Being a Mentor

December 2019

A good mentor has the willingness to share their knowledge, skills, and expertise. They must also demonstrate a positive attitude and act as a positive role model. Being a mentor requires one to place themselves in the life of the person being mentored, attempting to walk their journey with them, and making every effort to ensure that every accomplishment in the person’s life is recognized and appreciated. We have mentored many girls in the past; we have seen a positive change in some and none in others. Still, this does not stop our resolve to be effective and helpful. We believe there is something good in each and every one of us.

One of the girls we mentored from a young age is Tshani Marithe; she was seven years old at the time. Her parents lived in Kenya though they are originally from Congo. This girl was always inquisitive, pleasant and eager to learn new things. She was very focused on her studies and did well at school. From a tender age, we could see the potential in her. She lived with her parents and two other siblings. Her mother was a hair-dresser; she braided women’s hair from her house, and she did a brilliant job. We all queued to get our hair done by her. With time, Marithe got interested in hair braiding and would watch as her mother braided other people’s hair. She eventually started helping out in the salon after school and this became her life. She graduated from primary school, achieved very good grades in Secondary School and proceeded on to the University where she graduated with honors. She made her parents very proud, and we too, who had been part of her life.

It was, therefore, very exciting for us when we met her yesterday after a very long while had passed. She joined her mother’s business of braiding hair, expanded it, and turned the business around. As she develops the business, she also creates time to work and help her mother. Proceeds from the salon have educated all her siblings. Her brother just graduated with a Master’s Degree in Business, and the youngest is finishing up Secondary School. The family has been able to buy land, build a family home, and bought cars- all proceeds from the hair braiding business. Marithe helps her mother come up with new exciting styles to braid hair. She created a YouTube channel where she shows women how to do their own hair.  She, likewise, has a very active Instagram account.

Seeing what Marithe has made out of her life made us think of our famous Eliud Kipchoge who run a marathon under two hours, his slogan was: “no human is limited!” Marithe has become a brand name. She told us they braid over 15 women and young ladies’ hair per day. She employs 16 other young girls to work along with her. She watched her mother work; she did not despise the work her mother did, but rather, joined her despite her academic qualifications.  She has caused the salon to thrive.

Her mother told us she is slowly handing the salon over to her daughter; all the years spent standing and bending over the client’s heads have taken a toll on her back. It’s time for her to rest. She acknowledges the success that she has had- she has braided dignitaries and has the mighty women of our land on her call list, but she remains a humble woman. As the Christmas season gears up, she is fully booked until January, but women and young girls still walk in begging for a slot in her bookings. We always look forward to seeing her as her story inspires us and keeps us hopeful.

We celebrate Marithe and her mother, Nicole. Nicole has shown what never giving up looks like, and the results thereof. Marithe, on the other hand, has been very dedicated to seeing that her mother’s legacy lives on. She has shown true love and commitment towards her mother and her many efforts. Together, they are empowering other women by giving them job opportunities which allows these women to fend for their families.

 

Beautiful hairpiece in all colors used to braid women’s hair

Marithe at the salon

The girls braiding a client’s hair

Beautiful end product

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