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Rafiki Obtains Power from a Pen

At least 22 women were yesterday (Monday 23rd March 2009) gathered in the remote village called Godo for an empowering Rafiki Progam. Amongst them were 4 who were illiterate. These four women
namely; Mlongo aged 24 Yrs with five children was paired with Lisa Hinton. Mali 30 yrs old mother of 4 children was paired with Gemma M Dreher. Judith 32 years old mother of 8 was paired with Jade Frank and Veronicah who is 54 and a mother of 6 paired with Taryn Salinas

Of the 22 attendees, 17 dropped out of school in the primary level, and only one who finished secondary school. The youngest participant Peninah aged 19 who is now a mother of a two months old baby was paired with Maria Limani. While the oldest was Veronicah -54 years old Rafiki to Taryn.

According to Ms Benedettah Muthina, Project Africa assistant leader who is also the Rafiki Coordinator in Godo, Kwale district, she was expecting at least 10 women for the session but at least 22 turned up with such a hunger to participate in the Rafiki Program.

Though without enough pens to write with, The women were patient and shared in love the writing aids available, others kneeling on the floor and using the benches normally used for sitting as tables to write own. "It has dawned on us that a pen is an important tool that every women should carry" said the women.

Because of being the caregivers at home, the women in Godo like others in rural Africa never own writing pens. They only buy pens for their children or see a pen in their husbands pockets when they are laundring. Now, they in Godo must remember to carry a pen and keep it close to their bossom because of the enomous power that a pen can give to them. That is the power to learn how to write.

Important Reviews from the Session

The most important lesson of the Monday session that the coordinators reviewed was the empowerment needed for the 19 year old girl who is dropped out of school after unplanned teenage pregancy and now is a mother of a two months old baby. It is important that she is mentored early enough to understand the choices she can make for her future for instance pursuing training or education, family planning etc. If we do not do this now may be next year Peninah will be a mother of two, then three, then before she is 30 may be a mother of 6. From the Rafiki session we are able to identify the most vulneable women and find ways to start counselling with them on various women issues.

Kindly note that the four women who are Illiterate are all very young and the number of children they have is very high for their ages. This is evidence that most illiterate women are manipulated and controlled to believe that they are only good to bear children. Probably because of being so dependent they can not make decision concerning their reproductive health. Project Africa will follow up to understand and offer any assistance that they may need especially with councelling and mentorship.

My dear Rafiki, From this background check, i hope that we all can feel the need to reach out through our letter writing. For the illiterate women, it takes at least two hours or more for themto write the few simple words you will receive in your letters,yet those words through few they impart so much power to the Rafiki who wrote them. The scripts you receive are the final copy of many others that are writen to perfect what you receive. It shows how much practise the women desire to have to get better. We are making files of all the raw letters and we will share them someday.

Again, I thank you all participating in this program, we are growing now in four villages, Soon we will cover the whole of Rural Africa. Keep Inviting your Friends to join us at The Rafiki Club

My warmest regards



Hello MamaAfrica,

It was such a pleasure to receive my letter from Rafiki member Philice Onyango that I'd like to write her back soon.

Is the address she provided in the letter the address I should use to send my letter back to her? (It seems a basic question, but I just want to make sure of it!)

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you again for this great opportunity.

Danielle Prince, USA

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

mamaAfrica's picture


Dear Dan

Thank you for sharing about your letter from Philice Onyango. yes you can reply her using the address she wrote. We will make the addresses clearer in her next letter to you. we wish to have all letters sent and received through Project Africa. and we are preparing letter heads to thet effect. One thing you should remember though is NOT to include your address in your reply.

we llok forward to hear mama Philice's response to yours

thanks again


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