Light at the end of the tunnel for Patricia Mbula
Background Patricia Mbula is a 22-year-old DREAMS Innovation Challenge beneficiary from Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. She is the second child in a family with four children and lives with her single mother and siblings in a one-room house. Her parents separated when she was still a young girl. Her father provides no support to the family. Her mother collects and sells firewood for survival.
The business is unstable, as there are very few sources of firewood within the city. On a good day, her mother collects Ksh 400. Sometimes, though, she comes home emptyhanded. Patricia completed her secondary education in the year 2015 and scored a grade of D+. Due to the financial constraints at home, she could not proceed to college and opted to work as an untrained housekeeper, where her monthly salary was Ksh 2,500.
Story Patricia joined the pioneering class of Ananda Marga Universal Relief Teams’ (AMURT) Ajiri Dada project in December 2016. A local village elder who knew the family’s struggles referred her to the project. Knowing her family background and the challenges she faced, Patricia did not hesitate to grab the opportunity. She had a good experience during the training and learned different skills, which have been very helpful to her, such as: cookery, cleaning, home management, home and occupational safety, labour laws, and child care. After the training, Patricia was linked to employment at a salary of Ksh 11,000. She worked for one month and six days. She left because the work environment was not wellsuited to her. On the February 22, 2017, she was linked to another job for a salary of Ksh 10,800.
Outcomes With the skills she learned during training, Patricia is able to execute her duties well at her current job. She and her employer have a good relationship and work very well together. Her employer says, “She is good with the baby, does good at housekeeping, cooks well, and is very respectful.” This project has helped her improve her communication skills and equipped her with life skills necessary to any adolescent or young woman’s survival.
Since she started working, she has supported her mother’s rent of Ksh 2,000. Now, she occasionally supports her mother in meeting other family needs. By the end of May 2017, Patricia had saved Ksh 28,000. Her aim is to save enough money to enroll in either a catering or salon and beauty course. She is motivated to continue working hard, as she plans to set up a business for her mother and possibly move her out of the slum.
Her advice to other adolescent girls and young women is: “Girls need to be resilient and patient to succeed in life, as this is the way to go.” Patricia is already an inspiration to other girls within her community who are vulnerable, but look down on housekeeping jobs. She has, so far, referred two girls to the Ajiri Dada project.
“I used to earn Ksh 2,500 as an untrained housekeeper, but after training, I was linked to jobs that met the minimum government recommended wage. At least I now know that I cannot be employed for less than Ksh 10,000.” -Patricia
She is very grateful to the Ajiri Dada project for the unique opportunity she was given. She says that, apart from economically empowering adolescent girls and young women, the project is fighting for the girls’ rights. She says, “I used to earn Ksh 2,500 as an untrained housekeeper, but after training, I was linked to jobs that met the minimum government recommended wage. At least I now know that I cannot be employed for less than Ksh 10,000.” For Patricia, life is becoming better and better each day. After a past experience full of darkness, she finally sees light at the end of the tunnel.