By Matilda Nzioki
We are called Cytadel Ladies. The name comes from members' initials. We also chose the name because the word 'citadel' means a fortress in a commanding position in or near a city. We want to leave a mark in the society.
Four friends started the chama and each brought a member known to them. We are now eight and are open to new members. The new members, however, must be vetted.
We formed the chama because we wanted to support each other and keep our friendship close.
We have a constitution and are planning to register the chama with the Ministry of Gender.
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What are the benefits of having a constitution?
It makes us equal. As friends, we may be tempted to overlook each other’s faults and the constitution is our guide.
We hope that, even if and God forbid, the chama should break, we will still be friends.
How do members benefit?
Our chama is based on four pillars to help members grow in different aspects of their lives. Every three months we have an event in our calendar to tackle one of the four pillars.
The first one is the spiritual pillar. We look out for each other to always draw closer to the creator. We strive to encourage each other to stay focused in God.
The latest event we did under this pillar was going to church together at midnight to start off the year. The second pillar is the social welfare.
We reach out to the community. In November last year, we had the Elimisha Fun Day. It was an event to raise funds for needy students in Highridge Secondary School in Parklands.
Each member was to invite ten people and the registration fee was Sh1,000. It was dubbed "Sports day down memory lane" where we played old games that we played as children.
We raised more than Sh50,000, which we shall use to pay fees for some students and buy them stationary and uniform.
Why did you choose this particular cause?
We appreciate the value of education. We also looked at this as an opportunity to know how we can work with each other. We plan a bigger fund-raising event. We want the cause to be sustainable.
The other pillar is the financial one. This one is divided into two. We have the merry-go-round part and the other one is growing to be financial savvy. We try to learn how to budget and invest our money, individually and as a chama.
There are members who are charged with looking for investment opportunities. We contribute Sh1,500 every month. Sh500 is for the merry-go-round and we save Sh1,000. The host receives the merry-go-round money.
The final one is the personal pillar. We try to make ourselves better as individuals in various areas such as image and beauty.
We have participated in the Standard Chartered Marathon as a chama twice. We hope to be influential women in the society, as we grow.
Members are: Angela Gichaga, Trezah Kungu, Lydia Ndiritu, Sylvia Wagura, Makandi Muchiri, Sophie Njau, Angela Waweru, and Agnes Ngamini.