Talk to Rispa
Rispa is 72 and a grandmother from Kenya. She has been talking to older people in Europe about her life and why campaigning for older people's rights is important.
Older activists in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and the Netherlands have watched her videos and recorded their own video messages with questions for her. You can join in the conversation too by commenting below and we'll make sure Rispa gets your messages.
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Read about Rispa below
Name: Rispa Mudege
Date of birth: 1939
Lives: Nairobi, Kenya
Background: I was born in the year 1939 in Sabatia District in Western Kenya. My parents were peasant farmers.
Education: I benefited from the informal education offered by Missionaries at that time but not for long because I got pregnant at 16 years old. So I had to drop out of school to take care of my baby.
Career: I worked as a house help for a European family for four years. Then I was able to get employment at Kenyatta National Hospital as a chef. Due to my hard work I was promoted to the Blood Donation Department, a position I held until I was transferred to the National Laboratory Department. Unfortunately, all this time I worked as a casual. I could not get permanent rank since I lacked professional academic papers.
At 55, I retired and was given a very poor package.
Family: When I was 18, I was already married and with a second child. Life was so difficult; my husband did not earn any income and always came home drunk. So to support my young family I started brewing local beer and from the sales I was able to feed my family. Eventually, I filed for divorce and went to live in Nairobi in 1960. Here I looked for a job.
Unfortunately, my daughter suffered cerebral palsy. Most of the time I was out working and could not be with her, so I would leave her in the care of neighbours. As she grew up she was repeatedly sexually abused by men who took advantage of her condition. Out of the abuse she got four children. I was also not able to afford the services for a lawyer to handle the cases. It was difficult, taking care of my daughter and grandchildren because I was not earning enough to be able to meet all the expenses.
Current situation: Since 2000, I have lived in the sprawling Maili Saba slum. In time, I was able to put up a house built with timber and iron sheets. But one day I come back home only to find my house burnt down to the ground. It was hard to establish the cause of the fire. So, I sought help from the local government but in vain. I then collected the remaining materials left from the burnt house and rebuilt it again and that is where I live up to now. Friends who heard my predicament introduced me to the social worker at Holy Cross Parish, Dandora. After a year I was taken into HelpAge's Sponsor a Grandparent program. This program has met my medical care, because I am a diabetic. And sometimes the cash of Kshs 500 allows me to buy food for my grandchildren.
I live with my grandchildren and take care of their needs e.g. food, school uniform and medical fees because their mother is not capable due to her disability.
Income: I have four rooms next to my one-roomed house which I rent out.
Talent and skills: I can sew table cloths and crochet.
Rispa's photo gallery