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Monday, 19 June 2017
Published in PROJECTS
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Jorge Burón, a Political Science student at UAM (Autonomous University of Madrid), shares his experience during the first workshop of a four-part cycle on Rights, Freedom and Democracy from the point of view of politics he will undertake for Afrikable’s women beneficiaries, as part of his internship in the area of women empowerment in Lamu.

"I was feeling nervous when I came into the room half an hour before the time of the talk to prepare my introduction in Swahili, it was translated by Khadija. It was just five sentences but many of them do not speak English and it seemed to me a small gesture, although I continued in English with Khadija as an interpreter.

What shall I begin with? Should I tell them about Kenya’s political institutions first? Do we talk directly about the August 8th elections? Do I ask them what they think about the rights of their Constitution? After a presentation on what it means to have rights, to be free and to live in democracy, I did not know what to do. Until it began, and then they did it.

All I had to do was ask them about their concerns: everyone said education and health. One said safety, another equality for women. Khadija only said corruption. That is the problem here and she knows it; she knows a lot. What is the point of a Constitution or voting if everyone steals from us, if women continue to be battered and raped, if the police only work for those who pay them and for others can be a danger?.

Taller Derechos 01

And then they definitely took over. They discussed, shouted, grumbled, laughed with resignation. I didn’t understand anything they said because they spoke in Swahili, but I understood them. They talked about politics and rights, many of them for the first time.

The first day we found out that democracy is not just voting. Democracy, as they said, means to be free. Democracy is knowing which are our rights and demanding them when we are not allowed to exercise them. It is to keep fighting for what we deserve instead of giving up. It is discussing our problems and solutions. The society that we have and the one we want.

At the end of the talk I asked them what they wanted to discuss at the session the following week: constitution, institutions, women’s rights... Everyone, with no exception, said women’s rights. It is obvious that they know what they want.

It was only the first talk and I learned more about politics, democracy and society; about fighting, hope, resignation and progress than in all years of my degree. I hope they continue to teach me and that when I leave, they feel like they can achieve what they want. What they are so sure about."

 

Author: Jorge Burón | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Saturday, 10 June 2017
Published in PROJECTS
Written by

Out of sight... out of mind, they say. Well, we don’t know about that what is certain is poor eye sight means not getting the full potential out of a lesson, not being able to do small tasks like sewing or simply not being able to recognise people who greet us down the street or not being able to read something (those who wear glasses know what I’m talking about).

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Well in Lamu is no different, on an island of sun, sea and sand we can get an idea of how many eye problems there are. Most of this problems can be solved with one simple gesture, by wearing glasses, but of course in Lamu is not that easy, since we are faced with a significant lack of quality ophthalmology or optical services. The vast majority of the population have never got their eyes checked and don’t have access to glasses like we do. Therefore, at Afrikable, we did not hesitate one second when the chance arose to collaborate with Fundación Cione - Ruta de la Luz. The answer was immediate: OF COURSE!.

Visita oftalmologos 02

And thus Sebi and Jessica came to Afrikable, two volunteer opticians who for a week gave their all checking the eyes of as many people as possible, both of people who came to Afrikable and people from villages who because of their age or state of health could not move. Giving people the opportunity to see clearly for the first time. It was so exciting to hear the “Wow!” they let out when they could see everything clearly.

Visita oftalmologos 03

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With this ophthalmology campaign, more than 400 people got their eyes checked and about 140 glasses were ordered, both eyeglasses and sunglasses (let’s not forget we live on a sunny island), thus promoting the health of Afrikable’s beneficiaries and the rest of inhabitants of Lamu. We can’t wait to see everyone with their glasses and how they improve people’s quality of life. Children will be able to see the blackboard, women will be able to sew, get more out of their alphabetization lessons and many more improvements.

We can only say ASANTE SANA! Fundación Cione - Ruta de la Luz for this project and for helping to improve the lives of Lamu’s women, men and children..

Visita oftalmologos 05

 

Author: Irene García-Durán | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Saturday, 27 May 2017
Published in MATERNITY HOME
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My name is María, I’m Spanish and I’m 30. I’m not in a stable relationship nor do I have kids, maternal instinct hasn’t knocked at my door yet, and I’m not sure it ever will. It’s something that doesn’t bother me, I have time to decide whether I want to be a mother or not. A few years ago I had an abortion after getting pregnant because I didn’t use any birth control methods. Since then, with the advice of my gynaecologist, I have tried different methods until I found the most convenient one for me.

