Maria runs a shop in the nearby village centre of Sheyu. You can see a picture of her in the shop in the gallery below. Learning from the older women in the group has helped her to grow in confidence in her marriage, with her business and in supporting her children through their education at QEA.
Rehema Malole (Mama Asha)
This is Rehema (known as Mama Asha) with her youngest daughter Damari. Damari and her elder sister Mariam are both students at QEA.
Mama Asha is a farmer and has worked hard all her life to support her children and family, who love her dearly. She is generous, loving and strong. She surrounds herself with other strong women in Mlali to get her through the hard times and to laugh with through the happy ones.
Maisha Kalaita (Mama Stan)
Also a school cook, Mama Stan is an important member of the group, and provided a lot of encouragement and support for the other members. She is also learning so much from the older women and is inspired by them and their abilities to overcome big challenges.
Mach is an unbelievable woman. She is unafraid to challenge local officials who won’t listen to her, she carries huge loads of wood down from the mountains on her head, she farms cows, pigs, rabbits, ducks and goats and looks after her son Isaya, all while fiercely standing up for the women around her if they need it. Oh, and she has a very dry wit. Wherever she is, everyone around is laughing.
Manuela Lusito (Mama Sara)
Mama Sara, mother to Sara in P7 has grown so much in her confidence since being part of the group. In the beginning the weight of the responsibility to educate her children bared heavily on her, but building friendships with all of the amazing women in the group has allowed her to see what she can be and that she doesn’t have to do it alone.
Emma Sekwiha (Mama Faith)
Mama Faith is in many ways, the foundation of the school. She dreams about it and says she could never leave it. She is wise, loving and always goes above and beyond to help people around her. She is working on building her own house for her family, something she says she never imagined she would be able to do.
Winny Saigod (Mama Pelis)
Mama Pelis is a leader of women (and a leader of everyone!). She does things and inspires others to do them too. She has an insatiable appetite for learning. She is passionate about change in her community and very wise in the approach she takes to making that change come about. She also has a very good way with words.
Lusia Lenjima (Mama Arnold)
Mama Arnold has an infectious smile. One of her sons Arnold studies at QEA. She has always been one of the first to volunteer her time and labour to help the school, bringing firewood and helping on the farm.
The women’s group has given her a place to find friends, belonging and support. Through this, she has grown in confidence and her family have all benefited too.