Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

Who is Phionah?

I got married young after dropping out of school due to lack of school fees to facilitate my last year of high school. I was only 17 years old when I married my first boyfriend. In five years, I was already a mother of two and life was so hard that meeting my family’s basic needs was next to impossible, because my husband was jobless too.
One day I approached my brother in law for a small loan, though at the time it seemed like a very huge amount and when he gave me the KShs. 2,000/=, I accompanied a friend to a local market where I bought a small sack of onions and started selling them to meet my family’s needs. Every evening I used to collect discarded vegetables and fruits that couldn’t be sold, and I would take them home to my family to eat.
The business didn’t pay off since I realized that I was only making a profit that couldn’t sustain us and soon enough, I incurred losses to the extent that I gave it all up. It was as I was making the long trek home after closing my first ever business that it suddenly hit me that I had been unlucky that far because of lack of an education. That night, as I explained to my husband that I didn’t have a business anymore, I also suggested that he help me register for my final high school exams as a private candidate. My aim was to arm myself with some form of qualification with which to bargain for any kind of job. He borrowed the registration fee from his cousin and when the results came, despite being a stay at home mother, wife and student I passed well. I got a sponsor who agreed to pay for my college education, a Diploma in Mass Communication, where I met a lady, Lindy Wafula in 1999, who became my mentor.
Getting a job after college was hard since there were only three ways to get one; sleep with the boss, have someone you knew inside or buy the job. I couldn’t afford any of those, so armed with my knowledge, I became a freelancer doing any odd job I got. It was the passion with which my mentor did her work that inspired me, together with my sister dying of HIV/AIDS, and watching my first son aged two and a half years die in my arms for lack of medical attention that propelled me to set up the Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, a haven for girls and young women pillared on Education, Poverty Eradication, Social & Community Development, Women Empowerment and Women’s Health. Having recently joined World Pulse, a forum where I get to raise my voice, as one of the Voices of Our Future, I have a vision where we will all be empowered with education with which to crumble those mountains.

Downloads

Comments

Sharontina's picture

Pain

Dear Phionah,

Only here at WP we get to know that each voice carries intense pain, pain purchased in some way or the other carrying us to the extremes, and some come their way knocking each door step. Anyways no woman is left out free. But what i see is WP sisters are boosted with profound energy that there is no looking back.

We are holding ourselves so tight and strong as well rendering our shoulders to our sisters. WP has made this powerful women's chain of powerful voices.

Much love

Merlin Sharontina

Phionah Musumba's picture

Hope!

Hey, Sharontina,
I beg to differ about the pain, because anything I went through to be who or where I am is not painful to me any more. I believe that World Pulse gives us as women, great hope in a better tomorrow for all of us. Meeting women from all walks of life in this forum makes me appreciate World Pulse even more. I get to exchange ideas, needs and solutions with women with similar, better or worse circumstances than myself, which makes living worthwhile.
I love you too, dear.

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Precious M's picture

I know who Phiona is

Dear Phionah,

What a story you have! I admire your courage in getting an education, against the odds.

I think I know who Phionah is. She is a woman who has had her challenges but refuses to be pressed down. Rather she uses those challenges as a stepping stone to improve the lives on others. She is a great woman!

I love your attitude, Phionah. Remain strong!

Precious

My pen speaks

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thank you, Precious!

Those are very powerfully encouraging words coming from you. Thank you very much, Precious, you are awesome yourself. I believe with you and the other sisters in this forum, we are going to be stronger than strong.
All the best,

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Aminah's picture

Phionah you are an inspiration

Very touching. And totally inspiring.
It humbles my heart and makes my pains so small when I hear about what others have gone through.

World Plus I hope, is going to be my healing power.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Aminah

Salaam
Aminah

Phionah Musumba's picture

We all are!

Hey, Aminah!
Thanks for taking the time to read my post and its so encouraging, that it has touched and inspired you. I believe that World Pulse is the right forum for women to be each other's inspiration. There are quite a number of stories here which have really expanded, if not totally changed my outlook on life, thus I should enforce your sentiment, that within World Pulse, we will find healing in each other.
Wishing you the best.

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Tash's picture

i Have experienced

i Have experienced unemployment too and its through the toil that i discovered World Pulse. I love advancement for minorities so i really understand where you are coming from . You should be proud of your self!
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! cheers!

Kind Regards,
Patsy.

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thank you!

I have no words for you but sincere gratitude for your words. I believe you now understand how painful it is for one to watch other women struggling to meet the basic needs of not only themselves, but their children's too.
All the best.

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

TJ's picture

WHAT is education?

As a lecturer, some could say I'm being a hypocrite by the comments I'm about to make but none the less, I'll make them.

WHAT is education? Too often many equate the formal, academic route as 'education'. This is the one where you get a piece of paper at the end after slaving over a lot of formalized, standardized tests. I don't see this as the only education and I think too much importance is placed on it. Often times, a lot of qualified (street smart) individuals are passed over because they don't have that piece of paper but THEY are the ones who could do the job best.

I don't think you were ever lacked education - you just lacked the paper that proves to the world that you are smart. You were always educated :) Look at where you are today - that alone is proof.

Job well done!

Love
TJ

Phionah Musumba's picture

Wow!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I really appreciate the confidence, admiration, inspiration and encouragement. Unfortunately, society doesn't value street smarts, putting more emphasis on the paper. At the Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, we try out guys at face value, believing that experience is the best teacher. In fact our beadwork facilitator is almost totally illeterate and her work is exceptional. Even so, I strongly believe in some formal education.
Thanks again and all the best,

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Rhobai's picture

Nice

Musumba, I should congratulate you for the courage. You tried business, you then decided to sit for a private exam. All these are struggles of a strong woman like you. I believe in the end you will be a happy woman. Lets us join hands to reach our destination

rhobai67@yahoo.com

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thanks

Hey, Rhobai,
Thanks for taking the time to go through my post and for adding weight to my voice with a comment. You are a wonderful gift to the women around you, which also makes you a stronger force too.
All the best,

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

milliej7's picture

Thank you for your piece Phionah.

