WERE IT NOT for the resilience of these women of Kakola and Maraba Self Help Groups in Kisumu County, Kenya, life would have stopped and their children would never have seen the doors of a classroom again. The groups have become ideal centers of literacy, advocacy, awareness, hope, academic excellence, sustainability programs based on the IHOPEE education for empowerment model.
LIFE ALMOST STOPPED WHEN DEATH STRUCK UPON THE HOMES OF THESE WIDOWS AT DIFFERENT TIMES IN THEIR LIVES AND MADE THEM VULNERABLE AND HELPLESS.
Torn between hostile cultural practices, floods, lack of income, poor health, school fees for their children and other odds, the women remained hopeful but very vulnerable. They however refused to give up on life. They refused to die.
After she witnessed the perils of these widows and orphans, President and founder of IHOPEE non profit organization, Rose O. Oginga’s heart softened towards them. As an educator and teacher, she hatched a plan and reached out to those who could help.
President and Founder, IHOPEE Rose. O. Oginga (MSc). She is also author of “Unmasking Bullying in Schools” and “Budget Fitting”.
Along with her team comprising Dr, Pauline Kibisu (Vice President and Director Medical Mission), Jacque Miano (Treasurer and Education Director), Roselyn Okendo (BSN/RN Board Advisory) and Veronica Oguna (BSN/RN Board Maternal/Children’s Health Coordinator) they swiftly moved in and provided an anchor for the widows to lean on.
IT WAS NOT AN EASY FEAT BUT THE WOMEN WERE CREATIVE AND RESILIENT AND THEY CAME UP WITH PLANS AND GOALS WHICH THEY ENACTED. FOR THEM IT WAS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH AND THEY TOOK EVERY PROJECT SERIOUSLY.
Today, they can proudly retrace their footsteps and appreciate their journey of hope.
IHOPEE is an acronym for International Health Operations Patient Education and Empowerment.
It is a collective vision of North Americans and Kenyans who want to make a difference through community outreach, support women group empowerment through programs and educational scholarships, spread health education and mental awareness.
Tujipange Africa Media talked to some of the women involved in the project.
“WE COVER THREE SUB LOCATIONS. WE ARE VERY ACTIVE 25 COMMITTEE MEMBERS, WITHIN THE AREA. WE HAVE A SMALL ROOM OFFICE IN AHERO MARKET. WE STARTED THE GROUP IN 2008. WE REGISTERED IT IN 2010. WE HAVE CERTIFIED OUR OBJECTIVES AND CONTINUE TO UPLIFT LIVING STANDARDS OF ORPHANS AND WIDOWS,” SAYS MARGARET ANYANGO GWAYO, A WIDOW WITHIN KISUMU CITY, NYANDO COUNTY, AHERO WARD, KAKOLA LOCATION.
BESIDES TABLE BANKING AND HORTICULTURE (RICE), THE WOMEN HIRE OUT CHAIRS FOR FUNERALS, WEDDINGS,CHURCH SERVICES AND OTHER LOCAL EVENTS.