An Interview With Josephine Sandra Nagayi | Prince Wako Foundation Ambassador
Compiled By: Frederick H
Complementary therapist Josephine Sandra Nagayi, is a self-motivated individual with vast knowledge in food and nutrition. Though based in the United Kingdom, her actions and words exhibit her love for her motherland Africa and the less privileged girl-child. Her passion for humanity has driven her towards developing several soft skills, Miss Josephine is also a certified counsellor with a background of business and human resource management. In April 2017, she sustained a life changing body injury, that streamlined her direction and the things she prioritized in life. With body injury came a limit in the things she could do, as she struggled to heal herself, she chose to be part of a cause that could heal the rest of the world. We recently sat down with Sandra to discuss her passion, work with Prince Wako Foundation and properly learn more about how she has used her personal experiences to contribute to healing of the world.
That is quite interesting, well I was talking to Joshua Wako, already running projects under the foundation. He shared his vision, what he does and all that he had done previously. He also talked about the girlchild in need and what kind of efforts had employed to meet the different needs. This prompted me to ask a couple of questions about the vision and what pushed him to do what he did and the kind of things he did daily to make sure the girl child in need receives help. His reply was quite inviting, he gave me time to think about it and asked me to give my thoughts on the presented vision at an opportune time. At that time, I was at one of the lowest moments in my life, but when I scrolled through the foundation website, I was touched. There and then I chose to get involved.
2. Had you ever started any other prince Wako project from scratch, if so tell us about it?
Personally, I came in at a time when there was a need for volunteers and ambassadors to provide a voice to the girl children in need. So, the concluded charity projects were my first.
3. In your experiences so far, what have been the challenges?
In my experience, the scarcity of resources has been a challenging factor. In the recent projects, we visited two schools, Verona High School, Mutundwe-Uganda and St. Andrews primary school in Jinja. There are several children that are in need and there are only a few people that can raise funds. This goes to say that we practically need the support of people who can raise funds to be used to cater for the needs of these children. Basically, there is a higher demand of needs amongst the children and yet the resources are limited.
4. Do you enjoy working for the girl child, what inspires you?
The absolute truth, from the bottom of my heart is that, I really enjoy working for the girl child and actively taking part in the girl child help projects with Prince Wako foundation explains it all. My inspiration is drawn from interacting with other girls. Having grown through all experiences like any other girl, I have learnt that I was surely privileged. I have been hit with the fact that these girls face tough times every day, and circumstances around them make them less privileged than I was, when I was their age. The other day, when we visited the two schools, I interviewed a few and some of the things that did come up were; some students cannot stay in school because none of their parents can afford the required school fees, others are HIV positive, some are total orphans, some are assaulted and sexually abused by their own step-fathers, the whole experience is so traumatizing. In some instances, girls who desperately want to stay in school have been forced to give in to sexual advances from different men so that they raise school fees. This for me is disheartening. No girl should go through this, there is a lot more to do, these girls are ambitious, they have goals and if we can deal with most of their insecurities, things can turn around for the better. This inspires me every day, to see that they live a better life that leads them towards achieving their goals without trauma – this drives me.
5. What does volunteering for Prince Wako foundation involve?
It involves so much. You get to meet like minded people, people that are selfless, people with a common goal and vision. This comes with practical interactions with beneficiaries, actual on ground visits and thus transparency and accountability. In actual sense, we identify and work very closely with schools, communities and we know exactly how the funds raised are utilized. We get to interview beneficiaries, one after the other and based on circumstances, need and our vision, we prioritise accordingly. We also carry out group discussions to look for solutions and innovative ideas in different circumstances. Our work also involves inspiring, motivating, counseling and creating awareness on a range of issues like; benefits of education, health tips, creativity and personal development.
6. Describe your passion in relation to girl child empowerment, How do you think your passion impacts these young girl’s lives in General?
