Family on mission to help needy people 

Wednesday, May 17th, 2023 04:59 | By
Victor Owaka, his wife Florence Akumu, and their children Tristan, Seth and Ruby. PD/COURTESY

Every single day you wake up, there is an opportunity to do something different, better, greater and bigger. And one Florence Akumu knows this too well.

Her best lessons in life have come from being a mother, and she recognises that true “balance” doesn’t really exist, but you do what you can with what you have.

“I am a mother of three children named Tristan, Seth and Ruby. But first I am a wife to a man named Victor. I am a stay-at-home mum, an entrepreneur and a trained nurse. Nyakano Kobura is a business name I coined in 2017 when I started my entrepreneurial journey,” Florence describes herself.

She offers: “Why did I choose to be a stay-at-home mum? One thing that I have chosen to be that my mother was, is being a housewife and on the other note, one thing that my mother did not have that I have today is a voice — a voice of change, initiation, and impact. I use that voice to impact lives in my family, motherhood journey and in my marriage.”

Florence started a monthly cause to help needy people through her Mama TSR charity drive, where TSR are the initials of the names of her children. The initiative seeks to offer a ray of hope and light to needy people.

Helping others

She uses her social platforms as personal blog to share her daily activities, life and experiences with her family and children. She decided to help her followers to find jobs by sharing job opportunities available. This is strictly done on Wednesdays.

“Due to the harsh economy, we are experiencing today, people just want money, but the truth is you cannot afford to give out money every day, hence an easier way is to teach them how to fish —help them find jobs that will sustain them and help them get money on a flow that never stops. Instead of giving them money once, you better give them something that is going to keep generating an income and encourage them to keep going,” she says.

As time went by, the number of followers increased and she thought of a way of reaching out to the needy in society.

“My family, with help of like-minded people decided to start a monthly course of helping needy people. As a family, we decided to help one person each month with a little token of Sh1,500. The only way I would reach out to these people was through the social platforms because choosing deserving people is difficult when you are not on the ground. I decided to collaborate with one, Winnie Juma, who was to identify the needy people and give them this token,” she explains.

Once she advertised this initiative, volunteers came up and said they wanted to top up the amount so that deserving people would receive a slightly bigger sum.

Florence opines: “They kept coming and coming. I can confidently say that every month, we give Winnie at least Sh40, 000 to help these people to enable them sustain their livelihoods. We are hoping that she will be identifying more than two individuals a month and this initiative will go a long way to spread the cheer. My team and I have chosen to remain anonymous throughout this project, but collectively, Winnie shares with us whatever she does on the ground with this money. We don’t get to choose the beneficiaries because we are not on the ground. She has worked with the needy before and is familiar with the region we chose to assist.”

Growing together

For people who feel they need to be beneficiaries of this initiative, Winnie goes to them and verify their needs. They don’t have a specific genre of needs because people have different problems; some may be lacking school fees, others may be widows and orphans, some may be jobless at the time and facing money problems yet have children without food to eat. Through the initiative, they strive to reach to them.

For Florence, the most fulfilling aspect of her motherhood journey has been her children. “I get to spend every single time I have with them. They learn from me and see what I do. Basically, we learn together, play, travel and grow together. It’s amazing seeing the changes they make every single day,” she says.

“Children tend to imitate what people do. I am glad that they are seeing whatever is happening around us, and around them, in my presence and they are able to do it. I correct, punish, encourage and appreciate them on the spot. We may not be there all the time, especially for those who have started school, but when they are back from school, we recap on the day’s activities. It’s fulfilling to feel like the whole of their childhood is the whole of yours. Technically, it’s the one-on-one with them without missing any single bit,” she shares.

According to the mother of three, bringing up children requires one to set some parental rules that will guide them through the parenting journey.

Modelling courtesy

She offers: “One thing I have learnt to exercise is to validate their feelings. Anytime they tell me I have hurt them, or I am being mean or unfair to them, I feel the need to explain to them why I have portrayed that character at that time. I have learnt to accommodate their feelings and listen to them, assure and reassure them, appreciate and correct them. I have made them understand why I punish them and the importance of having a good relationship as siblings.”

Respect being paramount in the life of an individual, Florence has taught her children to respect people, or anybody that is around them.

“For instance, they have been taught both at school and at home that greetings are important and so they tend to greet everybody, even strangers when they visit recreational places. They actually feel bad when they greet you and you don’t return their greetings!” she says.

Even as she journeys through motherhood, Florence is thankful to have a great support system in her husband.

“We have walked this journey with him since the birth of our first child all the way to the current last one, and also through the grieving period of those I miscarried. My parents and parents- in-law are all supportive,” she says. 

So what lessons does she draw from motherhood? “To mothers, your children don’t need a strong mother; they need a sane one. In whatever you do remember to stay sane for your children. Your sanity is very important in this journey,” she says in ending. 

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