Aswifewe is an employee of Mamafrica, and mother of three. She has been with Mamafrica since 2012.
Here is her story…
When asked how Mamafrica has changed her life Aswifewe who is 19 years old said (translated from Swahili to English), “Mamafrica is helping me so much by paying school fees for my children. Before Mamafrica I did not have any hope because I knew that I was a street child. Also I am happy because after being able to sew and I get paid and I can feed my children before and after they come home from school. I had many bad thoughts in my mind but before I started coming to Mamafrica but now I have a family and a support system to help me when times are tough”.
Aswifewe continued to talk about how she is now going to school after a generous donor paid for her to continue her education. In Democratic Republic of Congo, there are few continuing education schools were one can receive their high school diploma.
“The first time you asked me to go to school I did not know if I could succeed but you encouraged me to go to school and now I am ranked fifth in my class. I praise god and want to say thank you for sending me to school. I was 13 years old when I stopped going to school and never thought I would be given the opportunity to finish”.
Awifwewe met her husband when she was just 13 years old. He first came to her house and said he would give her money to start a small business selling avocados on the street. After some time had passed he came back to her home and asked for the money back. She said that she did not have it and he forced her to have sex with him to pay back the money. She explains that she didn’t have another choice. This is a tactic called bride raping.
She becoming pregnant with her first child at age 15 and was forced to marry this man and leave her home to live with him. Her husband beat her after her first child was born and she returned home to live with her mother. After some time her husband returned to ask for her forgiveness and she went back to live with him, even though the beating continued.
She now has three children and hasn’t seen her husband in one year because he left her when she started going to school. He could see that she was gaining confidence and independence. Aswifewe pays $25 a month for rent for a small shack in Bukavu. She hopes to better her life by returning to school and continuing to work with Mamafrica.
Translated by: Ashley Nemiro (co-founder)