About Us

The Life-Changing Power of the

Grassroots Women Leaders

At Manasprings our commitment is to provide a place where grassroots women leaders gather to refresh body, mind and spirit for re-energised service to their communities. Why? Because we believe that women are the most influential force for change in the world. Without these courageous and compassionate women, many vulnerable communities would be without food, shelter, care, education, health and livelihoods. 

Manasprings believes that women who work on the frontlines need time on the sidelines. Holistic women community leaders who work in inner city slums and remote rural areas need time for physical and psychological rest and for spiritual retreat. It is important for these women who serve the poor and marginalised to have the time, and to be in a place where they can be reminded that God's world has beauty, quiet and peace, not just ugliness, poverty and conflict. They also need a chance to learn from their lifetime experience of walking with the poor. They need time and the place to be able to sort out what has happened to them, and to make sense of it. They need to figure out what more they need to know, or be, and have the opportunity to learn or develop. (Bryant L. Myers)

We applaud the women within Kenya who simply find a way where others see no way, who give hope and purpose, and who uphold the dignity of all humanity.

Our Story

Margaret, Wanjiru, Carey & Jackie

Our story is one of many stories of remarkable women throughout Africa. We have talked with women who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in the lives of poor and disadvantaged children, women and families in South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. All shared a common understanding of the issues faced by people living in poverty, and all worked to see the poor living flourishing lives. The conversations with women in Africa revealed that collective wisdom and common experiences are noble teachers.

In late 2014, Manasprings held its first Women Community Leaders Event in Nairobi, Kenya, providing a safe space for women to share about the challenges faced within their local organisations and in the impoverished communities they worked. Real stories were shared, tangible solutions offering positive change were discussed, and women of different ethnicities and ages, with a shared resolve to help the most vulnerable, were encouraged to continue their journeys in walking with the poor.

 

"Love has to be shown by deeds not words." - Kiswahili proverb

Co-Founders

Carey Westwood

In 1994, Carey Westwood made her first trip from Australia to Africa, a significant journey that would shape her life’s direction. She became involved in fundraising for orphaned children, mothers and grandmothers living in Kenya and Uganda. She saw that caring and compassionate local women, many living in the very same communities, helped people living in poverty. And she learnt that solutions to poverty are found within local communities and influenced by ethical leaders.

After several years working within international and community development across Africa and in Kenya, Carey with Co-Founder, Wanjiru Waithaka founded Manasprings.

Wanjiru Waithaka

Wanjiru Waithaka has worked for over twenty years within community development. With her family, she played an integral role in the establishment and operation of two children’s centres, a community school and churches in Kenya.

Her in-depth understanding and experience, collected over many years of helping vulnerable children and people living in poverty, led Wanjiru to expand her work into several other African nations.

Wanjiru is an inspiring Kenyan woman, who believes wholeheartedly in the empowerment of women in leadership and the importance of networking with like-minded leaders to solve the issues of poverty.

Our Name

MANA In the New Zealand Māori language, ‘mana’ refers to a person or organisation of people of great personal prestige (repute, standing) and character (integrity, honour). Directly translated, ‘mana’ in the Māori culture is authority, influence, power, esteem, stature, strength; a supernatural force believed to dwell in a person. To have great ‘mana’ is to have achieved great accomplishments in giving your life to service (to community; to others) without public reward or recognition. This is a person, who noble in character and humility of heart has the authority and influence to achieve much with and for their community.

SPRINGS A spring is any natural point where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground, bringing water to refresh and quench dry lands. Springs are simply multiple natural points.

Manasprings is therefore, a place where ethical leaders (women with mana) gather to refresh body, mind, and spirit for re-energised service to their communities.

The Manasprings logo design represents the koru and ripples of water. The koru (Maori for "loop") is a spiral shape based on the shape of the new unfurling silver fern frond and symbolising new life, growth, strength and peace. It is an integral symbol in Maori art.

The tri-blue colours also represent the ripples from a spring. Leaders can spread their good influence way beyond their immediate location or a single event, which can have far-reaching effects on others.

Vision

Healthy, vibrant communities led by ethical leaders, well able to influence sustainable solutions for positive change.

Our Mission

Manasprings supports and strengthens grassroots women leaders in transforming communities for the wellbeing of all.

Manasprings core endeavour is to provide women at the grassroots a place of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health so they can be strong, and continue caring for the poor and vulnerable. Our leadership programs and community initiatives create a safe space to reflect, share, trust, and incubate ideas, as we seek to:

CONNECT women of common service for collective knowledge and wisdom,

INSPIRE women through story telling for personal encouragement, and

LEARN from each other what works and what needs to change.

In this spirit, women at the grassroots are empowered to make decisions for their own wellbeing, and for the greater good of their families and communities.

Our Values

Empowering relationships We care deeply about how we make people feel at Manasprings. Our aim is to nurture and grow authentic human connection that encourages, educates and empowers people to thrive.

Leadership for the good of others Our work is rooted in what we call ‘mana’ leadership that carries hope, lifts people up, solves problems, and champions the full potential of people. We embrace everyone’s creativity and participation in standing against oppression and injustice. As long as it takes, with courage and optimism, we seek a better world.

Humility and Integrity We choose to honour and respect others, believing every person has inherent value and dignity. We are passionate to discover and learn with people different from us. Our commitment is to be honest with ourselves and others, as we work together for the wellbeing of all.