Creating unity and diversity in a foreign country – P.U.S.H
Who is P.U.S.H?
Power in Unity to Save Humanity (P.U.S.H) was founded in March 2014 by Lucy, Abul and Pearl. P.U.S.H is one of the organisations we work with at #defyhatenow to help us create more impact in our areas of operation. They are based in Nairobi Kenya, we had a chat with the founders about what they do and their aspirations.
“After the war that broke out in 2013 we knew we wanted to change our country through education. We realised illiteracy makes people act irrationally and the irrationality may bring about conflicts. When Lydia visited South Sudan for the first time she met Michael a 16 year old boy who had injuries from shootings during the war in 2013. He was in a children’s home that only took in girls at that time but with his injuries Michael was an exception. Lydia organised with the children’s’ home and the UN to help Michael to come to Kenya for treatment because if he had stayed in South Sudan his legs would have been amputated,” Lucy narrates with a look of admiration for her co founder.
We had already started sponsoring students when we met Michael so it wasn’t so hard to decide to help him.What was hard was that we had to take him to hospital to save his life before anything. When Michael came to Kenya he was 16. Years old. Our biggest challenge was that we are from a different tribe from Michael, we are Dinkas and he is Nuer. The people who had shot him were Dinkas so after a while he started detesting us and blaming the whole Dinka tribe for his shootings regardless of the fact that we were helping him. He couldn’t see how we could be different from the people who shot him. It has been a long journey with him, exactly six years, many therapy sessions, many talks but we are in a good place now. It took about two years to heal his wounds and be functional but he is doing great now. He is in form one and doing amazing.
We have eight children we take care of. Only two live with us, Michael and Nada the rest live in South Sudan with foster families. We cannot take in everyone because we don’t have anywhere to accommodate them even Michael and Nada stay with us in our family houses and they bounce between our families. It was really difficult with our families because the both of us were still in college. They wondered how we could bring in extra mouths while we didn’t even have a source of income. We started taking in and helping children while still in university.
“When I went to university in the UK I would go to church so I would fundraise from the church I attended, we would sell tickets to our events to fundraise, we would forego part of our school fees to top up for school fees,” says Abul with a chuckle. All their needs including school fees totals to around ksh 350,000 per year. All the kids are mostly in primary school so it’s relatively affordable. We only have one girl -Nada – in the lot of the children we are taking care of. It is so strange that we only have one girl being that we are women but it’s just happened.
All the kids in juba stay with foster families, the African type of foster families. They stay with different families but we take care of every need they have. We haven’t been able to partner with anyone in taking care of the kids – except for when Michael needed medical care- this is largely because we haven’t looked as hard as we should and we have been trying to figure out the organization but as of this year we are working on that. We would like to take care of a lot more but we are not in a position to so we are trying to figure out whom we can partner with to bring more impact.
JALABIA LADIES TALK
A Jalabia is a type dress sort of like a Dira. We borrowed the concept from our mothers type of dresses for events. When our mothers came together for events or celebrations they always don the JALABIA.
The Jalabia Ladies Talk is an empowerment program that we hold yearly to talk about issues affecting women and how they can overcome them . We focus on relationships, careers and self-development. We address womanhood. We encourage the ladies who attend to wear the Jalabia, as it is a really comfortable type of dress it frees up your mind, you do not have to style it, you can just wear it and it is simply elegant. We also use it to encourage young girls to embrace womanhood. We are now doing one a year but as we are now done with university we hope to be doing at least three Jalabia ladies talks per year. We invite women who have gone through so much in life and are now excelling in their various fields. We go by the motto, “empowered women, empower women”. We are creating a forum where South Sudanese women can talk about issues openly we are trying to say it’s okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to be weak and that your problem isn’t lesser than someone else’s.
On 18th of August 16, 2018 we will be having a cultural day at Ligi Ndogo grounds on Ngong road,Nairobi, Kenya . The main aim of this is to show that there is beauty and unity in the diversity of South Sudanese cultures, also living in Kenya so long sometimes we forget our cultures or we just don’t know but coming together brings together what we all have learned over time. This will help us maintain our cultures and a part of who we are. We will also use the event to fundraise for the kids we sponsor.
The reason we started P.U.S.H is we wanted to show the world that we can actually help ourselves. Development should not be left to development organisations only we can actually give from what we earn and we can change the lives of those around us. We wanted to provide a platform that in which people can give through if they want. We also wanted to tell our own narrative because we are living it.
There is Power in Unity. There is this cliché saying Pray Until Something Happens, we used that to inspire what P.U.S.H stands for.
Here is a chat with them on their work.
Reach them on Facebook via: Power in Unity to Save Humanity