Speaker offers insight on women's and children's struggle in rural Africa

Winnie Kiwalabye, founder and executive director of Mama Africa International Organization, Uganda, recently spoke to about 130 students, faculty, and staff members at Penn State Worthington Scranton.  Ms. Kiwalabye's organization fights violence and illiteracy amongst women, single mothers, and widows in rural areas of Uganda, Africa.

Mama Africa's mission is to restore hope for the vulnerable children of Uganda by helping illiterate and low-income women in the country's rural and slum communities gain empowering life skills. The organization works with women in a personalized and welcoming environment to improve their basic life skills, teach them how to make a family sustaining wage, and achieve self-sufficiency by providing adult education programs and supportive services.

Winnie commented, "We rescue, love and care for orphaned children and empower women. We run programs and projects to meet their needs physically, academically, spiritually, and emotionally in order to prepare them for a brighter future and sustainability. We work in rural areas of Wakiso and the urban slum community of Nanyuguzi in Uganda's capital city of Kampala District."

Winnie told of her tormented youth and subsequent personal drive to establish Mama Africa, an organization for battered and abused girls and young women. She also gave the crowd an insight on what it was like to live under the rule of the infamous Idi Amin Dada.

"It is important for all of us to gain perspectives of how issues that occur in our country play out in other countries and to understand how atrocities around the world impact individual people just trying to survive," said PSWS Director of Continuing Education John Drake.

 This program was a cooperative effort between the Penn State Cooperative Extension and Penn State Worthington Scranton.