Mary* is a mother of two children living in Kayole, Nairobi, and was referred to the MWENDO project through the Eastern Deanery AIDS Relief Program (EDARP) in Komarock for enrollment in September 2019.
Her story is an all too familiar one. She is a survivor of Gender-Based Violence and a person living with HIV. She courageously walked out of an abusive marriage in 2012 with nothing but the clothes on her back. She started doing odd jobs such as washing clothes to support herself and her son and daughter but began losing hope that her situation would improve.
After enrolling in the MWENDO project, her life changed significantly. She joined a table banking group which has helped her save money, and through business grants has grown her fruits and vegetables stall. She still continues doing odd jobs, but only to supplement the income she receives from her business and pay for her children’s school fees. The MWENDO Project also pays for her health insurance (NHIF), which has helped her adhere to treatment.
“I had lost hope, but MWENDO helped me through everything. I pray for blessings, for my children to complete school, and for my business to continue growing. One day I want to build a house where my children and I can call home,” she says.
A MWENDO beneficiary at her green grocery stall in Kayole, Nairobi
She was also fortunate to receive cash transfers at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic from GiveDirectly, which partners with the MWENDO project through HOPE worldwide Kenya to support low-income households with basic upkeep such as food and rent.
Mary’s story is proof that even when we are down, we should never give up, for there is light at the end of the tunnel.
*Not her real name
*MWENDO Project is a USAID-funded project through sub-grant from Catholic Relief Services that supports Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) to address the social determinants of health to improve the well-being of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.
*GiveDirectly is a US-based not-for-profit organization operating in East Africa that helps families living in extreme poverty by making unconditional cash transfers via mobile phones.