Below you will find touching stories of some of our students who have successfully gone through our program, and what they are currently doing.
For mark, he was taken into the Homabay children home back in 1981 following the death of his mother when he was just a few months old. The mother died as a result of delivery complications that were as a result of the fact that she delivered at home.
Infant mark was put under the baby care for a year then he was taken back to his father. The social workers from the project would visit him and the family from time to time just to make sure that he was well.
When mark was ten years old, his father died. He was left under the care of the grandparents. Lacking proper care and school support, Mark dropped out of school in class five a year after the death of his father.
He later sought the help of the project. Since he could not go back to formal school, he opted to do a vocational training in Carpentry and wood work. In 2005, he completed his training having supported by the project. To help him start off, the project would give him opportunity to work at the home as a casual worker. He later started to repair and make the school desk within the school run also by the project. Since then, he is working at the Homabay children home as a carpenter for the school.
Today mark is married and two children, a girl who is seven year and a boy who is five years. With the income he gets from his work, his children are in school and he is happy. Though Mark did not complete his primary education, he is keen to see that his family gets the best education he never had.
This desire has prompted him to send back his wife to school. The wife had dropped out after completing her primary education but could not proceed to secondary due lack of fees and so she opted to get married. But now Mark has taken her back to school and next year she will sit for her end of secondary exams. She desires to be a police woman.
To see that with only a monthly income of 80 Euros, Mark has turned his life around and is indeed encouraging. He is determined and focused. He is so grateful of the support he received from the project, first by ensuring that he lived after the death of his mother and for supporting him to get the vocational skills in carpentry that today has ensured that he can take care of his family, provide for them and be the man of the house.
Even though he is saddened by the fact that the project is ending, he is grateful that for the time the project was there, many children have benefited and many lives has been changed and touched. He is grateful to all those people who have been involved in supporting the work in Homabay.
Edison came from very poor background. His father was the main bread winner for the family and when he died, the mother could barely provide for the family. Meeting the requirements for child sponsorship, Edison was taken into the child sponsorship program in the year 2001 when he was in class five
The project took him to school and educated him in primary, secondary and college. After finishing his secondary education, he enrolled in a college where he trained as a primary school teacher. After his training, he taught in the project academy for three years before he was taken in by the government. He is urgently a deputy head teacher and is going on well with his life
Benjamin was a total orphan when he was enrolled in the child sponsorship programme back in 1999. At that time he was in class three. The project facilitated him through his primary and secondary education. He sat for his end of secondary exams in the year 2007 and passed with a grade of B plus. He joined university where he trained a secondary school teacher with the support of the project
During his school days, the project would provide him with school learning materials such as books and pens. He was also provided with uniform and the project paid for his tuition fees. All these ensured that he stayed in school and concentrated in his studies and this he was able to do well in the exams and pass.
Today, he is employed and is in charge of his own life, and very comfortable.
Holly and Isaac Karolla
Holly and Isaac were abandoned by their parents as infants. They were rescued and brought to the children’s home by the government department of children to be taken care of. As such they never knew their biological parents
Growing up in the orphanage, they were adopted by a Finnish family. The adoption followed the govevernmant regulations and so they became Finnish citizens. Though now grownups, they are living their lives in Finland
What would have been the fate of Isaac and Holy if the Homabay children’s home was not in existence? We cannot tell but we can say that these two are alive today because of the project.
Eric comes from a poor family. When he was taken into the programme back in the year 1998, his father had died and his mother could not take care of him and his other three siblings. At the time he was in class seven.
It was a big relief for the family when Eric got the sponsorship through the project. To show his appreciation for the project, he would work at the children home during weekends when he was not in school. He would clean the compound and do some other manual work within the home.
Then his mother died in the year 2000 leaving him a total orphan. Their extended family turned against them and life became very unbearable! Faced with the challenge of having to take care of his younger siblings, Eric opted to drop out of school to find work to do to support him and take care for his four younger siblings.
In 2002, he went for a one year course in tailoring and dress making. After completing the training, the project supported him to start a tailoring shop within Homabay town. Project paid for the house he was living in, bought him household items to start off; paid six months’ rent for his business premises and bought him sewing machines as well as the capital he needed for his tailoring business. At the same time, he was given a tender by the project to be the one making for the project school their school uniforms. This was a big relief for Eric because now he started to have steady and regular income.
At this time, their rural house had fallen down. The project supported Erick to build a semi-permanent house so that he and his siblings could have a better place to live. Project provided iron sheets for the roofing.
In the year 2006, Eric married and he now has a family of his own. He has been able to expand his tailoring business over the time. Today Eric is a successful businessman. Apart from the tailoring shop, he has formed his own construction company and has been getting tenders to do work for the country government.
