It has been six years since Irene first set foot at Musana. She works in our merchandise production room where she mentors and loves on all of the women who enter Musana’s skill development program. This is her story:
In 2008, Irene’s husband died, leaving her to provide for their five children. Her husband was the love of her life, her partner, her everything. Together, they bought land and built a beautiful home for their children. They dreamed of the day when all of their children would finish school, knowing that their parents loved them and sacrificed to ensure they have a good future. When her husband died suddenly, those dreams came crashing down. With no legal rights to their assets, Irene lost everything her and her husband had worked hard to acquire. His family took everything, including their home. With no means to provide for herself or her children, she started seeking financial support from her sister. She was able to rent a small room and scavenged for her children’s school fees. She was shamed by her community and her family.
In 2011, Irene came to Musana seeking work. It was before Musana offered tailoring in our skills department, but there was a tailor who worked in our “craft room,” making school uniforms. Irene had limited experience with tailoring, but was offered to help. She reflects on that first day at Musana. She was welcomed and served a bowl of porridge. She remembers thinking, “Wow! These people don’t even know me and they are feeding me. They really know how to love.” It was the first time since her husband’s death that she knew everything was going to be okay. She explains, “It was the grace of God that brought me there.” Since coming to Musana, she has been able to send all of her children to school on her own. Her youngest finished her primary education at Musana on scholarship and this year will graduate from Senior 4.
We celebrate Irene and women like Irene today and every day because they are an inspiration to everything that Musana does. When praised for her perseverance, she praises God, acknowledging that, “I persevered because Jesus persevered for me. I am a strong woman, because of Him.” And she is STRONG! In 2016, Irene was able to buy a plot of land and this year is building a new house for herself and her children. She is one woman who teaches everyone around her what it means to have faith. We are so grateful for that day in 2011 when we were not just able to offer her a bowl of porridge, but something more…. the opportunity to rise from ash.