“I want my daughter to go to university and study whatever subject she wants. I don’t want to decide for her, but I hope she does so that one day she can get a good job.”
Mwikali left Kenya in 2005 when she was offered a job as a nanny in the UK. It was a difficult decision for her as no one in her family had ever left home. She was leaving her entire family, including her daughter, Winnie, who was only 6 at the time.
“My husband and I decided that me moving to the UK for work was the best thing for the family. In my village, if your crops fail then you need to rely on family living abroad to send money back home. I saw other children in my village were suffering as they didn’t have the money to go to school and I didn’t want that for my daughter.”
For the past 13 years, Mwikali has been sending money back home to pay for her daughter’s school fees. Winnie is now 18 and is in secondary school and her favourite subject is English. Mwikali is confident that if she had not gone to school herself, with the support of her grandparents who paid for her fees when her father died, then she wouldn't have been able to learn English and got the job she has now.
Mwikali used to send money back home via MoneyGram or Western Union. “I would withdraw cash and walk 20 minutes to the nearest post office to send money home to my daughter’s father to pay for her fees. Sometimes it would take three days to reach them. Now I can send money home directly into Winnie’s M-Pesa account, so she can go to school.”