After being supported by the project, Eric has taken good care of his other siblings. He has taken them to school. His other brother, Kenneth Ouma is a trained Primary school teacher.
As he narrated to us his story, he concluded by saying, “to me the project was a God sent. I don’t know where I would be if it were not for the support of the project. Today I am Eric because of the Homabay Children child sponsorship project”.
Kenneth is a brother to Eric Odhiambo. When Eric decided to not to proceed with his studies, the project took his brother, Kenneth into the child sponsorship programme. Born in 1988, Kenneth was enrolled into the programme back in the year 2004.
In 2010, he did his end of primary education and then proceeded to secondary school where he attained grade C plus. He later joined Teacher Training College and trained as a primary school teacher graduating in the year 2016. This was possible through the project and also from the support of his brother Eric who had benefited from the project.
Kevin is the father of Catherine, one of the beneficiaries of the child sponsorship programme. Kevin is a trained tailor whose life was going well until he lost all during the 2007 post-election violence that affected the country following disputed presidential election
At the time, Kevin and his family were based in Eldoret. He had a tailoring shop and business that was doing well. Due to the violence that erupted, Kevin had to run back to his native home of Homabay as an internally displace person. He lost his shop, goods and everything in the violence. But he was lucky that he escaped alive as many people we killed that time.
As if the tragedy of being displaced was not enough, Kevin lost his wife leaving him to care for their 4 year old daughter. With no income and livelihood, it was very difficult for him. It was at this time that Catherine, born in the year 2003 was taken in the child sponsorship programme.
The project took over providing the schooling needs of Catherine (paid for her tuition fees, uniform, learning materials). This was a big relief to Kevin. To make a living, Kevin started farming local vegetables in the year 2009. Without proper farming skills, he could not earn much. Then in the year 2012, he was trained through the project on modern farming techniques
This was the turning point in his farming life. With the new and better skills, he could produce four times what he used to produce before in his farm. He also started farming water melons which gave better returns than the vegetables. His income started to improve and he could take better care of Catherine.
Then in the year 2014, through the project they started the Homabay Orphans caretaker self-help group. The group started with 11 members. Membership was drawn among those whose children were in the sponsorship programme. Kevin’s child, Catherine was been taken into the program in the year 2010.
The group started table banking (saving and loaning). After saving, Kevin was able to take a loan from the group scheme and purchased a second hand motor bike. He used to motorbike to run a motorcycle taxi locally called bodaboda. The motorcycle taxi bring him a daily income of 3 Euros. After repaying the loan, he took another loan and bought the second motorcycle. Today he earns 8 Euros a day from the motorcycles.
He has also been able to expand and improve his farming activities that now earn him 1,000 euros a year. His life has been turned around due to the support of the project. Catherine is going to sit for her end of primary education exams and is hoping to pass the go to secondary school.
Though her sponsorship is coming to an end this year (due to the fact that project is ending), Kevin is not worried about the further education of his daughter. He says, “With the skills I have learned through the project, I will be able to grow my farming and motorcycle businesses. From these, I will get income to further educated my children” (he is since remarried and have three other children)
He also says that from the group he will be able to save and borrow monies that he can use to take Catherine to school. Kevin feels empowered and is so grateful for the project.
Winnie’s mother died just a few days after she was born back in 1992 due to complications related to delivery. As such, Winnie was taken into the orphanage as when she was just a few days old. She was part of the project for 20 years, leaving in 2012 after completing her secondary schooling. Through the project, she was able to get all the school support she needed. She received care form the baby home, was raised in the orphanage and was educated through primary and secondary schooling.
Winnie is currently a third year student at Kenyatta University doing a degree course, Bachelor of commerce specializing in finance. She only has fond memories of the project. She says, “The project was there for me when I was in need, I did not have the privilege to see my mother but those social workers at the orphanage were all I had. The project ensured I lived and also supported me through schooling- provided me with school learning materials and also paid my tuition fees, I am so grateful”.
She still remembers the gifts her and the family would receive from the project. She tells us that the gifts included items such as clothes, blankets and sometimes books. Through the project, Winnie says she learned a lot of life skills. Occasionally the project would organize for camps during school holidays where they were taught skills that has helped her be a better person. During Christmas, she and others would receive gifts and also eat together; and she felt loved and cared for.
Though the project did not support her university education (she left the programme after finishing her secondary schooling); Winnie is glad that the project has impacted positively her life. She would wish the project to continue so that other needy children like her can be helped.
Family of Damaris Atieno
Damaris is a widow left to take care of five children. When her husband passed on in the year 2005, Damaris had a lot of challenges providing for the family. Being a widow and poor, it was a nightmare to properly care for the children and her.
Due to their situation, in the year 2010 the project enrolled into the children sponsorship programme three of Damaris children: Joshua Ouma, Millicent Auma and Gordon Odiwuor. Millicent is currently in class five and Gordon will be sitting for his end of primary exams in November, this year.
