Muungano & History documentation team
From: Ugeni, Machakos
Interview date & place: 6 May 2016, Nairobi
Interviewed by: Kate Lines
Original language: English
How did you first get involved in Muungano?
I'm Sophia Khamis from Machakos, Ugeni. From a group of young modern sisters. I'm saver number 4. I joined Muungano in the year 2013. They came to Machakos, there was this training going on on leadership and entrepreneurship. We were being trained 4 days in Nakuru. After that we had mentors, local and international. I had a mentor, Hannah Carlson, she was from Australia.
What has it been like documenting the history of Muungano?
I got to understand more about Muungano. There are stories I didn't know about Muungano, how it started, how people struggled for it. As for us we just joined recently, 2013, it's 3 years down the line. So there are a lot of things out of that 20 years that we've missed out. Doing the history has motivated me a lot, it has inspired me a lot. I've seen the pioneers of Muungano, they have shared their bitter stories, their sad stories, their happy moments. It has built me big time. I think it has inspired me a lot.
What have you learnt?
The story about Emmy, Miss Koch, of Korogocho, has been the best story and the one for... there are two stories actually. The one for Anastasia and the one for Emmy. They made me believe that as a woman I can do it. They made me believe that nothing is impossible. Anastasia has been a role model for me. She inspires me a lot. Her stories always really inspire me. The stories that she tells makes me understand Muungano better. And as a woman and as a mother she has made me realise I can do it. She has been in Muungano for the longest time possible and she is still in Muungano. So it has made me realise that being a woman... the strength of a woman... the strength I have as a woman... As for Emmy she made me realise that dealing with the community is not an easy task, which I have been afraid all along. I've been afraid to move, because I was always scared of the community, what they were saying, they are always pushing me back. But with Emmy's story I believe I can do it, I believe I can make it.
What are your hopes for Muungano’s next 20 years?
I think that Muungano has a bright future. Now, it has all generations, the old, the young. I would love in the next 20 years we involve a lot of young people. And the old ones they should also keep on motivating the young ones. They should inspire them, they should mentor them. Because Muungano has a bright future. It has a lot for the community to offer. I think Muungano is like a stepping stone for us slum dwellers.
In the next 20 years I would love Muungano to be in all settlements. In all slum settlements in Kenya. I would love...what I'm doing. Now you see the things that I'm doing now are what the people in the university are doing. But for me... I come from a settlement. I haven't gone to the university. But now I feel like a university graduate. Because Muungano has taught me a lot. I can blog, I can do data collection. I can do mapping. I can do profiling. I document. I think I can even speak fluently. I think Muungano has done a lot for me. And I would like it to do for many other young people out there, because I think it’s what they need.