By Matilda Nzioki
When a few people started settling in Santon area opposite Kasarani, some women felt lonely and were mutually interested in companionship.
"That was in 2007and we felt that, as neighbours, we needed to know each other and be close," explains chairlady Mary Wanjiku.
That is how the Women of Virtue chama was born, initially with only five members. Back then, each contributed Sh200, but the amount has since grown considerably, as has the membership. Members of Women of Virtue group. Before they begin their meetings, they pray and worship together. [PHOTO: MATILDA NZIOKI/STANDARD]
Members of Women of Virtue group. Before they begin their meetings, they pray and worship together. [PHOTO: MATILDA NZIOKI/STANDARD]
When they meet, the members always begin the session with prayers, then a quick praise and worship session, before reading the Bible and preaching.
The chairperson appoints any member to lead in praise and worship and another to do a brief preaching.
Eve Weekly: It is impressive that you always start your meetings with a prayer session.
Chama: We are born-again Christians, which is why we allocate some time to praise and thank Him. However, one of our members, Aisha Kavele (popularly known as Mama Kayai in the television comedy Vioja Mahakamani) does not profess our faith but she understands this and is still a member.
EW: How did you come up with your name?
C: We borrowed it from Psalms 31 and we always strive to be religious and virtuous women.
EW: How much money does each member contribute?
C: Sh2,350. Two people share the merry-go-round amount that is Sh2,000. Sh200 goes to the host for purchasing a household item, preferably for the kitchen. They are supposed to show the item to the members later on. Sh100 goes to our savings account and Sh50 caters for the expenses the host incurred preparing refreshments.
Every member is required to pay Sh100 if they miss a meeting, regardless of the reason. When a member is late for a meeting, she pays Sh50.
We also have special contributions when a member has an event like a wedding or a funeral.
EW: How else do members benefit?
C: We are a self-help group. We rarely bank the money meant for savings since members take it as a loan charged at ten per cent interest. We always insist that members take a loan at every meeting.
EW: What are you doing as a chama to improve yourselves?
C: Where possible, we invite officers from the Ministry of Agriculture to our meetings to advise us on how to grow crops and rear livestock. Members also share ideas borrowed from other chamas.
We believe in the power of prayer and at the end of each meeting, members pick a folded paper with another member’s name written on it and they pray for that person for the whole month.
EW: What activities do most members engage in?
C: We currently run personal projects. Most of us rear farm animals like chicken, cattle, rabbits and goats, while others do farming or run other businesses. Our future plans are to own land and venture into real estate. We also want to start a joint income-generating project.a