Mary and Johnie’s story
From Kisumu, Kenya
This is Mary and Johnie’s story, a mother and her eldest son living in Kisumu, Kenya. Without your support, Johnie would never have been able to go to school and may even have ended up on the streets.
“Our life has been so difficult. Sometimes we couldn’t afford to eat for a whole day. We would go hungry as our neighbours laughed at us. My children would cry for being hungry, but I couldn’t find them anything to eat.
I never used to be able to send Johnie to school. I never had the money for school fees or to buy school uniforms or books for my children. I used to hide Johnie inside the house because I feared my neighbours would see him, realise he is not going to school and report me to the police and that I would be arrested for not taking him to school. Life was really tough.”
It could have got even worse.
“Without the support life would have been very bad. Johnie could have ended up on the streets because I couldn’t provide for him. He could have started stealing, abusing drugs and getting into fights”
Thankfully, with your support, our local partner KUAP was able to reach out to Mary’s family to get them the support they needed.
In Kisumu, poverty and neglect are significant factors that push children to a life on the streets. Once on the streets, life is violent and short. Street children are the target of human trafficking and abuse. Without an education, they have little prospect of a better future. In Kisumu, we support out local partner, KUAP, to empower parents living in informal settlements to get their children back into mainstream education and prevent them from living on the streets. KUAP provides psychosocial support and rehabilitation to children who are already living on the streets and helps them reintegrate back into their homes.
“At first I was hostile but KUAP has made me change my attitude. I used to fight my husband as he couldn’t support us, but now I keep calm. I’ve started earning money through casual work like washing clothes and mopping.
I use some of the money to buy food for the children, but I save the rest. After saving up 500 Shillings (£3.80), I buy maize and sell it by the road.
The programme helped my child to get a chance to go to school. He first went to KUAP’s on-formal-education school where he could learn what he missed by not going to school before. Now he’s gone to a mainstream school! As well as a place at the school, Johnie has got the uniform that he needs. I am very happy for that.”
Johnie, now 17, is happy too. He told us: “Before, life was bad because I didn’t go to school and sometimes we couldn’t get anything to eat. But now my life is good because I am going to school like other children! I can read, do drama, play football and speak English!”