My name is Josephine Achieng Lando. I am an Accounting major at Xavier’s Williams College of Business class of 2014. I grew up in a small town (Ongata Rongai) in the outskirts of Kenya’s Capital City, Nairobi where I am the fourth child in a family of five. I was fortunate to be raised by a very passionate and hardworking woman (Rose Lando) who was widowed in 1998 after the sudden demise of my father. As a widow with five children in Kenya at that time, it was very hard for my mother to get a job, she therefore started a small scale bread making business to take my siblings and me through school. It is through her faith, hard work and dedication that I developed a passion for learning, public service, and women empowerment.
At Xavier, I have been actively involved with the Xavier University Women’s Center since my freshman year. Here I have had the privilege of working with faculty and student groups in organizing a number of events and dialogues to raise awareness on issues related to gender, race, class, and diversity from which I have gained a lot of insight into advocacy for women. I enjoy being part of the NEXUS (Norwood, Evanston, and Xavier Urban Sustainability) steering Committee where community is built through gardening. I have found community in the leadership roles I have held in student groups such as the African Students Association and the International Students’ Society. These have helped broaden the spectrum in which I view the world, and challenged me to overlook geographic boundaries as I seek to build meaningful and long lasting relationships with individuals I interact with.
During the summer of 2012 as part of the Xavier Summer Service Internship I had the privilege of working with Caracole Inc; A non-profit that seeks to provide safe, affordable housing and supportive services for individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. The experience I gained through Caracole and the weekly reflections during the program deepened my insight in social justice issues such as homelessness/housing, poverty, discrimination, and opened my eyes to ways in which I can be an asset for my community.
I love taking the time outside my busy schedule to reflect on my faith and the kind of life I live by journaling or taking long walks. Since my time as a volunteer camp counselor in Kenya, I have done this and found that it has helped me become more aware of how I can serve others better and use the tools awarded to me to give back and help others uncover their gifts. My long term goal is to start a non-profit geared towards educating economically challenged women on how to start and manage their own businesses. I believe that every experience granted to us is meant to direct us to our ultimate goal, therefore as a winter cohen brueggeman fellow my research is focused on rebuilding the lives of women through business education.