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Stories From the Field: Meet Jackeline!

This story is written by Brian Gitonga, a WaterStep volunteer in Kenya. He is a member of Ambassador Raphael Wanjala’s team.

Jackeline: “I have now graduated from a housewife to a mother who can contribute towards my family’s financial needs.”

Jackeline is a mother of three and is married. Though they are a low income family, the husband manages to pay for the basic financial needs of the family such as food, shelter and tuition for the children. Having not completed her education, Jackeline recalls spending most of the time in the house feeling desperate while her husband was working to provide for the family needs. She would clean and prepare meals, not minding where the meals came from. Jackeline was so reliant on her struggling husband for everything. “I basically lived at the mercy of my husband when it came to any financial need. I continually felt as if I was a burden and felt stressed by the situation,” Jackeline recalls.

Through a friend who was in a saving group at Evangelizing Sisters of Mary (ESM – an organization WaterStep has been working closely with), Jackeline learned about WaterStep and the BleachMakers available at ESM. This discovery presented a possible source of income during her free time, which she recalls having in surplus. She began making bleach and giving samples to her friends as a marketing strategy. Jackeline started having success selling her bleach while also emphasizing the importance of better hygiene practices achievable through her new found product, bleach. She then joined a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) group where she had been saving some of her bleach income for seven months.

Her savings and success with the bleach business enabled her to take out loans and begin a small charcoal business. Jackeline now enjoys the blissful feeling of financial independence knowing that she has the capacity to help her husband in their financial needs. She no longer asks for money for everything and they are therefore able to save together as a family. She is also glad that she can now interact with other women who are in the VSLA’s groups as they have beautiful insights on how to conduct and grow businesses. Her growth would not be possible if she did not have somewhere to start. WaterStep BleachMakers available at ESM gave her that stepping stone out of her house wife situation to be of help to her husband in providing for the family. Jackeline witnesses that throughWaterStep and ESM, she has been able to write a new story and change her life.

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