LIGHT FOR REGINA IN THE MINING VILLAGE OF LOMARIO
Regina Teko 67 happily welcomes us into her homestead and quickly dashes inside the house gets us a bench and offers us to sit down. Again she adds that she prefers sitting on her favorite animal skin which she hurriedly puts down on sandy surface in her compound and sits down. She gently looks at me and asks are you a Karamajong and I reply no.” What’s your name then?”Phillo I reply. Immediately she emphasizes that “every visitor is given a Karamajong name, “from today onwards your Karamajong name is Nalem, meaning harvesting season”
I ask Regina about mining and its contribution in her life and her face immediately lights up. Regina is a member of Lopusak group one of the 68 groups ECO has formed and formalized, empowered and trained in environmental management, health, safety and VSLA under the KWIMD project. Her story of success in benefiting from mining is one of the many amongst several other women supported by the KWIMD project. She’s one of the beneficiaries that is very proud of her achievements so far due to KWIMD project contribution.
Regina quickly makes a fisted hand raises it up then hits her chest and strongly voices out “I’m empowered”. I ask her how empowered are you? The light in her eyes and the passion in her voice can tell it all.
She rumbles quickly and emphasizes “where would I be if I wasn’t empowered? Nowadays I don’t have to go to the mines anymore to hit those big marble rocks, I also have strong men who do it for me and I pay them at the end of the day from the profits I make from the business”
Regina gazes in a distance and shakes her head. “It’s good that the KWIMD project has empowered us, before we used to be cheated by middlemen but now days the business is profitable because we have fought for an increase in prices. Business has been good because we demanded an increase of the marble truck from 70000shs to 120000 shs. I think we are really going to benefit from this sector”
“My children all go to school one is in S2 another in S4 my earnings pay for them,I don’t need anyones support despite being a widow she emphasizes, I can support my family on my own”.
I ask Regina if she intends to stay in mining and she happily tells me “Yes I do” . I probe the reason why and Regina is quick to answer “The profits are increasing daily ever since the KWIMD project supported us with strong mining tools that can dig deeper and easily crush the rocks. Our earnings have increased due to the training we had on better methods in mining. My earnings have again afforded me alternative livelihoods I have 2 cow and 20goats, see my chicken in the compound”. She exclaimed. “I will continue mining only that I’m looking at buying semi mechanized equipment in the near future to ease my work and earn more profits”.
Regina is quick to add how shes now passing on this knowledge to other women.
To the KWIMD project Regina is a champion, Regina’s story clearly reflects how extractives can benefit women in poor communities and create change