If we add a letter to my name and I become Mariam, the story changes. I was born and live in Kenya, although that is not significant, since there are stories like mine (or even worse) all over the world. A few years ago I was married and, as it is set out, my husband and I tried to have children. But it was not possible, I did not get pregnant. And of course it all pointed to me having a fertility problem. But I never knew for sure because my husband never allowed me to go to the doctor, and even if he did, I would have had to travel many kilometres and pay a huge amount of money for a gynaecologist to see me. Impossible for me... In addition, every month I had such terrible period cramps that I couldn’t go outside nor go to work as normal. Eventually, my husband left me because I couldn’t have children.

I am Mariam too, I’m Kenyan and I’m 32. I’m married and I’ve been pregnant seven times, although I only have three kids: a 9-year-old girl, a 5-year-old boy and a baby that was born a few weeks ago. I have always had problems during my pregnancies and, unfortunately, many of them have gone wrong, since I had several miscarriages in the early months of gestation. No doctor has ever told me why these pregnancies went wrong, I don’t know the causes of those miscarriages, not even if they could have been prevented… Since I could not afford a specialist to examine me and see if I had any problems, I still do not know what caused the multiple miscarriages. Besides my three little ones, I gave birth to two babies, what a surprise! I had no idea I was pregnant with twins, they never told me in any of the pregnancy check-ups. But, of course, how would they tell me if they just ran some blood and urine tests. When I gave birth at Lamu’s public hospital I was very scared, the doctor was sleeping while I had to give birth to my two babies on my own. I thought it had gone well but within a few hours the twins died… and I still do not know what the causes were or whether there was anything that could have been done to save them because nothing was ever done about it, no examination or anything of the sort. And that was all...

Yes, they do sound like the plot of a novel or a movie, a dramatic plot, the kind that leaves you with your stomach all tied up. But they are not, I wish they were!.

These two Mariam do exist.

And Fatuma, and Esha, and Nailois, and Khadija, and Madina...

And many other women

What if you were one of them?

Fatuma Yunus hospital

Health and access to quality health care are universal rights. Theoretically they are, but as with many other universal rights, not all the members of the population can exercise them in the same way: if access to health services is in itself a violated right and even non-existent in many countries and continents for the general population, it is even worse for women. We are invisible in this unequal world we live in.

There are thousands, millions of women who cannot make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health or about their overall wellbeing in terms of women’s health. Others do it for them.

To be a mother or not, giving birth in safe conditions for the mother and the baby, going to the gynaecologist, using some kind of birth control method, abortion with health guarantees, monitoring pregnancy… Seems basic, right?.

For them it isn’t.

When your social and family role is based on bringing children into the world without control or planning of any kind, when using a birth control method to prevent one pregnancy after another becomes an odyssey that you must hide from your husband, when at the age of 12 someone mutilates your genitals so that you can’t enjoy sex, when in your town there is no gynaecologist you can see periodically or punctually, when talking openly about sex is a taboo, when going out with a man implies that he will become your husband, when going to an specialist means investing a big portion of your salary… When all that happens…something is wrong and we must act in favour of women’s rights.

Today, May 28th and International Day of Action for Women’s Health, we must not forget about all of this, it is a day to start taking action.

Maternity Home Mujeres

At Afrikable we are already taking action. We are committed to women and their empowerment in all areas of their lives. In order to achieve this in the health area, we are building the Maternity Home, a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health centre where, in addition to providing training and awareness workshops on a variety of topics, women of Lamu will receive free and quality gynaecological assistance and give birth with health guarantees both for them and their babies.

Every day the right to quality health services becomes more of a reality and less of a utopia on the island of Lamu. They deserve it as much as we do.

So that the fate of being born here or there doesn’t determine our rights and become an unbridgeable gap, take action!

 

May 28th – INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH

 

Author: Marta Heredia | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Thursday, 25 May 2017
Published in MATERNITY HOME
Written by

Jambo! Jambo! We are Isa, María and Arantxa, three midwives who landed in Afrikable a month ago to collaborate on the Maternity Home.

Over the past few weeks, there have been many experiences that have surprised, enriched and challenged us and have brightened the smile of the women and children who welcome us every day at Afrikable.

One of the activities we enjoyed the most was the sexuality workshop given to teenagers. With a somewhat apprehensive but receptive start, we gathered ten teenagers with whom we talked about STDs, HIV, unwanted pregnancy, and safe and responsible sexuality, in a framework of laughter and games where trust and engagement grew exponentially. .

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At the end many of them left with their doubts resolved, clearer ideas and the door open to continue evolving as confident and empowered people. It has been a pleasure for us to share time and confidences with them, adding it to the list of unforgettable experiences in Lamu, a list that luckily hasn’t ended...

 

Authors: Arantxa Merino, María Rami and Isabel Fernández | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

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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.

WHERE ARE WE

  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
  • +34 605 722 162