Joshua Ouma is the eldest of Damaris children. Born in 1997, he sat for his end of primary education exams in the year 2015 but opted not to continue to secondary school due to his age. He was not much gifted in formal learning and so he chose to go for a vocational training. In 2016, he enrolled to train as a gas welder. The project supported his vocational training and today he has learned the skill and is already working as a gas welder earning and income of at least 3 Euros a day. Joshua wants to own his own gas cylinder so he is saving most of his earning towards this.
At the beginning of this year, Joshua was concluded from the sponsorship programme but he is very grateful. He says that today he is able to ear the three euros a day due to the project.
The mother is also very grateful for the project for supporting three of her five children. But that is not all. Between the year 2010 and 2014, the project would meet all her three children’s school fee needs. But in 2014, the project changed its approach and started to equip Damaris with the skills that would enable her to be the one proving for her family and not the project.
First, together with other families, they were trained and equipped with skills to run and manage small business. After the training Damaris started to sell dagger at the local market. Later on, the project brought ten families together into a self-help group and they started village saving and loaning. Every week the group of ten would meet and bring their saving together. But instead of taking the saving to the bank, they would give the whole amount out as loans to those who needed the money. The loan would be repaid with a 10% interest.
Damaris tells us that though this, she has been able to increase her capital for her small business and that her business is growing and she is happy. Her daily income has improved and with that she is able ale to take to school her two other children not supported by the project. Damaris says that the project “has opened my eyes and I am very grateful” asked to say some of the good things the project has done for her, she responded, “project has supported the education of my three children and also they have taken Joshua to the vocational training, project has helped me improve my house by giving me the iron sheets I used in this house. The project has given me varies training and today, I can run my business better because of the skills I have learned”. Then she adds, “through this self-help group of which I am the chairlady, we are able to support and stand with one another, we are like a small family and we feel we belong”, she concludes.
Rose Oginde/Elizabeth Atieno
Rose comes from Gem village which is almost 20 miles from Homabay town. She has three children and is a widow for her husband died in the year 2000. Being a widow and poor she could not educate her children let alone provide for their basic needs.
Her children dropped out of school and that is how she came into contact with the project. One of her daughters, Elizabeth Atieno met a social worker from Homabay project who was visiting some families in her village. Elizabeth was not in school yet it was school day. Upon enquiring why she was not in school, the social worker came to learn of her situation, that she had not been in school for two weeks due to lack of school fees.
That was how Elizabeth became part of the child sponsorship programme in the year 2006. Once taken by the project, Elizabeth and her siblings were facilitated to go back to school. From there, she would get school support such as books, tuition, uniform and pens. The family also received food support such as cereals and cooking oil from time to time especially around Christmas.
Elizabeth did her end of primary exams in the year 2007, passed and joined secondary school. The project continued to support her education and in 2011 she sat for her end of secondary education exams and again passed having scored grade C plus. She later joined a teacher training college and graduated in 2015 as a primary school teacher.
In the year 2014, Elizabeth’s mother and 15 other families from the village whose children were being sponsored were encouraged to form a self-help group. With the project changing its strategy from relief to development, it was felt that through the self-help group, the members would raise their standard of living.
The group formed was trained on entrepreneurship, small business management and conservation farming skills. The group was formed a village saving and leaning association. The members would save on a weekly basis and from these saving, they were able to raise capital to also loan among themselves through the table banking concept
Today, the group of 15 had managed to save up to 2,000 euros. Rose tells that she borrowed a loan of 100 Euros which she used to make some bricks for sale. Within a month, she made a profit of 200 Euros which she used to pay the school fees of her other children not in the programme.
For Rose, the project turned around her life for better. At a time she had lost hope and her children had dropped out of school, the project came to her rescue. Then the project has given her skills to generate income. She is now self-reliant and happy.
Joseph was born in 1998 to a single mother and as such do not know his father. When his mother died in the year 2003, he and his brother Joshua were left in the care of the aging maternal grandmother. Joseph was only 5 years old then. His grandmother struggled to provided and care for them. Many a times they went without food and life was hard
Due to the hard situation at home, Joseph was lured to go and stay with a well-wisher but on the condition that he would also be the herd’s boy when he was not in school. With little option, joseph agreed and so became a part time heard boy for three years.
In 2005, he left being a herds boy and went back to stay with the grandmother. It was at this time that Joseph was taken into the child sponsorship and his life started improving. With the support from the project, the family started to receive food ratios. He also was now in school full time as his tuition and other school needs were provide by the project.
In 2008, his grandmother also died and the world almost came to an end for Joseph. With the grandmother gone, Joseph became the head of the family, looking after his younger brother. They lived in the old house that used to be his grandmothers. They would fend for food from relatives and well wisher
Life being unbearable, his younger brother dropped out of school and ran away from home. But joseph persevered and continued his schooling sitting for the end of primary education exams in the year 2013, scoring 291 marks out of possible 500.