I found your story not only interesting but also inspirational. You have made some brave choices and overcome some difficult obstacles.

I particularly like the way you refer to "arming" yourself with an education. I have great respect for your choice to free lance instead of choose one of the three standard, socially accepted ways of getting a job. These risks you have taken reflect your strength and self-respect, something which you are now able to transmit to women across the globe thanks to forums like this one. I am sure you will empower other women to stand up for themselves and not be limited by their social or economical situation.

I also agree that through education we will, together, being able to break down barriers or, as you put it, "crumble those mountains". Thanks again for your story, may you continue to share your story and use your voice.

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thank YOU!

Allow me to appreciate the effort you put in reading and commenting on my post. Thanks a lot. At the Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, we believe that what it takes is a willing heart.
All the best,

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

milliej7's picture

Micro-loans

I forgot to say that when I read your piece and you mentioned taking a loan from your brother-in-law it made me think of DEKI. Do you know about micro-loans? It's a way of helping people who wouldn't qualify for bank loans develop their own businesses. http://www.deki.org.uk Let me know what you think....

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thank you, Milliej7!

Thanks for your concern and thoughtfulness. I must admit that before you mentioned it, I'd never heard of DEKI. Am still in the process of checking it out, and be assured that I will give feedback. We have micro finance banks here in Kenya, but they always insist that guys be in a group before they can apply, and even so, at upwards of 28% interest, it becomes too expensive to manage, because even the grace period they give is usually between a month and six months, before one has to start repaying, a time frame in which most businesses haven't picked up yet.
Thanks very much, again.
All the best,

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Flavia Nyadoi's picture

courageous

Hi Phionah,
You are so courageous, and every decision you made after your husband lost a job was is a wise one. You never sat to wait like some people do. And that is the road each woman should lead. We are eagerly waiting for more of your stories where you engage your community to change the world.

I am inspired.
Love,
FLAVIA

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thank you!

Hello, Flavia,
I really appreciate the fact that you found the time to read and even comment on my post. That alone, and your kind words are very encouraging and inspiring. With you, together with the other women in this forum, we will change not only my community, but many communities across the world, one at a time.
I am inspired too.
Lots of love from the ladies and I.

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Activechica's picture

Lesson in Love and Perseverance

Phy,

Your words to your daughter are so filled with love and wisdom that I am filled with optimism for her, your other children and the many other lives you touch. The fact that you repeatedly had vision and found a positive way to face the hurdles in your life is a valuable lesson for all of us to emulate. It makes me wonder where that came from given the cultural challenges you faced growing up.

Thank you for sharing your story. You have my admiration sweet, strong sister.

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thank you!

Hey, Leslie,
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I also really appreciate your kind words, they are very encouraging and inspiring. About the strength, I can only say that one never realizes how strong they are, until the only weapon they got left is being strong.
All the best,

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Mila's picture

Wow and thank you!

Hi Phionah,

Wow, you are such a captivating writer and your story is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing and being a part of the WorldPulse community. I am really motivated by your perseverance to succeed despite personal tragedies. It would be great to also get to hear how you head about WorldPulse and why you decided to join/how it matches your personal vision for the future. Please let us know how we can help support your wonderful work at your center.

Best,
Mila

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thank YOU!

Hello, Mila,

Thanks a lot for reading and commenting on my post. It is very encouraging and inspiring. I have realized a wonderful thing, that guys on World Pulse are so full of love for each other. I believe am in the right place.

I heard about World Pulse when my boss at that time gave me a card that was advertising some event back in 2011, to keep with other documents. I never looked at it again, until I found the same card in my things early this year and decided to google about it. I joined the same day, and I really regret not doing so in 2011, when I first saw it.

I strongly believe that World Pulse is destined to be the vehicle to bring my vision for not only the Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, but my entire surrounding community to fruition. Joining World Pulse was a godsend because here I believe I can get the resources to help propel my wheel to realizing our vision.

I will be lying if I don't ask for your help and anybody else's, since I am now in way over my head. I have no one to look up to but myself, and the jobs are becoming more scarce than ever. The clients I manage to get seldom pay in time, and when they do, they pay in bits. I have bills to pay for over 300 girls and women, besides my own needs. I came here because I need a hand up, not to give up, since I don't believe in failure.

I think time has come for me to put up a post about what happens at the Centre, so that everyone can understand snd lend a hand if possible. I posted our need in the resource exchange section of this forum, and hope you can find the time to go through it. We are really looking forward to working with you.

All the best, and thankyou very much.

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Mila's picture

Microfinance?

Hi Phy,

Thank you for replying to my comment. I will check out your web site and the resources you shared. Have you looked into microfinance sources such as www.kiva.org or http://www.grameenfoundation.org/? If not, please do so :)

All the best,
Mila

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thanks a lot!

Hey, Mila,

Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it. Will most definitely check them out. Besides my blog, you can have a look at our Facebook Page, Malkia Empowerment Network, and our Facebook account, Gals Centre.

Sincerely grateful,

Phionah Musumba
Founder/Executive Director
Malkia Foundation &
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
P.O Box 9461 - 00300,
Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook: Phionah Musumba
Twitter: @KenyaGals
LinkedIn: Phionah Musumba
Skype: phionah.anguzuzu.musumba

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

Mkandeh's picture

Ebola: Sierra Leoneans feel like prisoners

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

EMAGAZINE: Bridging Borders

EMAGAZINE: Bridging Borders

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative