Happy International Women’s Day 2022: Inspirational CHI Women
March 18, 2022
CHI would like to wish all CHI members and employees a happy International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day takes place each year on the 8th March globally to celebrate the “social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women”. To mark the day, we spoke to two inspirational CHI Members, Winifred Kelly, and Mamy Nzema, about their lives, interests and passions.
Mamy Nzema, Cherry Orchard
What do you do in your day-to-day life?
I’m a student and a mother. I’m studying analytical chemistry full-time at TU Dublin Grangegorman. At the moment, I’m writing my thesis. I just finished the project in the lab, that was last week, and we’ve been given two weeks to write the thesis.
My thesis is on wastewater remediation using biochar, it’s charcoal like material that is produced from plant materials that are decomposed at high temperature. It can remove the pollution in wastewater, and the practical experiment went well.
I am also a mother of three. My eldest son is fourteen years old, my second one is twelve and my third one is seven. I am a busy woman. I was meant to finish my studies in 2018 but due to personal reasons I had to take a break. I graduated then with a level 7 in Medicinal Chemistry. That was in 2018, and after three years I thought, ‘why not go back now?’
It’s difficult when you’re a mother, you know that commitment, it’s not easy. But I’m almost there. I’m finished in May.
I’m also a volunteer with Recruit Refugees Ireland, we are helping refugees and asylum seekers find a job. So, I’m their executive recruitment manager sometimes, but at the moment I’m busy! I often help candidates with their interviews and their CVs, but at the moment I have to focus on my degree.
What makes you happy?
"I spend my free time with my kids, cooking, baking, also going out getting some fresh air in the park, laughing with my kids, and socialising. I’m also involved with my community."
I’m one of the leaders in learning with my community. Recently we made a video with the Ballyfermot-Chapelizod partnership to encourage people to go back to education, so I enjoyed taking part in this.
I also have a community clean up group that we set up in 2019. We had taken part in World Clean Up day Ireland ; it was the first time it had happened in Ireland in 2018. A friend invited me that time and the Lord Mayor came in and we took photographs in the city centre. That was the first time the day was celebrated here and we were part of the project, which was very good, it makes me excited talking about it.
When we moved to Cherry Orchard, everywhere had people dumping, so seeing as I had already been involved in community clean-up, I thought ‘why not do something here?’. My son was like ‘Yeah! Yeah! Why not?’ and my little one, at that time she was about 4 years old, she was like ‘Yes mammy!’ so we started an initiative. It’s great to be able to clean up the environment where I live.
Anyone living in the area can join our clean-up group it’s called the Cherry Orchard Environmental Group. We do a clean-up every last Saturday of the month and we are always looking for volunteers.
Winifred Kelly, Hazelbrook Rise
What do you do in your day to day life?
I work full time with a Homeless organisation. I am very thankful for my job.
I really enjoy the work as it challenges me, and I feel I have developed positive new skills during the last nine years. My job, along with my colleagues, is to offer advice and support to people who are at risk of becoming homeless. It involves collaborative work with other agencies in the Community to offer the best possible support to individuals and families.
Covid-19 certainly added extra challenges for the folks we support and also in how we could support them.
What makes you happy? How do you spend your free time?
Travelling and volunteering have been my passions for many years. I have enjoyed great adventures and made lifelong friends through these experiences. I have been humbled to be able to spend time in Communities in many parts of the world and understand their culture.
My current and ongoing volunteering adventure is in South Dakota on a Native Indian Reservation-Lakota Sioux Tribe. I have been involved with the Cheyenne River Youth Project, a grassroots organisation there, that offers supports to youth and family on the reservation for the past 20 years. Other Cultures I have travelled to and volunteered in are Romania, Kosovo, UK, Chicago, Washington, West Virginia and many more.
I have been so lucky to have had so many fabulous adventures and meet so many lovely people. I am hopeful of more adventures in the year ahead and beyond. I am by nature a very optimistic person. In spite of an extremely sad personal loss in the last two years, I am hopeful of reconnecting with friends home and abroad and to feel replenished as a result.
My hope for this year would be to travel to South Dakota to see my friends/ family and enjoy time in the Community that feels like home.
I often think “What a journey it has been…and what a journey it will be”.
On this International Women’s Day the people of Ukraine are very much in my thoughts as they face a very uncertain future.
A quote that guides me is “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t.”