Women for Women in Africa (WFWIA) is an Australian not-for-profit charity run by volunteers. Its aim is to give the children of Kibera an education and the women a skill to support themselves. Combined, these efforts will ensure the women and children of Kibera live a life filled with dignity, happiness and hope.
Put simply, Kibera is an awful place. This slum is located on the outskirts of Nairobi. There are over a million people living in an area of approximately 630 acres. The exact population of this area is unknown, because “in the eyes of the world, Kibera does not exist, despite the fact that it’s one of the largest slums in Africa.”
The principal objective and purpose of WFWIA is: “To work for the relief of impoverished persons in Kenya, with a particular focus on children and women from the Kibera slum in Nairobi Kenya, who are in poverty, or are suffering distress, destitution, sickness or misfortune, regardless of age, sex, ethnic background, religion, political beliefs or marital status”.
Marguerite Ryan founded WFWIA in 2004. As a Development Office for the Christian Brothers, Australian born Marguerite has worked on various fundraising projects in Kenya and Tanzania.
On one of her many trips to Kenya, Marguerite visited Kibera and couldn’t believe what she saw. With the help of Brother Frank Chappell and Mary Campbell they began fundraising in order to set up a community centre as a point of contact and help for the people of Kibera.
Five years ago, our Managing Director, Richard Ruskin, became a part of WFWIA. Richard felt “Women for Women in Africa had enormous potential to make a real difference.” As the Deputy Chair of this organisation, Richard has seen through many of the organisation’s great achievements. Richard is often in Kenya and visits Kibera regularly, relaying to the Board any local issues.
WFWIA has evolved from its primary objective of helping women, to a more dominant purpose of helping to educate the children of Kibera. Without this group, children would not have access to education to break out of poverty.
Unlike many charities that only supply food and clothes, WFWIA goes far beyond. Their aim is to help the people of Kibera to change their future for the better. WFWIA helps to provide the people of Kibera with things we take for granted, “education, the ability to work, a support group of friends and family – simple rights that no human should ever have to be without.”
Sending underprivileged Kibera children to school is now the primary objective of WFWIA. Whilst attending primary school is technically “free”, high school is not. So, without a school uniform, shoes, money to pay for lunch, transport to and from school, pens, paper, books and upfront schools fees, a child is essentially not allowed to attend school.
The main efforts of WFWIA’s fundraising goes to putting children through school. Also, providing them with the chance of future employment or the opportunity to continue their education at college or university.
WFWIA also help older family members learn skills such as reading and writing. With these skills, parents can actively take a part in their children’s education. WFWIA also teaches trades such as dress making, hairdressing as well as bag and jewellery making to willing parents. This provides an income for their families in a safe and stable way.
To find out more about WFWIA and to support the efforts of WFWIA visit their website http://womenforwomeninafrica.org.au/ and help make a real difference in the lives of women and children hoping for a brighter future.