Japeth was just 8 years old when he became a street child in Kenya. This is his story:
“My parents were farmers but when my father started drinking he became more and more violent – he had turned into a monster. There was no money to pay school fees and so my sister, older brother and I couldn’t go to school anymore. One day, my father beat my mother nearly to death. When my mother recovered, she and my sister left. That was the last time I saw them. A few months later my brother left to find work and never returned home. One morning my father said he was going out and would return later. After a few days I realized he was not coming back. I had no food and so I started stealing from the neighbors. The village leaders eventually banned me from the community. I went to look for my grandmother, only to find out that she has passed away 2 years ago. I was alone, with no home or family.
I ended up joining a small group of street kids. We would spend most of our time robbing people and doing odd jobs for small amounts of money. Glue was something that we couldn’t do without. We would place it at the bottom of a plastic bottle and sniff it all day. It would help us not to feel so hungry and it kept us awake. After a year in this life, I found my brother and joined his gang. I learned how to make more money and before long I had cash in my pocket and was able to have 2 meals a day. I moved to a different town and continued to collect things to sell until one morning I woke to find all my things were gone – stolen. I had to start again. I needed my brother to help me. I tried to find him but learned that 4 boys were recently killed by a mob – my brother was one of them. I was shocked and sat down, confused as to what to do now.
I decided to go back to the markets where I used to do odd jobs for money. This is where I met Monica. She seemed to know I was in trouble and needed someone to watch out for me so she brought me food every morning when she arrived at the markets. She was so good to me and even brought me clothes and encouraged me to take a bath. After some time, Monica invited me to come and stay with her at her home. This was very difficult for me at the beginning because it had been many years since I was part of a family. I tried to find out where my sister was but I was told she was found dead and her body had been dumped into the river.
Now I have a sister and a mother who care about me. I am back in school and will be ready to start grade 8 soon. I finally have a family again”.
Monica joined the Captivating Foster Family Loans Program so she could build her market business to be able to support Japeth and send him to school.
Left to right – Monica, Monica’s Daughter and Japeth
Little Joel became an orphan when his mother passed away but was recently adopted by his step grandmother, Nyanchoka. He is four years old and is expected to start school next year. Nyanchoka has been living alone since her husband died. Before Joel came into her home, she spent most of her time at her small tea farm, just waiting for the end of the day, then go home to her lonely house.
In celebration of International Women's Day (March 8), we recognize Gladys and the many other women just like her who have amazing stories of endurance, empowerment, and hope. With the help of the Foster Family Loan's Program in Kenya, she has grown her small fire-wood business to sell second-hand clothes around the community. This is an important step for her to provide for herself and her new-found family.
As a toddler, Michael was found abandoned near an orphanage entrance one morning. The workers took him in and gave him food and shelter. Michael stayed there til the age of three. This is when Venice enters his world. Venice and her husband tried for five years to have a child but were not able. They decided to adopt an orphan who needed a family, so they visited the orphanage and that's when they met Michael. They knew right then that Michael was meant to be theirs.
Jared's mother enjoyed drinking and also gave the brew to her little boy. Often, the villagers would find the mother very drunk and little Jared sleeping in the cold. Jared would often get sick and almost died a few times. Finally, Jared's mother couldn't take care of him any more so she decided to sell Jared to one of her customers. Jared was sold for Kshs. 450 (US$4).