Sarah Mukibi, is a woman who like most of us, has diverse interests. She is working towards a degree in psychology, works on a sexual and domestic abuse hotline and has also started her own company, Sisterhood of Natural Hair. The reason she developed her company was very interesting and impressive because she did it in retaliation of what someone told her.
It doesn’t matter how we get on the path to pursuing our passions and the things that are important to us, it is just important that we do. The people we may believe to be “devils” or negative, can be perceived to be angels if we take their messages and turn them into positive things in our life. That’s what Sarah did. And, the abuse hotline work that she does is challenging, but gives her a sense of joy and fulfillment to be able to help others.
Sarah is from Maryland, USA.
Your hair is natural. Why do you choose to be natural? At some point in time did you try eurocentric hairstyles and maintenance?
Yes, I did try eurocentric hairstyles and maintenance. I was the weave queen at one point in my life. I would get my hair done about every two weeks – really wasting money and just damaging my beautiful hair. So one day in April 2010 I decided to just start my natural hair journey. It had been years since I was natural and I never knew from being natural came freedom. Going natural has been one of the best decisions in my life and it has empowered to do more/be more as a person. I started my journey with the “big chop” and as my hair started to grow I decided to lock it.
How did having natural hair empower you to do and be more as a person?
Well, wearing my natural hair has made me more confident. It’s not that I wasn’t confident before, but I would have never thought in my life I would wear my natural hair so proudly and would actually be doing it and loving it. It has made me so proud of myself. It made me want to reach out to other African American women and empower them to support them in their journey with organic hair.
You developed a company called Sisterhood of Natural Hair. Tell us what the thinking was the lead you to do this?
One day in my sociology class my professor asked me why I wear my hair the way I do. He kept insisting that I was being rebellious against the system and told me that I will not be able to get a good job in corporate America. This hurt me but at the same time empowered me to reach out to other African American women who may be natural or considering going natural that it is okay if you choose not to covet and conform to european standards of beauty. Sisterhood of Natural Hair is for African American women to be empowered, improve self-image and pathways for future generations to come. Through re-engineering the hair products African American Women use, we will also bring back the make-up that highlights the beauty of the African American women.
(WMTS Note: We are outraged that someone (especially a professor) can be arrogant enough to tell anyone that by conforming to their own culture is considered being “rebellious against the system.” We do not all have to try to look like white women (and please do not take this statement in an offensive manner ladies.) We do not need other people’s approval to be who we are. That is incredible. Good for you Sarah for sticking to your own natural being.)
I see you mention upcoming hair and make-up products for African American women. When will these be available to the public?
Creating my own natural hair care line is something that I will be doing in the future. I will have products like shampoos, conditioner, moisturizers etc. At this moment I do not have all the logistics, but we are working on developing them.
Would you tell us a little bit about your work on the hotline sexual assault help-line?
Sure. Part-time I talk to victims/survivors of sexual assault on an online hotline. This is something that I truly love to do. Every time I work I feel like I am helping someone at the time of need. My job there is to have interventions and provide resources for victims/survivors of sexual assault. We have many victims/survivors come to the hotline because it is online and anonymous (like instant messaging). It is very hard for someone to seek help and having the ability to anonymously seek help or direction from a trained staffer can really help with someone’s fear.
Whether it’s reporting, providing books, self-care or seeking professional help, like a therapist, are all the helpful things we can provide someone visiting the hotline.
The majority of the people who come to this hotline are women. But, this is something available to men also, right?
Yes, it is also open to men. We do get more women than men though probably because of the stereotypes associated with men in that they are supposed to be strong and to be able to protect themselves. Some are afraid or too embarrassed to seek help.
What about children? Do you get children that come to the hotline?
Yes, we do get children who come on the hotline. The chatline is anonymous so visitors are not able to give us any personal identifying information, but you can tell when it is a child by how they express them self. I have to be honest, those are the hardest chats for me. Some bring me to tears literally.
You say this is something that you love to do. How did you get started and how did you come to love this work?
I saw an ad online. Something just clicked in my head and told me to apply. I believe I was hired for a reason, it’s like it was meant to be. I love it because I realize every time I work I am helping someone in need. That’s a great feeling. Also, I am a psychology major so this is in my field. I am working toward a PsyD degree to become a clinical psychologist dealing with abused individuals.
For privacy reasons, we cannot mention the name of the website. But, for women out there in need of such services, they can google phrases like “help for victims of abuse,” “domestic violence hotline,” etc. There are many places to go for help. If you are in need of help or know of someone in need of help, please seek it. We are all in this thing together. If one woman is in need, then we all are – WMTS