Merck’s ‘Empowering Berna’ Initiative helps infertile woman from Kibera

image.jpeg“I remember asking my husband, how long I will continue to live this misery. He replied -You refuse to leave my house as if your parents are dead, if they are dead you should ask them to open their grave so you may join them. You are of no use to me-. Every time I remember his insult or talk about it, I feel faint and out of breath. Due to the stress I endured I suffered hypertension and Diabetes, now my life is about injecting insulin day and night.”

Fifty-seven year old Grace Kambini popularly known as “Mama Chips” lives in Kibera. She got married out of societal expectations, whereby women are expected to get married to earn respect from their communities.

After nine years of marriage, she realized that she could not give birth. Both her husband and his relatives started abusing and insulting Grace. Her story continues to get several views on social media via the popular Merck More Than a Mother campaign. The campaign seeks to reduce the stigmatization and social suffering of infertile women in Africa. Watch Grace’s story here:

The “Empowering Berna” initiative began under the Merck More Than a Mother campaign, and it aims to empower underprivileged infertile women who have past the stage of receiving treatment. The initiative helps them establish their own small business and build their own.

independent lives. Merck is now assisting Grace to get back on her feet by refurbishing her business.

Grace Kambini with her new vegetable stand in Kibera.

“It is very important to empower infertile women through improving access to awareness and fertility care so they can bear children as part of their human rights. In case they can no longer be treated, the ‘Empowering Berna’ project will contribute towards empowering and training these women to help them establish their own small business so that they can be independent and re-build their own lives. A woman is more than a mother, Empowering Berna initiative will prove this every day.” Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer of Merck healthcare.

“My suffering and stressful life is over; now I am a new person. I can walk with my head up knowing that I have a great business that will sustain me. I am very happy with this program and I wish that Merck can continue helping many other desperate people in this world” Grace Kambini.



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