Three radiant women sit at the corner in the huge room in Villa Rosa, Kempinski. I excitedly walked towards them. All I can see is the joy and a sense of pride that each of them has even though they have gone through challenges. Each one of them has their own personal story.
The first lady I spoke to was Elizabeth Wanjiru from Kibera, who is looking beautiful in a kitenge dress. It is evident she had something to celebrate. Kibera for her has been a place where opportunity has been lacking for a while until the she connect program was set up there. She connect is an online platform that has enabled women such as Elizabeth open new doors. Elizabeth has learnt to market herself online and made the cover seats she designs become a profitable business. The Youth banner in Kibera helped her join the program and since then her life has been for the better. “Most women in Kibera believe that if you find Shebesh, the women representative in Nairobi, you will be helped. Yet change starts with you,” said Elizabeth
Cheerful Ann Njoki amazed me with her constant smile. When I first asked how the internet has helped her, her response was very simple, she mentioned that sometimes when she’d like to jazz her family with a sumptuous meal, she Googles it. Ann who comes from Mukuru Wa Njenga is a business lady and she has struggled to make it in business. Her new knowledge in word processing has helped her become organized and more enthusiastic about her business. The lack of information in such communities makes people believe that they have little or no opportunities.
As soon as Phenny Okoch gave me her card, I was beyond impressed. Video editor, motivational speaker, gospel artist; amongst other skills were intriguing. Before I knew it, I had asked a million and one questions as to who exactly this woman was. Phenny grew up in a filthy rich background as she described it. She came from a social status that she did not expect to drop as much as it did as soon as her father was assassinated. Everything in her life took an unexpected turn and soon she was sleeping in churches and finally ended up in an orphanage in Korogocho.
“Once I was almost gang raped” Phenny whispered. Her faith in God all throughout the interview was admirable. It made sense that she became a motivational speaker as children from the orphanage she lived in received strength from her. Though Phenny tried to take her own life at some point, nothing she tried worked and eventually she gave up. She then discovered that her purpose would not escape her. Phenny managed to benefit from the digital platform and since then she uploads her music online.
The similarity between Phenny and other women that did not understand technology is that before they understood technology they would be ripped off a lot. The production of music and uploading would cost Ms. Okoch a fortune until she learnt to do it herself. This all rounded lady is currently working on her book which is about salvation and has more details about her life.
Nothing beats an educated woman; she rears her family and nurtures the people around her with relevant knowledge. It changes community dynamics positively. These women and their digital stories are already making a difference. Knowledge is power at the end of the day and these ladies are using their newly learnt skills to help themselves and their communities.