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Today we are celebrating some of the mothers of Uweza for all that they do and have been through that often goes unrecognized. Read below as we share their experiences, advice, and thoughts on motherhood.

Photos and story by Mufadhal Musa and Cedrick Joseph

“To be a mother is very important and something to be respected. People don’t call me by my name, they call me by my children’s names, for example, ‘Mama Matilda.’ You can be a mother even if you’ve never given birth. I have been blessed with three children of my own and I take care of another three children so I am a mother of six.
I am employed at a secondhand clothes shop but I wish to own my own business one day. To balance work and motherhood, I make sure that my children are busy. When I leave the house in the morning and they are at home, I give them chores to do like washing clothes, washing dishes, and preparing lunch. They also go to soccer practice. This busy schedule means that they won’t have time to engage with bad groups.
Being a mother is not just providing food and putting children to sleep. As mothers, we should be friendly with our children and encourage them to be open with us about their lives. If you are too harsh, they will keep a lot of secrets from you and you will never know what they are going through or be able to advise them. Uweza has played a big part in my life; actually Uweza, is like my second God. They have helped educate all of my children through soccer and I haven’t had to pay anything. I am praying for everyone at Uweza to have a long life and extend that heart to other parents.”
My advice to other mothers is let’s keep our kids close to us and teach them well. Mothers should also be ready to provide everything that a child needs, from sanitary pads to clothes, so that they don’t have to go looking for those things outside of the house. Overall, I am happy to be a mother.”
– Violet, mother to three Uweza soccer players
“I have one daughter. After she was grown, my brother died in an accident. I felt that his wife could not care of their four children so I brought two of them to live with me. When she passed away a few years later, I became a mother to all four children and have raised them as my own. Those of us who take care of our neighbors’ or relatives’ children are still mothers and to be a mother is very important.
Things have been really hard for us. I have struggled with illness that has made it hard for me to work and put food on the table. Sometimes I would be in bed for a week and we would all sleep those days without eating. Even when I was well, finding reliable work was a struggle. I have had to sit the children down and explain to them the situation. They became used to this life.
Providing education for four children has been really stressful. When Uweza came in and provided sponsorship for the children, it helped us a lot. When they were at school, no one could even imagine where they were coming from because they just looked like any other child. Uweza continued to sponsor two of the children to high school while I managed to struggle to provide for the other two. I can say that they have come out of the darkness and into the light. They will be able to find jobs of their own. Sometimes, people around ask me for advice on how I managed it. I am really grateful to everyone who has helped us, at least now we feel that we are somewhere.”
– Roselyne, aunt to Uweza sponsored students
“I enjoy being a mother though it was a challenge with my first child because I didn’t have the experience yet. Fortunately, I had brought up my younger siblings so did learn through that process. Taking care of the house and the children is very hard work.
I started working out of the home after I had my fourth child, Khadija. I started to hustle like others so that I could take care of things at home. My daughter Khadija joined the Uweza girls group when she was young. I am thankful and appreciate what they are doing for girls. When she has free time, she’s always thinking of Uweza. Every Sunday, she says I’m going to Uweza. It helps me as a mother; I don’t have to worry about where she is going or who she is spending time with. There are mentors there and she has surprised me with how much she has learned.
To be a mother is something to be proud of and to be respected. We have the responsibility to mentor our children and teach them how life is through our experiences and what we have gone through so that they can become better people.”
– Toma, mother of Uweza girls’ club participant
“Motherhood to me is having someone to take care of. I first became a mother when I was 22 years old. I am now a mother of two. Having my daughter was an exciting moment for me. Being able to hold her and see her every day could really relieve my sorrows and bring me a lot of joy. When I first became pregnant, I left my job and became a housewife. My favorite moments were when we would go to the supermarket to buy bread or a piece of cake and just spend time together.
When she turned three years old, my daughter started school and I went back to work. It was very challenging to balance motherhood and work because while I was at work, I was just worried about the baby and having to leave her. With time, she got comfortable at school and it was a relief for me.
Uweza has really nurtured me. When I joined Bright Futures, I received a loan and started a small business. After that, they sponsored me to join college and I am studying to become a nurse. Being a mother does not only mean raising children. Before someone becomes a mother, she should take time and make sure she is ready for all of the responsibilities. Always be prepared and set your goals. Women are the foundation of everything. For anything to be successful, women must always be at the forefront.”
– Mercy, Bright Futures member
“When I had my first child, I was still young and didn’t really fully understand motherhood. I am now a mother of six. To be a mother is to take responsibility, raise your children, take them to school, make sure they have food and clothes to wear, and ensure that they have a good life.
Uweza has helped me in a big way and has sponsored my oldest child to school. The situation that I was in at that time, I’m not sure if I would have gotten out of it by myself. It really looked impossible. If not for Uweza, my child might have managed to go to school but he would have encountered a lot of challenges like being sent home.
Women and mothers should be supported because we have to carry a lot and play a big role. Sometimes our husbands don’t have work and all of the responsibility of the household falls on the mother. My advice to other mothers is to be strong and not give up. Continue to work hard and you will make it.”
– Theresia, mother of Uweza sponsored student