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Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Three Musketeers.

The idea of success is one common goal most of us share. Having that great job, getting better grades, having those many zeros in your bank balance, having wonderful friends and a supportive family are some standards we use to gauge ourselves to know if we have indeed reached the epic of our triumph. Along the way a good number of us lose hope because of a few disappointments here and there and declare that we will never make it! Maybe it is the thought of failing again that most frightens us that we opt for the “easier way out”-resigning our fate to whatever comes along.

(L-R) Mrs.Kiarie,Ms Ngugi and Ms Matheri

Sometimes we just need a bit of faith or a real life example in others to make us believe in ourselves once again that we can undeniably make it!!!March 5, 2011 was one such day where three remarkable ladies took this faith and hope back to their roots. Having grown up in Murang’a and now very successful role models it was vital for these ladies to encourage the students of Ruchu Girls High School and Kiguoya Mixed Secondary School both located within Murang’a District.

Ms Catherine Matheri is a lecturer who has previously taught in Daystar and Strathmore Universities. She is currently a teacher at Alliance Fran├žaise-Nairobi and is a life coach. Her session with the schools seniors was on goal setting, a life skill that is key for survival. She describes a goal as a dream with legs-or -the end to which our efforts are directed. Notably all successful people have goals, and when you ask them what they are, they will most definitely have an answer at their fingertips. Goal setting gives us a sense of direction and control of our lives. If we don’t have our own goals, we tend to get entrapped in other people’s goals. You might wonder how some people get wound up in drug abuse or alcohol. Perhaps at their lows they lost focus on their goal and got sucked up by those who have chosen to take drugs.” Life without a goal is like not knowing where you want to go but going anyway.” So what is your destination?

A goal setting session at Ruchu Girls.
Granted, even with goals you might find yourself getting out of track and being derailed from time to time. But with your destination in mind it is much easier to realize this and forge your way back. Ms Matheri emphasizes on the importance of thinking about your goals TODAY. Your long term goals and your short term goals. She calls for us to visualize our lives in ten years time (long term goals). Imaging this with no obstacles and no hindrances’. You should ideally write them down and ensure they encompass all areas of life. I.e. academic, career, financial, health, spiritual, relationship, and giving back to society because ultimately all of these are interdependent.
Short term goals are the steps taken that eventually reach us to our long term goals. As the name suggests they take a shorter time to achieve. These goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-bound) and should be written down as well and reviewed often. She insists on the need to share these goals with someone you trust and whom you will hold accountable to. This trusted confidant ensures that you are on track and helps encourage and cheer you on. Once you accomplish a goal remember to reward yourself no matter how small the achievement to keep your spirits up and the urge to realize more goals. Some students were lucky enough to have a one-on-one session where they discussed their short term goals and through the guidance of the life coach made them SMART.

Ms Matheri’s famous mantra:

Only as high as I can reach can I grow,

Only as far as I reach can I go,

Only as deep as I look can I see,

Only as much as I dream can I be.

Mrs. Jane Kiarie an advocate of the High Court of Kenya is a gender activist and a counselor by profession. She is a certainly a lady with many hats. Her session at the schools was on gender. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. To put it differently-males and females are sex categories: while masculine and feminine are gender categories. It is important to know how gender influences our behaviour and goals.

 Growing up in rural Kenya or in other remote (or not) places in the world cannot be easy especially for young girls.Imagine being denied your right to further your education for instance just because you are a girl! Gender stereotypes can hinder us from reaching our optimum because we feel that we are “wronging” society by going against the norm.Mrs.Kiarie urges all of us to shun this non-progressive culture. She is clear to note that girls are not better than boys-girls she adds are equally as good as boys and society should acknowledge and embrace this. Gender is dynamic and keeps changing. It is therefore unjust to deny a group of people something today yet in a couple of year’s time it might be ok in your eyes. You might not realize the magnitude of gender unless you really pause to think about it. It might influence the way you dress, the way you talk and walk and even the way you think.

Kiguoya students discussing what gender is.

So when she stated that she was not born a girl but a female it made a lot of sense. Girls (and boys) are what society imagines them to be. This may limit your potential consciously or unconsciously. You might avoid taking up physics or enrolling in an engineering class not because you can’t crack those numbers but because society has decided for you that that is a male dominated field! You might even start believing that some subjects are hard because society has constantly thrown these messages at you on what you can and cannot do. We must deliberately make an effort to make decisions and set our own life goals based on merit and what we want-no what others think! she remarks.

Ms Joyce Ngugi an accountant with an international NGO could not have rapt up the day’s session any better. She recapped on the day’s topics and left the students with a powerful quote-“If you Perceive it, if you Believe it, you can Achieve it”.Ms Ngugi explained that we should not let our family background, past mistakes and failures prevent us from being all that we can be. We must find something we are passionate about, believe we can be do our best in it and work towards realizing this dream. We are never too young or too old to perceive, believe and achieve she muses. She encouraged the students to start setting their goals at a tender age so that it will be routine for them later in life. If young people start budgeting for their little pocket-money they now gets how much more easier will it be for them to budget their salaries later in life?

These three ladies all grew up not far from these schools. They are living proof that where you grew up from doesn’t really determine your future. They inspired the students and gave them hope that they too can make it in life-If they just put there hearts and minds to it nothing is impossible. “The key to rising higher is to keep looking to where you want to go. Dream big dreams! Don’t focus on where you are today, keep a positive vision and see yourself accomplishing your goals and fulfilling your destiny.”-Joel Osteen.

“Sisterhood” is humbled by these great ladies achievements and support. We are mostly grateful for the inspiration and hope they instilled in the students.


  1. You are doing a great job Kate. I see a vision and a dream to transform and empower lives of the young women.

    Thumps up for the good work young gal


    Ritchie Miriti

  2. Thank you Richie for your unwavering support and encouragement.

  3. Hi Cate,
    I was very happy to be part of your dream - again, I'm very proud of you! And get well soon.

  4. Thanks aunt Kate!Am sure the students must have told you already that your session was different than other motivational talks and was more real!!!can't wait to see what goals they've sent!!!!that means of course you have to come along to see if they are SMART!

  5. It was truly a wonderful day and you captured it so aptly. I got to see what I have sensed all along; what an inspiration you are to those young girls. Keep going gal!

  6. Thanks gal!had to check through to make sure I wrote advocate!hehe aunt Joyce and Lilian insisted!
    Am glad to pass the inspiration down to the young girls because I sure got it from all you ladies!

  7. gal i cant say much but rily it was a fantastic day and i learnt much.im proud to be associated with "sisterhood"............congrats katie well done

  8. Thanks Lily the girls adore you-Thanks for inspiring them as much as you do!So are you coming on the 19th?