Following the sudden death of her husband, Casty Nyaga found herself juggling a full time career and caring for her five children alone.
But rather than be consumed by grief, Mrs Nyaga moved her family from their birthplace of Kenya to Australia.
“Before my husband passed away we had planned to come and do our PhDs together ... I said ‘I will continue with that dream’."
Eleven years later, the now Dr Nyaga says the most challenging part of her experience was learning the Australian way of life, turning her attention towards helping young Kenyan women adjust to the cultural differences while also becoming the only female board member of the Kenya Community in Western Australia organisation.
“Casty is my Australian mother,” 31-year-old nurse Connie Njiru says in her Cannington home. “I call her any time of the day and say "hey mum, what do I do?" and she says "it’s OK I’ll come and see you”.
26-year-old Sandra Oromo Onyango has also been taken under Dr Nyaga’s wing: “You’re thinking ‘OK I’m in a foreign world… how to dress, how to talk’… you don’t want to embrace so much on one side that you forget the other. Casty has helped me through that."
Now Dr Nyaga has been nominated for the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame, as part of International Women’s Day, to recognise inspiring women within the community.
“If you focus on all the problems you have been through you may think you’ve already done enough, but you must keep on knowing there is something better you can do.”
The ten finalists will be published in The West Australian on Saturday.