Girls and Women

3 powerful mums who aren’t afraid of a challenge


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Young motherhood, HIV, severe drought – each of these moms were faced with unique challenges, but they mustered up the courage and strength to tackle them head on!

Mary Nekesa
Mary lives in a small, rural village called Luucho in western Kenya with her five children. She depended on farming to provide food for her family, until her crops failed after drought struck the region. Mary said, “I couldn’t sit and watch my children starve.” So, she decided to take on a job that no other woman in her community had: sand harvesting. Now, Mary’s able to take care of her family financially and serves as a role model to her friends and neighbours, like Felistus Nanjala, who said, “I feel very encouraged by her commitment to take up this work in order to take care of her family.”

Constance was only 15 years old when she found out she was pregnant. Six months after her daughter was born, Constance’s mom helped pay her tuition fees and she was able to return to school. Juggling life with a new baby and finishing her education wasn’t easy, but Constance did it. Now, she’s prepared to provide a strong future for herself and her daughter.

Gaolatlhe Kalanke with her husband and daughters. Photo Credit: UNAIDS

Gaolatlhe Kalanke
In 2002, Gaolatlhe found out she and her daughter — who was born before treatment for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV was freely available — were HIV positive. When she became pregnant again, she made sure to learn about and get antenatal care to reduce the chances of passing HIV to her new baby. Nine months later, her daughter was born HIV-free. Now, Gaolatlhe runs a daily session called “Health Talk” at a youth centre to teach young people about how to maintain their health and prevent the transmission of HIV!

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