International Women’s Day 2015 – A day in the life

At Adara, we are proud to be part of a global community. We have offices around the world in Australia, Bermuda, the US, Nepal and Uganda, and our projects are focussed on improving the lives of women, children and their communities.

Across the globe, we are seeing steady rates of women’s participation in the workforce, with around 55% of the world’s women in paid employment. Interestingly, for these women, the time they spend on housework and family responsibilities does not reduce with their increased paid work. In both developed and developing countries, the bulk of family care and housework continues to rest on women, with the UN World’s Women report indicating that in all regions, women spend at least twice as much time as men on unpaid domestic work. How do they balance it all?

On this International Women’s Day, we wanted to delve deeper into the lives of some of our amazing Adara staff, to discover what a day in their life looks like, and how they manage their work, family and community commitments.

Meet Racheal Hope Baluka. Racheal is 31 years old and she has worked with Adara for the past 5 years as our House and Office Assistant at Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda.

Racheal and Esther1. Racheal, can you tell us what an average day looks like for you? What activities do you do in your day?

Every morning I wake up early, and my niece Esther and I have morning prayers together at 6:00am. We then read together, and I make breakfast and help prepare her for school. After Esther has gone to school, I do some cleaning at home until 8:00am. In Uganda, it’s a must that you say hello to your neighbours every morning and evening as a sign of respect. After greeting my neighbours, I prepare for work, and walk 25-30 minutes to the Adara house.

I love it when we have visitors at the Adara house. When they are there, I start the day by doing the laundry, and then prepare lunch for my guests. After lunch, I make dinner for them. I love to see them comfortable and enjoying delicious meals.

Going back home, some days I feel so tired. I am lucky that my niece Esther is enthusiastic and wants to learn to cook, so when I am tired, I teach Esther to cook under my guidance. She is an excellent cook, and can almost do it alone now.

2. What is living in Nakaseke like? Are there opportunities for women to work there?
Here in Nakaseke, people mostly work in agriculture – some on a small scale and some on a large scale. Women in Nakaseke work very hard, morning to evening. Although both the husband and wife go to work in the garden until midday, when they come back home, the wife is the one who has to bring firewood and water. She may also be breastfeeding. Then, after working in the garden all day, at 2pm it is expected that a woman will have cooked a meal for her family. In this culture, men never cook.

I do see that as more women go to school, they are facing less discrimination. Our speaker of parliament is a woman, and there are several women in Nakaseke in senior positions of government.

3. What is the most rewarding thing about your job with Adara?
I have loved connecting with many friends, all across the world as they come to stay in the Adara house. We often have such different lives, and I love sharing different aspects of our lives with each other. Adara has also helped me improve my hospitality and administrative skills, and has given me a job that enables me to take care of myself and Esther.

4. Is there anything else you would like to say?
Women are such a blessing to every nation. We are helpers to men. I think we women are super powers to nations!

Meet Pushpa Bam. Pushpa is 30 years old, and she works in our Humla office as Adara’s Office Manager and Bookkeeper. She has worked with Adara for the past 3½ years.

1. Can you tell us what an average day looks like for you? What activities do you do in your day?
I wake up 7:00am in the morning with my 21 month old daughter, Arshiya. My husband is a wonderful man, and he makes tea for us. I clean our house, and then get my daughter ready for the day. Then I start cooking for our family and we have our breakfast at 9:30am. At 10:00am I go to the Adara office, taking my little daughter with me. I do office work until 5:00pm. It’s tough to work at the same time as looking after my daughter, but my co-workers are very supportive and helpful and I try not to let my daughter hamper my work. At around 5:30pm I return home and start preparing dinner for my family. We have our dinner at around 8:00pm. Then after cleaning up and letting my daughter sleep I do some self- studies with help from my husband. I go to bed at around 11:00pm. I am lucky to have a very supportive husband. He is always there to help me with whatever I have to do whether it be household work, taking care of our daughter or my studies.

2. What is living in Humla like? Do you feel like there are opportunities for women there?

Living in Humla is very tough. I was born and raised in the flatter and warmer region of Nepal. So it has been a difficult adjustment for me to live in Humla in terms of traveling, weather, language, food and so on. I have realised that no matter how tough it may be at first, you always somehow get used to it and I am doing fine now.

Chala woman in front of mountain rangesHumla is not only remote in its geographical location, but people’s mentality and way they think is also far behind. What I am trying to say, is that Humla is a male dominated society where strong male chauvinism still exists and women are looked upon as second class citizens. Many Humli men only see women as someone to do household chores and make babies. Men are often not supportive of women’s role and don’t think women are equal contributing members of society. It is challenging for working woman like me to be in Humla.

3. Do you ever find it difficult to balance your work with your home, family and community commitments?
It is really tough to balance between your professional life and family life. I have big family with mother in law, father in law, husband, daughter and other family members to take care of. And I have a job which is financially supporting my family, so I can’t leave my family for my job and I can’t leave my job for my family either! At times it’s tough, tiring and frustrating but it’s fun too. I must say, I am lucky to have supportive family and office who really understand, which makes it easier for me to balance these two responsibilities.

4. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Nothing, except I would like to say that working women with heavy responsibilities should be treated well, and their performance evaluated accordingly. Humli women deserve equal opportunities and support like I am getting.

Meet Sarah Lecoutre. Sarah is 43 years old. She has been with Adara for the past 7 years, and is a senior accountant on our finance team in Sydney Australia.

1. Sarah, can you tell me a little about yourself and your family?
I work part time at Adara working 5 hours a day Monday to Friday. I have 3 children, Max and Harry who are twins aged 12 and Emily aged 5.

2. Can you tell us what an average day looks like for you? What activities do you do in your day?
On an average day I get up just before 6am and go and exercise in the local park with some other mums, as this is the only time we can fit it in! When I get back at 7am, I prepare the children’s breakfast, lunch and help them get ready for school. Then it’s off to work, dropping Emily at school on the way.

When I finish at work at 3pm, I head straight to pick up Emily and sometimes the boys from school and then we usually head off to swimming, tennis or music lessons depending on the day. Once home, it’s helping with homework, preparing dinner, tidying up and preparing the children for bed time. Then I get to relax a little before bed.

3. Do you ever find it difficult to balance your work with your home, family and community commitments?
Yes the balancing act is tricky and exhausting at times and there are never enough hours in the day to do everything! It’s particularly hard to manage in the school holidays as all our family live overseas.

Fortunately though I am very lucky to have a job where I can balance work and family and as it is close to home and school, I am not far away.

4. Do your family help out with jobs at home?
Hmm…a little! Yes, the children bring in the washing and water the garden. My husband works long hours but at the weekend he enjoys to cook, so I get a break from that.

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