Dorothy Mboya

My name is Dorothy Mboya, and I'm registered nurse by profession. I chose to set up this non-profit organization called Tujenge Maisha (In Swahili meaning- Let's build lives) after witnessing a lot of women and children struggle through life, and especially those suffering with AIDS epidemic in my country of origin- Tanzania. As a nurse I have empathy and I wanted to do something.

I was born in a small remote village called "Narumu" in the Kilimanjaro region which is located in north-eastern part of Tanzania. My parents were very poor dependent on just one acre of farmland growing coffee and they had to work very hard throughout the year to provide for the family. We used to live in a mud house with cows and chicken. Life was a constant struggle but my father believed in education even for girls, unlike my mother who believed that girls are meant to help in the kitchen chores and after they are grown they get married. I went to school on and off because my dad didn't have money for school fees, so I will be sent home periodically until I had the school fees. This distracted my education but I was determined to finish school, and to make my dad proud, unlike other local girls I never dated until I was 22 when I was chosen to attend a nursing college in Dar es Salaam and while there that's how I met my future husband who was working for UNICEF (United Nations Children Fund) at that time.

After I completed my nursing school which I passed with flying colors I was sent to work near my parents region-Kilimanjaro, the regional hospital established by missionaries- Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, this was one of the best hospitals in the country. How I chose to be a nurse was because at one point my mom got critically ill when I was around 9 years old and when my dad took me with him to the hospital and I saw those nurses dressed in white and how they saved my mom's life, right there and then I made up my mind that I was going to be a nurse when I grow up so that I save lives.