Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How One Phenomenal Woman Is Changing Lives In Kisii And Nyamira

Gladys Mwango saw firsthand the suffering orphaned children underwent in her rural home. Although she lacked resources at the time to help such vulnerable cases, Gladys dream of finding a permanent solution for the girl child and women did not dim. Through KAWACO, Gladys and her team have made a big impact in the community.
Here is an exclusive interview she granted

Q . Hi , Who is Gladys Mwango?

Hello! Thank you so much Eddy, I am delighted and honored to be interviewed by you as one of the best Bloggers in the Diaspora, and by the way, congratulations on your nomination on DEAR Awards. Just wanted to get that out of the way before I forget. Well! How can I introduce myself, I am a mother, am happily married, am a student, and also am the founder of KAWACO. I love to travel and see the world and I also love nature.

Q What does KAWACO stand for?

KAWACO stands for Kenya All Women & Children Organization. It’s an organization that empowers women and children who are vulnerable in rural Kisii and Nyamira county. The organization was founded in April 2015.

Q What sparked the idea of KAWACO?

A few years ago just before I left my beloved country Kenya, I witnessed several people in my village who struggled to make ends meet. They had children to feed and pay school fees from selling fruits and vegetables. This family, I knew so well lost both their parents, they were total of 8 children, the oldest was 14 years, and they were left as orphans to look after themselves. I was heartbroken, however, I had no job by that time. I had just arrived here in the USA, the struggle was real, I did not know anyone here, I had to try and help myself first. But as years went by, I kept on thinking about those orphans, I knew there is a reason why the thought kept on coming back, I consulted a couple of my friends, who also were of the idea we do something to help those orphans and that is how KAWACO was born. The organization main purposes is to help the women and children in needy situations.

Q How many beneficiaries have you helped? Why girls and not a boy child who is neglected?

That is great question Eddy, currently KAWACO has been helping more than 50 girls of different ages, as you know, they have different needs. To answer your second question we actually do help young boys. However they also have to meet the requirements of the minimum of 350 points to be considered. They have to be from the two counties of Nyamira or Kisii and also be needy or orphaned to get assistance from

Q. What are your challenges?

Our main challenge is the high number of deserving cases who need help, however with our limited resources, we can only help where we can. We are hoping in the next few years, with the plan we have in place we shall be able to assist more and also provide their mothers or guardian basic vocational training so that they can be able to support them better.

Q How do you select the beneficiary?

As I mentioned earlier we provide basic necessary items, for young girls. Other than that, we also help these young girls who have graduated from primary school and scored a minimum of 350 points with school fees. The selection criteria is simple; they have to show the report. We also have a wonderful Project Director back in Kenya, her name is Julie, she is doing a fantastic job. She is the one who confirms that the child does need the help. She works directly with the school to provide the necessary school fees, and then provides the receipt to the guardian or the parent to proof that fees has been cleared. They have to be in the categories I mentioned above to get the funding.

Q. How does any organization supporting girl child in Kenya partner with KAWACO?

We recently attended KES2016 Kisii Entrepreneurship summit which was held in Kisii a few months ago. Since then, KAWACO has received several request to partner with local organizations, we are currently in communication with two other organizations both to empower women and children. One support’s college students while the second one strictly caters for young girls who have dropped out of school. In the future, if we need more, we will post it on our website, Anyone interested can email us and we will definitely get in touch. Our goal is to empower as many communities as possible.

Also Read: Moving Story Of How One Woman Quit Her Job To Take Care Of Children Living & Orphaned With HIV

Q What are the future plans for KAWACO?

Our future plans are, to give back to more communities. We are working on a new project, KAWACO event rental equipment. KAWACO Vice President Carol is working on it, with some business partners in China, and hopefully very soon we shall launch it. A portion of the proceeds shall go to our projects and also the women we support will be able to earn some living working with us.

Q How do you juggle between work, family school and also manage KAWACO?

I don’t know, I really don’t, I am sure, if you want something really bad, you have to sacrifice and that Is basically what I do. I get up at 6am, get ready, drop my baby to daycare and by 8am am in class, I finish by 1130 am, I drive to work, work till 8 pm. I am lucky I work from home, so by the time I finish work, next destination is my kitchen, cook and feed my family. Then I study for a few hours, check my emails, chat with KAWACO board members, if I have something to communicate with them. I go to sleep at 1 am , then next morning, I start the cycle again. Please don’t feel sorry for me, it’s temporary. (laughing)

Q. What advice can you give someone who wants to do what you are doing?

I can tell someone, if you want something so bad, it doesn’t matter how or when you will get it. Stay focused, keep dreaming big, and don’t stop. It is not easy it comes with a lot of work, dedication, discipline and perseverance. In order to achieve something worthy you have to give up some of your social life, you have to refuse to be discouraged. Be positive surround yourself with people who build you up, not the ones who tear you down and all shall be well in end. Above all give glory to God. All blessings come from above.

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