she is able to provide for her family and pay school fees for the children who are not supported by Kesho. And she still has many plans; she wants to continue expanding her business and would like to buy a piece of land.
Since 2014 Jumwa is also a member at Soyosoyo Cluster group in Kiwandani. Though she is an active member but does not engage in table banking since she feels that she is a good saver herself; what she surely has proven to be. However the group and the guidance of the Kesho Assistant Child Protection Officer have given her encouragement and support, which she appreciates a lot.
And to bring that beautiful story to an end we want to listen to Jumwa’s advice to other women: “Be innovative, empower yourself don’t wait for people to help. You have to get out of the house and do something”.