Sauti Moja hopes to bring the global community closer together through better understanding and deeper relationship. We invite you to engage in personal stories presented from various perspectives - Sauti Moja staff, partners and beneficiaries – that, when strung together, articulate the Sauti Moja journey. We hope that this blog will enrich you and that you find the collective insight inspirational.
Friday, May 9, 2014
Ashu: a mother’s life of sacrifice, hope and perseverance
by Lyn Bishop
Out of love for their children,
some mothers in desperate situations give their children away to ensure their
survival and in expectation that they will have a better future. Ashu, a Sauti
Moja beneficiary, recently related how she, too, struggled with this choice for
her four children ages 5 to 15 years and her young brother. She agreed that Sauti
Moja share her story of hope and perseverance with you.
husband abandoned her and the children, she was struggling to make ends meet
with a small vegetable stand. Nevertheless, Ashu is hard-working, and she felt
that, if she could find right situation, her hard work would eventually pay off.
She decided to partner with a local business man, and together, they took a
loan to start a larger vegetable shop. However, it wasn’t long after they
signed for a loan that he disappeared with money. She found herself in a worse
situation, with a business to run, a family to feed, and a big loan to pay.
Ashu’s family was in dire
straits; she owed so much money, and the family was uncertain about where they
would find the next meal. Without government safety nets and food banks, NO
money meant NO food! Her children recalled
many days when their mother went without food so that they could share the
meager portions which she had been able to beg from neighbours. During these
times of desperation and feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness, Ashu
struggled with giving up and leaving her children with relatives. She didn’t!
Instead, Ashu continued with hard work and perseverance
in spite of huge challenges in raising a large family as a single mom. She
joined Sauti Moja Marsabit’s income generating activities in which women brainstorm
and work together to create income for themselves. Ashu participates in soap making
and farming activities. She also received a loan from SMM for a small open air
stall that is outside a ‘proper shop’. Here, she sells, used clothing, shoes,
charcoal and perfume, along with the soap and vegetables grown from participation
in our program.
I also interviewed two of Ashu’s daughters, who are so
grateful that the family could stay together. Etenesh, the 13 year old
daughter, says she knows her mother loves her, because she works so hard to
make sure she has all she needs to attend school. (The cost of uniforms and
books can be a heavy burden when so little income is coming into the household.) Etenesh also remembers her mother going
without food so they could eat.
When I asked Etenesh if she had any wish, what would she
wish for, she responded, “I’d buy my mother a new house.” And, what did Genet, Ashu’s 15 year old
daughter, learn from watching her mother? “Don’t lose hope, and hard work will see you
through.” When I looked at this loving family, I knew that they draw strength
from one another.
Life is still challenging, but Ashu says that she has
grown even stronger through the years. I asked, “What life lessons can you
share with other mothers facing similar challenges?” Very simply, she stated,
“Patience; patience in God, as he will offer a way out.”