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Dignifying the work of women who make the world go around Featured

What is work? Since the Industrial Revolution in Europe we see work as the one that takes place out of home for which you get a salary in return. However, this leaves out the care of children, home, the cattle, the orchard, and all that work that doesn’t make money.

This difference may make sense in Spain, where there is a difference between the office and home. However, the difference makes no sense for Kenyan women. Here everything is work. The women of the Project get up at 5 or 6 in the morning, start to clean the house, make breakfast and lunch, get their children ready for school and go to the project facilities. Here, they start work at 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon, during that time they also feed their babies, have lunch with their friends… everything is part of their routine, which may seem chaotic at first glance, but becomes a very coherent form of conciliation that we lost a long time ago in the Western world.

But these women’s schedule does not end at 5 in the afternoon, when they come back home they still have chores to do, such as go fetch the water, make dinner or feed the animals. The same happens when you ask them about the weekend and they say with a smile that is was great, the next thing they do is the gesture of doing laundry since that chore takes up most part of their weekend.

Therefore, thinking about it, what makes a difference at Afrikable is not having a job, since they are always working, it is the right of getting a salary every month what has changed their lives. During the interviews, when asked about how the project has changed their lives, they did not think twice: “Now I feel more free because I’m economically independent. I can pay for my children’s education, I can buy food and medicine and, above all, I can choose how to spend the money without relying on my husband”.

Dignificar el trabajo 01

This independence, however, is relative. Despite getting a salary, many women need to use every strategy possible to freely dispose of their money. I’ve seen the recognition of their right to dispose of that money like a conquest, their husbands not letting them buy necessary things is male violence. One of my favourite moments from the interviews was when women told me about the way in which they support each other in order to achieve disposing of their money, like a real guerrilla warfare towards economic empowerment.

It is completely true that getting a salary at the end of the month gives them the respect from their husbands they did not have before, they have to respect their working hours, the NGOD’s rules, and many are economically dependent on their wives, thus they become the family’s economic engine. This helps them to feel fulfilled, to see their work recognized. If it isn’t the case, they can dream of another life, if necessary.

 

Author: Ana Fernández | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Read 545 times Last modified on Sunday, 22 October 2017 00:54
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ABOUT AFRIKABLE

Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.

 

In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.

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  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
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