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My Name is Regina: Mobilizing for the Community

Since joining Women for Women International, Regina has been working to improve the health of those in her community.

She was married in 1980 and had two daughters. Her husband passed away, and shortly after his death his family kicked her out of his home. They did not want or allow their children to inherit his property. She then had to move in with her brother, but was advised by her relatives to remarry.

She eventually did, and with her second husband she had a son and three daughters. However, she became unhappy in her marriage and decided to leave. “I realized that he was not supportive of me, so I left him and went back to live with my brother. I tried to be independent of my husband.”

Regina enrolled in the program in April 2013 and has not only benefitted from it personally, but has helped to make important changes in her community. “The lessons on health and wellness opened my eyes to the importance of cleanliness in keeping me and those around me healthy. Before the training I was not aware of basic hygiene and would only quickly rinse utensils before serving food. I realized this was a risk for my family, as the utensils would not be clean and would put my family at risk of disease,” says Regina.

Regina taught her family about keeping their home clean. “My children help me sweep our compound and the rooms, and wash all the clothes and utensils. I constructed a rack to dry utensils after washing.”

Regina also realized that the well where her family and her community fetches its water was very dirty, and nobody had taken responsibility for it. Concerned about the risk of dirty drinking water, Regina decided to take action. “I engaged other women in the community to help them understand the need for clean water, and we agreed to clean the well and also use water purifiers like chlorine and water guard in our homes for drinking water.”

With the help of other members of her community, she also plans to deepen their shallow water well and keep it clean. This will help it to retain water during the dry season as well as to prevent disease. “I will continue mobilizing other women in the community in utilizing the lessons I have learned, and I hope many more of them will be part of the training.” Regina has become a leader in her community, and her actions continue to have a ripple effect in contributing to other women and families in her community.

The photo accompanying this article features a Women for Women graduate, however, for privacy or security concerns, it is not an image of the woman described in the article.