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Kenyan slum mothers defy huge odds to inspire hope to loved ones

09 May 2016, 14:32

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Lucy Kerubo's infectious smile and warm demeanor has won her many friends in the expansive Nairobi's Kibera slums where abject poverty and other social ills are the norm.

The 36-year-old mother of three has defied negative connotations attached to Kenyan slum dwellers to become a beacon of hope to her children, friends and neighbors.

Kerubo has lived in Kibera slums for two decades and in the last four years, she has been selling buns on the roadside to be able to feed, clothe and educate her offspring.

During an interview with Xinhua on Thursday ahead of the International Mothers Day, Kerubo was upbeat about the future despite financial difficulties endured by her family.

"Being a mother is a special privilege for me and I will always endeavor to be a role model to my children. The responsibility bestowed upon me is huge but have always taken it in a stride," said Kerubo.

Her husband sells herbal products in a neighboring shanty village and has as well been a beacon of strength to the entire family.

The couple comes from the same hometown in Western Kenya and their decision to settle in Kibera slums two decades ago was informed by financial circumstances.

While raising three children in the slums has not been a walk in the park for Kerubo, her tenacity, courage and sacrifice has enabled her sail through.

Her first born son has already completed high school and is engaged in casual labour while the second and last born are in secondary and primary schools respectively.

Kerubo's flourishing catering business earns her 10 U.S. dollars daily, though not enough to cater for household bills and school fees for her children.

Ever the optimist, Kerubo has refused to give up in life despite inflationary pressures that often weigh heavily on her family.

She has great hopes on her three children and has instilled in them noble virtues like hard work, discipline and humility to enable them navigate through life's treacherous journey.

"I would like my children to succeed in life and have invested heavily in them to ensure this dream comes true. That is the reason why I wake up at dawn everyday to make buns for sale," Kerubo told Xinhua.

Her 16-year-old daughter, Ven Bosibori who is in high school had kind words for her mother, whose enterprising spirit and service to community is worth emulating.

"My mother is hardworking, loving and caring. I will never forget the care and love she showered me when I fell sick as a small child," said Bosibori.

Kenyan slum mothers are determined to overcome poverty and exclusion to become beacons of hope to their immediate families and the wider society.

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In the sprawling Kibera slums that is home to an estimated half a million people, the mothers have stood out as gallant custodians of noble values that have inspired young generation.

Victoria Mutua, a 34-year-old mother of three who has lived in Kibera slums for ten years was emphatic that mothers have a critical role to play in shaping the destiny of their offspring and the wider society.

The friendly green grocer stressed that hard work and determination always pay dividends.

"It is my firm belief that mothers should always been in the service of their families and put their best foot forward to ensure their children are fed and clothed," said Mutua.

On a good day, she earns eight dollars from selling fresh produce in her neighborhood.

The international mother's day resonated with Kenyan slum women whose resilience and optimism remain profound despite life's drudgeries.

A lengthy walk across winding paths in Kibera slums revealed that majority of thriving businesses are owned by women.

Likewise, a good number of these women are endowed with great intellect that could be tapped to propel socio-economic progress in Kenya.

Rachael Murumba, a 33-year-old mother of three who has lived in Kibera slums for several months radiates confidence and sharp intellect despite joblessness.

Born and raised in Western Kenya, Murumba migrated to Nairobi in 2009 after graduating from a mid-level college where she obtained a diploma in catering.

While in Nairobi, Murumba worked as a house help for expatriates where a monthly salary of 150 dollars was enough to sustain her family.

Several months of joblessness has nevertheless disrupted Murrumba's peace of mind but she was upbeat the future could still herald good tidings.

"Unemployment has affected me financially and it has been difficult to meet the needs of my children but my parents and sibling have always stepped in to help. I trust my children will succeed in life despite the difficulties they are going through," said Murumba.

- Xinhua


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