March 2022

Behind the Scenes with the Women of Ubuntu Life: Kenya

BLOG / Behind the Scenes with the Women of Ubuntu Life: Kenya

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For Women's Month, we're spotlighting a few women who make Ubuntu Life run. From our Maker Mums in Maai Mahiu to our creative and marketing teams in Austin, women are an integral part of all that we do.
This year's Women's Month theme is Providing Healing and Promoting Hope. We couldn't think of a better topic for a conversation with three deeply empathic and caring Kenya-based team members. Here, our dynamic beading manager Tabitha Gichia, phenomenal caregiver Margaret Thinji, and rockstar Operations Manager Rubie Ruth share their thoughts on healing, hope, and what they love most about what they do. Read their stories below, and check out the Women’s Month conversation we had with some of our U.S.-based team members here.

Tabitha Gichia

Bracelet team manager, Ubuntu Life
Tabitha joined Ubuntu Life in early 2021 to spearhead the exponential growth of the bracelet team. She onboarded and trained a core team of highly skilled beaders who work out of our Maai Mahiu Maker Studio, and she coordinates the work of the hundreds of women in our Maasai beading groups. Tabitha was instrumental in the success of our partnership with Kendra Scott
Who is the biggest healer in your life, and why? 
My older sister. If I am feeling stressed about anything, I just talk to her. She's one of the most understanding people. Even when there is a misunderstanding between my mom and me, I speak to her. She listens, tells it as it is, and guides me on what I need to do. 
Which women in your life promote hope?
My mom. She has five kids, and I am the last born. My dad died unexpectedly, and she was left alone to run a house and raise five children. She had to start from scratch. She never got a chance to get an advanced education; I think she only reached class three. It was a strict upbringing, but I understand why she was tough on us when I look back. She had to work so hard to educate us to provide food, clothing, and everything else we needed. She's my hero. I think she is everybody in my family's hero.
Which women in the world do you see as the biggest promoters of hope, and why?
For me, it is Wangarĩ Maathai. She knew what needed to be done to make sure that there was hope for future generations. She fought so hard to make sure that forests were protected and nurtured. Do you remember she fought so hard to protect Uhuru Park, where we now go and relax? Yeah, she gave us a lot of hope.
What is your favorite part of your work with Ubuntu?
Mine is when I'm dealing with people who have skills but do not necessarily have the highest level of education. You know we work a lot with the Maasai Mums, and in their community, the education of the girl child is not prioritized. But by understanding the skills they have, you can work with them to take their craft to the next level to make a living out of it and even be able to educate their kids and take care of their families. 
What aspect of your work with Ubuntu speaks to providing healing and promoting hope?
It's understanding that everybody goes through a lot. Be it those in the Maasai beading groups or the Maker Studio. People lose their loved ones. People have issues that they cannot deal with by themselves, and they trust me enough to speak to me, discuss their problems, and request help. And that has been the most amazing thing because they don't look at me as just the manager. They look at me as a friend and somebody they can confide in. And my team also supports me. I remember last year when my mom got admitted to the hospital, and I requested their prayers. They prayed for my mom, and that had nothing to do with work. They also followed up: How's your mom? Has she left the hospital yet? This compassion goes beyond work and making money. As human beings; we are concerned for each other. It's so comforting to know that even when there are issues in your personal life, you are not dealing with them on your own. 

Margaret Thinji

Caregiver, Ubuntu Life Special Needs Centre
For the last 14 years, Margaret has served as a caregiver for children with cerebral palsy at the Ubuntu Life Special Needs Centre. "You know, it's not just a job; not everyone can do this. It is something you have to want to do," she says. In 2020, when the global pandemic necessitated the Centre's closure, Margaret joined a small team of mothers working in our organic vegetable garden. This way, even while her kids stayed home, she could continue supporting them by tending to the nutrient-rich vegetables bundled up in their monthly care packages. Margaret's patience and compassion endlessly inspire us and everyone who interacts with her. Margaret is the very embodiment of the healers we salute this Women's History Month. 
What is your favorite part of your work with Ubuntu?
I have done this job for 14 years now, and it has become my passion. I feel good when helping the kids every day. 
How has Ubuntu's mission of living a more connected, joyous life personally affected you?
I have learned that parents with special needs kids require a lot of support and encouragement that they are not alone in this.
What aspect of your work with Ubuntu speaks to providing healing and promoting hope?
Taking care of the kids and feeding them promotes internal healing since they feel loved and cared for. This also promotes hope in them and their children.
What are you the most hopeful about in 2022?
Financial breakthrough. Own a home. 
Will you share a time when you needed healing and a woman healed you?
When I was pregnant with my last born son, my late mother's friend came to help me, and I felt better. 

Ruth 'Rubie' Mureithi

Ubuntu Life Operations Manager 
Rubie joined our team 10 years ago as part of a computer literacy program facilitated by Ubuntu Life — then a non-profit with an educational arm. When the program ended, she joined Ubuntu Life full-time and has been with us ever since. In the past decade, Rubie has left an indelible mark on every aspect of our business. An absolute joy to be around, Rubie's joie de vivre is positively contagious. 
Healing ourselves after hardships or trauma is extremely important, will you share a few items on your self-care list?
  • Extending support to the less fortunate, like funding kids to go to school, makes me whole! Seeing that transition from HOPELESS to HOPEFUL blows my mind!
  • Silly fun activities like getting some makeup on, doing some photoshoots, and TikTok! ;)
  • Enjoying a cozy space that makes my inner self happy.
    Who is the biggest healer in your life, and why?
    My dad is my biggest healer because there will be no dull moment even when I feel like I have reached the end. He is my best friend!
    Which women in your life promote hope?
    Martha Karua promotes limitlessness in women, which has empowered other women to attain similar or higher levels than men, which is not common in African cultural settings.
    What is your favorite part of your work with Ubuntu?
    Brainstorming with the team on how to put our efforts together for success. Teamwork all the way!
    What are you the most hopeful about in 2022?
    I am so hopeful for business growth which translates to more people empowerment through employment opportunities. 2022 is the Ubuntu family year!



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    March 31, 2022

    I love reading these stories.
    Thank you.


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