Today, on International Women’s Day, we salute African women who have overcome the challenges they faced growing up, and continue to face. Despite this, or maybe because of it, they play a crucial role in lending a helping hand to people in need. Some of those inspiring women work at Network for Africa’s projects.
Florence, Counsellor, Port Loko, Sierra Leone
What is your favourite part of the work? Going into the field to talk to clients, and having them share their problems. They have no fears to tell me anything – they trust me.
What is your favourite memory? I met a chief who is an Ebola survivor. He was reserved and sad. Other people in the community were afraid to go near him and he was confined to his house. I sat and talked with him. He had lost 7 family members during the epidemic. When I explained what I was there for, he began to open up. The next time I went to counsel him – he really appreciated it. Now he is much more active and sociable in his community.
Florence, Project Manager, Kalongo, Uganda
What is your favourite part of the work? Most important is helping extremely vulnerable people with mental disorders to realize their potential. I enjoy seeing positive results; their smiles and positive feedback after our intervention. These are the things that drive me to work every day.
What is your favourite memory? I met a lady whose son became mentally ill, living on the street and eating from the dust bin. After our intervention, he recovered and now he is back at home helping his mother with domestic work. To her, it was miraculous to see her son doing things normally and engaging in constructive conversation. It was such a joyous moment for me, and I felt encouraged and empowered with a lot of determination to help more people in my country.
Esperance, Counsellor, Kigali, Rwanda
What is your favourite part of the work? I have the opportunity to be part of my clients’ life in such a powerful way, the opportunity to be there for them and listen. It can sound simple, but it is so important for a vulnerable and traumatized person to be heard and to feel valued. It is also rewarding to see my clients utilize the coping skills and strategies I taught them. They tell me it really helps them sharpen their skills to navigate through life’s ups and downs. They are now making good decisions, based on the core values I have helped instil, nurture, stretch, and grow. Other than being a counsellor and a provider, I enjoy learning from my clients. I am inspired by how compassionate, resilient, and grateful my clients who are genocide survivors are. It is satisfying where you know you have a part in affecting the life of another human being. Giving hope when people feel hopeless. Inspiring others to be all that they are capable of being, so that they can go out into the world and pay it forward by helping others.
What is your favourite memory? Witnessing the counselling group, where each member shares their stories; the sad parts, their resilience, and their successes. I love seeing them learning from each other’s experience. They are selfless and compassionate toward each other. I enjoy learning with my clients about laughter and love, about healing and hope, and practicing relaxation techniques together.
It is heartening to hear from some of the inspirational women who work on Network for Africa’s projects. Please remember that our match funding campaign is still open. We are a third of the way to matching the £15,000/$21,000 donated by an anonymous supporter. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far.