Today, 8th March 2021, is International Women’s Day. It’s is an invitation to celebrate the women who’ve inspired us and they are often close to home - within our workplace, friendship group or own family.
Today, I’d like to put my spotlight on Mwana, who is the principal of Bluebells, the second school we’ve built. Dreaming of a better way to educate the children around her, she’s shown incredible self-belief, determination and resilience in a society that is in many ways, still very patriarchal. But she’s persevered, and her gentle and quiet determination have resulted in this joyous little school that the children enjoy today
Mwana is full of ideas to incorporate a wholesome education for the children with scant resources. Her ‘shamba’ vegetable plot is a source of pride and joy and not only are vegetables and fruit grown here for the school’s consumption, but she sells any surplus to local markets, to increase the income for the school. In addition she has a small chicken farm at home, and sells these for additional school funding.
She’s very community minded and has helped many a struggling family last year during the pandemic, by visiting them on foot and bringing those most in need, food parcels. She had some of the more vulnerable girls drop into the school, because it gave them a safe space, where they could read, play with their friends or be peaceful under her watchful eye.
Her staff of 8 all adore her, and love her even-handed temperament and her generosity of spirit. Volunteers working at the school also love her. Nothing seems to faze Mwana – whether it’s scooping a sick child and whizzing them off to a local hospital on the back of a boda-boda, or organising a fantastic spectacle of a birthday cake for a volunteer. As one recent volunteer said of her, ‘she’s like a modern Islamic version of Mother Theresa’ - a very high accolade indeed.
Her energy and grit, the joy she sees in her happy children and staff alike are what inspire her, and this in turn, inspires me. She challenges the norm, is prepared to fight for what she thinks is right and is determined to bring about positive change for herself, her family and the family that is her school. Mwana, we salute YOU!
Who are the inspiring women in your life?