In the recent projects, I shared with the girls my personal experiences. For example, where I studied, for my O and A levels, where I went for my University, my work experiences, the challenges that I have encountered all through and how I overcame them. Being an adult now, I know exactly what these children are going through, they can occasionally be taken up by circumstances, they may deviate from the rail of focus sometimes, but sharing with them one on one is so inspiring. They shared a lot more than they could have shared in a group. I shared my personal experiences with over 250 girls and I was so open with them. They were able to ask me any kind of questions. With overwhelming feedback, I realized that these girls felt comfortable, they knew how far they wanted to go with their studies, they believed in their potential and were ready to unlock it. Many started seeing life realities in a broader perspective. From our talk, they got exposed to health issues within them, the need to say no to any kind of abuse at the right time. This being my passion, I was able to motivate and encourage them. With this impacting on the them, they became happier even when they were a little tense in the beginning. With an informal discussion, I believe that the experience created an everlasting impact and I am proud of it.
7. What is your vision for the entire organization, what are your main goals?
I like to see change, improvement and I love to feel that these children; in need, the very less privileged, the abused move from one step of life to another. From having no support or feeling helpless to being focused on their studies, being creative and knowing that education is important to their growth and development. Well, it is important to note that when you educate a girl child, you educate a nation. When I interviewed some girls, I understood that they carry a lot of pressure from their homes which forces them into early sex practices. Their homes become arenas of intimidation. So, my main goal is to go forward with such noble campaigns, to find those that can support the cause and those that can raise funds to help support these children. I see most of these girls being moved away from the arms that put them in danger to safety. So far, the progress that I have seen in most beneficiaries is very promising. These girls should be strong, and they should not feel intimidated in anyway.
8. What have been your favorite parts in your involvement in the different projects.
Meeting and connecting with different kinds of people is so enriching, because we educate and inspire one another. With weekly meetings, creativity has made the whole experience so enjoyable. Having grown through a traumatic experience, the personal injury that I sustained, and the eventual healing process all have helped me to embrace my experience and see through most of these girl’s lives – there is a way where there seems to be no way. Even with the qualifications in Business management and Human resource, I have been able to actively get involved in the girl child help projects, which has helped me emotionally, psychologically and mentally to work with different passionate people. Thus, helping the girl child, easing some of their challenges.
9. What in your opinion needs to be done to empower the girl child?
In my opinion, it is important to try and understand the girls. One should be able to fit in their shoes. As a certified counsellor, I know it is important to empathize with the person in the current situation and listen to them without judgement and blame. Even when many are getting involved in early and risky sex practices, there is need to understand the underlying cause. Therefore, the need to understand them and let them know that we are willing to work with them and find ways, enough funds to empower them. I think working well with the teachers is also significant. The teachers should be made aware of the circumstances surrounding the education of most of these children. As they educate them, they should attach value to the lives and the way they treat them. We as a people, should be able to provide scholastic materials where need be, essentials like sanitary pads and teach them how to make these pads. This will keep many in school. We should establish means of availing funds to cater for school fees, so that these children go to school with no worries attached to financial requirements in school.
10. From your experience, which project do you think needs more efforts?
We need to equip most of the teachers with skills to handle girls in crisis. There should be more efforts put in keeping the girl child in school, many lack tuition fees, many do not have scholastic materials, many cannot access sanitary pads, if these issues are remedied, several will keep in school. Then Healthwise, there are several challenges, conditions, experiences and diseases that need immediate intervention. Some have been sexually abused, others have abnormal and destructive menstrual cycles, all these must be worked upon. We need more effort, financial backing and relevant counseling sessions with consistency.
11. Any words for anyone out there who wishes to support this cause?
We are a small dedicated team that is growing time after time. Currently, most. of our own projects, with the help of a few well-wishers. I call upon those who share a similar passion to join the cause. Efforts can be through monetary, material contributions or dedicating oneself to a service or skill for the cause. One can opt to avail oneself for a time, in service of the cause. Anything with relevance can be of importance. If you want to be part of us, contact us, let us exchange ideas. Follow us on our media platforms, donate to the cause and fund a project that you may be personally interested in. With joint efforts focused on the girl child in need, the sky will be the limit.
Thank you so much, I am looking forward to welcoming you, talking to you and implementing several projects with you.