I am Cherish, a single mum to Ava & Isobella, apprentice nurse at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, and student at the University of Cumbria. I am extremely passionate with regards to stopping FGM and empowering women to be the best that they can possibly be. I am an ambassador for the amazing charity, One Woman at a Time, and have just returned from a truly life changing trip to Kenya, with the Founder of One Woman at a Time, Jean Anderson. Jean is a retired Midwife who also lives in Morecambe. Jean first visited Ortum, Kenya, in 2012, where she met a a Pokot tribeswoman, Margaret Lulimas, whom unfortunately passed away due to complications in childbirth. Margaret’s story became the catalyst of a small movement, and has resulted in a group of empowered women who’s mission it is to empower other women, whom do not have a choice.
The mission of the charity is to improve the lives of women and children who are severely disadvantaged by social or economical circumstances. We do this by funding education and training, to give women the skills to create change for herself and her family, therefore transforming her community. We provide a safe place and education for girls that are fleeing from FGM and forced marriage.
Whilst in Kenya, I saw first hand the true struggle it is just to be female. The women and girls where i visited have no voice and their dreams and hopes are simply dreams and hopes, without the reality to turn them into achievements and successes. This is where I stepped in. I found it so important to ensure that these women know their worth and feel valued. I decided a good place to start was with the girls that board at Ortum School for girls. Myself and Jean spent time with the girls here and took over some amazing empowering books about bold black women in history. These girls need to be aware that they are able to achieve and if they want it, they can work for it and they can have it. This is not solely a mans world, the girls here need to know that they themselves can be future leaders, they can be providers as well as creators and they can control their ow destiny. Empowering girls at such a young age will hopefully give them the support and self drive that they need to ensure that they reach their full potential, and hopefully the gender based violence and discrimination will not stop them to lead successful lives.
Visiting and working in Ortum Mission hospital was a momentous part of my trip that has developed me personally and professionally. From what I would class a student nurse in the UK as totally unbearable practices, to also seeing first hand the low mortality rate and high survival rates of premature babies was a real eye opener. From watching a baby being born, to sitting with labouring women around a fire as they cooked themselves a meal within the hospital grounds, every patient and every nurse taught me so much. I am so very grateful for the time that I spent at the hospital, and being able to mentor and work alongside the student nurses that are sponsored by the charity was heartwarming and invaluable. I will enjoy telling you all about them in a future blog.
An interview with an ex-circumcisior. This was an amazing eye opening opportunity and simply wonderfully unique. To be able to speak freely with someone that has performed FGM on so many girls, gave me so much more knowledge with regards to the procedure, but also gave us valuable information on what these girls have been through, and how we can help them, not only physically, but also emotionally.
Providing re usable sanitary products to the girls at the schools was a project that we were piloting this visit, and research will be undertaken in the following years to check the sustainability of these amazing Days for Girls packs, and how together, we can try to end period poverty for so many girls. We were fortunate enough to raise enough money to pay for 200 of these packs, and i am eager to catch up with the school to see how the girls are getting along with their fabulous eco friendly sanitary wear. The girls also received sex education classes and contraception advice when necessary.
As i covered so much in my trip, I will writing 5 separate blogs to collate all of the experience. I would like to take the time in this overview to thank from the bottom of my heart to all of the wonderful people that donated money, school shoes, reading books and medical equipment. The things that we have achieved as a charity are only possible due to these wonderful donations. You have touched so many lives and made such a huge difference to these girls, your worth is totally unmeasurable.
Thank you xxx
I am asking for donations to help me achieve as much as I can, and to aid me helping these women and children. My expenses whilst I am in Kenya, including my accommodation, food and transport are self funded. All of what is donated goes straight to these beautiful souls that need our help.
£1 – puts one girl running away from FGM into secondary school for one day.
£5 – pays for refuge & primary education for one girl fleeing FGM for one week.
£5 – pays for reusable sanitary wear, for one girl for 3 years.
£10 – can buy 1 goat to help a community thrive – food for children and income for families. (Please note that Margaret Lulimas’ children and family will hopefully be receiving goats)
£15 – pays for one week’s University fees for one woman.
£20 – pays for a young mother (one weeks fee) to become a nurse on a 3 year course.
£20 – pays for a blood pressure machine for maternity care
£250 – pays for an incubator in special care baby unit.
One woman at a Time currently supports 300 women and children. Please help me maintain these 300 women and children, and hopefully help more.