Widows keep kids in school in rural Kenya

By February 27, 2023

Kenya (MNN) — Pandemic repercussions, inflation, and drought deal a crippling blow to education in rural Kenya. In Kajiado County, at least 6,000 students are missing from primary and secondary schools.

Many parents cannot afford school-related costs. Joy Mueller of Kenya Hope explains that, typically, parents will “take a goat to market, sell it, and pay for the school fees. They don’t use bank accounts like we do.”

Countless families have lost everything in recent years. “Kenya has had four consecutive failed rainy seasons, which has been devastating. So many animals have died because there’s no pasture land,” Mueller says.

At the same time, “there is terrible inflation,” she continues.

“Prices have gone up, but their wages have not. Food prices have doubled in the last year.”

Widows and children sponsored through Kenya Hope can remove one cost from their list – school uniforms. “In Kenya, all the kids wear uniforms. It’s not something [where] you walk in the store and say, ‘Oh, I need that in size [five].’ They’re all done by tailors,” Mueller says.

(Photos courtesy of Kenya Hope)

With training from Kenya Hope, widows make all the school uniforms for sponsored children. More about that here. Plus, widows meet the God of the Bible through local church partners.

“This has been a real boost for our widows. They are just knocking it out of the park with their sewing ability and the level of perfection [they’ve reached],” Mueller says.

“Other people now are coming to them and saying, ‘Hey, can you sew my uniform for my child?’”

Life change begins through sponsorship. As soon as a widow is sponsored, she starts a 24-month course with food assistance, livestock (goats), skills training, and Bible instruction.

“Over 180 women are either currently in the program or have graduated. Each of those women who graduated is now totally supporting their families [through] the skills we have taught them,” Mueller says.

“It’s so exciting to see how they’ve been empowered and the dignity they’re moving forward in.”



Header and story images courtesy of Kenya Hope.

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