Sep 022013
 

As my 5 weeks of volunteering with Living Positive Mlolongo come to an end, I would first like to thank the three Kenyan women that helped make my experience a profound one; Mary, the director, and Abigail and Cate, the social workers. I also would like to thank my Kenyan family Elizabeth, Flora, Felicia, Jacob, Alfred and Lulu that took me in as one of their own the second I arrived.

Prior to arriving here in Kenya, I was a firm believer in women and girls empowerment, particularly when it came to the developing world. My seven years of involvement back in the states with the organization CARE helped me to see the great impact women and girls can have on society and I was fortunate enough to be able to visit a CARE Kenya project in Embu that focuses on empowering women through a Group Savings and Loans project. One cannot deny the statistics that glaringly show how women and girls are oppressed and underutilized in many parts of the world. As I volunteered here for 5 weeks, I have undoubtedly witnessed this with my own eyes.

In connection to this, one of the more profound moments I had while here in Kenya was with my friend David, who I met not far from my home on one of my first nights here. We sat down in his nearby Church and he talked to me about his belief in women ‘s empowerment and how he started a community based organization back in his village that focused on women’s empowerment. The organization did not have a significant impact on his community though due to the fact that his belief in women’s empowerment was not shared among the other men in his village. Essentially, he was the only man in his village who believed in women’s empowerment. As I was sitting there talking to him, I could not help but think that there was no other place that I was supposed to be at that exact moment. It was no accident that I had met one of the few Kenyan men that believe in women and girl’s empowerment. Here I was, a New Yorker from the Western world and David a Kenyan man from a small village on the border of Kenya and Uganda, and we spoke passionately about how women and girls empowerment can have such a positive impact on developing countries across the world, particularly in Africa. As I said goodbye to him that night, I was truly inspired and that feeling never left me for the remainder of my stay in Kenya.

In closing, the women and children I have had the privilege to meet and work with for the past weeks will be forever embedded in my heart. The relationships that we formed have undoubtedly been mutually beneficial and I will be forever grateful for that. They have further impassioned me in this cause and my belief that women and girls are the solution to many of the world’s problems has grown even stronger.

 

   

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