Tabitha Wairimu is a lady like no other; a force to reckon with and a Kenyan bothered by the plight of disadvantaged mothers and children in society. Her story is one of passion, commitment and a unique purpose to enhance lives, one mother at a time.
The development conscious Tabitha, a Zetech University Community Development graduate, always wondered why street children were drawn to her within the Githunguri area of Kiambu County and why they regularly stopped her to ask for money or something to it. This experience starred her into action beyond her Sunday school teaching volunteer work, into the life of social work and development that she now lives.
Born in the Kiabiabu village, Tabitha has spearheaded programmes designed to provide children with a better life through curbing the rate of maternal health and workable projects for kids within that region. Initially, after Tabitha reflected on the needs displayed by the street kids that would turn to her for Mercy, she birthed a programme with local churches within the area to provide food and other donations to empower the children. But this was not enough.
“Back in 2006,I started a programme called Githunguri Kids Club to improve the lives of the disadvantaged children within Githunguri, feeding over 600 households, an initiative that was supported by Children’s homes and partners to provide shelter for the kids.” Tabitha shares, adding, “After a while, I realized there was a gap in education and a challenge of child abuse in the area and this drove me to become a champion for children’s rights.”
A journey of Hope:
Tabitha further recounts the challenging but fulfilling journey of changing lives, securing partners and well-wishers and working with the local government to provide bursaries for kids who were ready to learn but lacked the means. This social development work drove Tabitha, a natural born leader, to seek other ways to improve lives within Kiambu County through the networks established and the expansion and development of other community empowerment projects.
“I got involved in the creation of community projects centred on mothers and kids to provide wholesome growth for those in need. Through partnerships with the National Council of Churches in Kenya(NCCK), NGOs such as Christian Aid and Hope Worldwide Kenya, I was convinced we would change lives in the region.” Tabitha reveals, as she reiterates the importance of individuals and entities investing in improving the community.
Fast forward to 2009, Tabitha, a budding politician and practicing youth leader, secured youth governmental posts designed to transform lives through leadership and educating the community on civic education so as to build a strong and productive community of young people. Her history in working with young people was her driving force even as she silently made a name for herself within the Kiambu community.
“I realized that I needed to do more for a better society. Understanding the need to fill the gap for sober leadership, I stepped up and served as a government youth representative. I also took part in the lobbying of Kiambu’s first woman councilor and a robust civic education initiative after the 2010 constitution was launched.”
She says, adding that she was part of championing a social audit to determine solutions to gauge community member’s knowledge of civil matters and opportunities presented by the Ministry of Youth in the country.
Tabitha, who kicked off her Community Development course Zetech after she was convinced the university was the best place to complement her experience with education, is quick to admit that a maternal health project dubbed Kujua recognized globally is one of her greatest achievements to date. Her cheerful demeanor was useful in convincing her community leader to build a clinic for maternal health, following distressing reports of maternal and infant deaths caused by lack of health centres in Kiabiabu village.
“Kujua is an app that collectively records and dispatches data, in a bid to heighten access to maternal health care among women in the Githunguri region, to ensure that they are aware of the resources we had worked hard to establish.”
A determined Tabitha notes that access to higher education pushed her to think of such practical ways, through technology, to enhance the work done to empower women in Kiambu County. Initially, she tells us, a team of young volunteers was trained to visit all homes to record data on pregnant women and young children to enable them to adequately access health facilities and go for regular checkups to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
“After the intensive work of gathering the data, we launched the Kujua programme to serve as a centre for all the data and to create a way to remind the volunteers and the mothers of their checkups and vaccination appointments. An NGO, Action Aid, donated the mobile phones for the initiative that were registered with M-Health to boost efficiency.”
Tabitha reveals that the project has to date been a tremendous success and has succeeded in becoming a model progamme to be replicated by Country governments in Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Ireland, Britain, among others.
“In the last year, we have been celebrated for the success of the programme and governments and NGOs, impressed by the effectiveness of the programme, are calling on us to guide them in implementing the project in other areas of the world.”
Indeed, the achievements of the development-driven Tabitha speak to the possibility of success as a result of commitment, consistency and passion. The vibrant social expert has sharpened her skills in research and worked for NGOs in the production of material on the development and history of Kenya.
Tabitha, who is also a successful farmer, urges young people to use their time wisely and make the most of their education. She believes experience and education is the perfect combination and urges young women to be patient and invest the little they have as opposed to looking for so called ‘sponsors’ to finance a lavish lifestyle.
She ends by saying, “The opportunities are there, you just have to be determined to succeed. Seek to add value and the money will follow you. Bottom line, you have to participate in something of value.”
As an institution committed to the development of the community, Zetech University lauds Tabitha Wairimu for her amazing work in the society and for being an inspiration to many, in Kenya and beyond.
“Tabitha is a true inspiration and we are awed by her passion for development. We are glad that she is aware of the power of university education in enhancing one’s productivity as an expert in social work and we look forward to working with her in various projects.” noted Elizabeth Muhia, Dean of Students, and member of the Zetech University CSR Committee.