Having passed, he joined a day secondary school. He would go to school and come back to his late grandmother’s home in the evening. During this time, he received a lot of support and encouragement from the Homabay CSP project. The project workers would visit him occasionally and encourage him.
His uncle also started supporting him by paying part of the school fees. This year (2017), joseph is going to sit for his end of secondary school exams in November and he is confident of passing and joining university or college.
As Joseph was narrating his life and story, he never stopped to smile. From his smile it is difficult to understand where he draw’s so much joy despite the life he is going through. He is happy and full of life and hope for better things in the future.
Joseph wants to become a teacher. He is grateful for all the support that he has received through the project. He says, “If it were not for the support of the project, I would not be here today in school and preparing for my final exams! Thank you and may you continue to reach out for children in need as me! “He concludes with a smile.
Ndole Self-help group
Ndole village is located in area 4 – Rachuonyo which is about 40 miles from Homabay town. The village is located along Lake Victoria hence the main economic activity is fishing. The village has been affected by high prevalence of HIV due to its proximity to the lake.
Due to HIV, many children had been left as orphans. Most of them were under the care of their aging grandparents. Work in the village started back in the year 2000 with a total of 16 children benefiting from the child sponsorship programme.
Today, only three children are still being supported from this village. The rest have graduated and are out of the programme. However, despite that fact that most of the children that used to be supported are out of the programme, the guardians are still working together through their self-help group called Kakobi-ndhole self-help group. This group is composed of 11 members. The main activity of the group is village banking (village saving and loaning).
The group started in the year 2011 with 14 members. Their aim was to come together, save and from their savings, accumulate capital that they could loan among themselves at an affordable interest. The group meets two times a month. During these meetings, members save and get loans.
According to the group, the group has ensured that they maintain contact despite the fact that most of the children that made them come together are not adults and on their own. Through the group, members are able to save. The pressure of group dynamics is a motivating factor for the members to save.
Through the groups, members have been able to access cheap loans. They have used the loans to boost their businesses thus increasing their family income and livelihood. In addition, members are able to borrow from their group and pay tuition fees for their children. As such, the members no longer rely from Homabay project to support their children education.
The group has thus empowered the members to be independent. This has increased their self-worth as they are the ones currently meeting the needs of their children. Joseph, the chairperson of the group has this to say, “The self-help group had been of great benefit to me. Before, I used to rely entirely on the monies I was getting from the Homabay child sponsorship to take my grandchildren to school. Since the group started, I have been able to save through the group. When today I have needs for my grandchild, I will take the savings to meet the need. In addition, I am able to get loan from the group to pay for my child’s fees”
For Beatrice, the group is more than a family. She says life was very difficult when she became a widow following the death of her husband. She struggled to care for the five children left with her. Homabay project took Sheryl into the sponsorship program. She has learned a lot of things through the project such as how to manage small business. Through the business, she has been able to meet the needs of her children. She got loan from the group which enabled her to boost her income base.
Homabay project trained the group on entrepreneurial skills and also on small businesses management. The project also gave the some capital to boost their table banking scheme. Today, the group’s saving stand at 2,000 euros.
Current status of some of the children that were sponsored from Ndole village
Lucky Okoth: is a 2nd year at the university and is out of the programme. His grandmother, Magdaline Agola is member of the self-help group
Elizabeth Adhiambo: Elizabeth mother died in 1989 during child birth and she was taken into the Homabay orphanage where she stayed for three year until 1992 when she was taken back to her family. She continued to be supported until 2010. In 2010 while in form 2 (secondary) she got pregnant and so dropped out of school and programme. She is currently married and had two children. Her uncle, Joseph is chairperson of the self-help group.
Mercy Adhiambo: Mercy was part of the child sponsorship program until the year 2010 when she dropped out of school while still in primary school, class 7. She is currently married and having two children of her own. Her guardian, Jael Anyango is member of the self-help group.
Dorah Achieng: Dorah was a slow learner. She repeated classes several time and with time got discouraged and dropped out of school while in primary class 7. She is currently married with one child. Moses, who is an uncle is member of the group.
Benson Obudho: benefited from the project through child sponsorship programme. Project supported his schooling. After finishing his primary education, he could no proceed to secondary. He opted to do a vocational course as a mechanic but could not finish. He is currently a motorcycle taxi driver.
Diana Adhiambo: is currently married. Her guardian, Janet is member of the group.
Brenda Awuor: Brenda is a total orphan left under the care of her grandparents following the death of her parents. She is currently in class 8 and will be sitting for her end of primary exams in November. Angeline her grandmother is member of the self-help group.
Loraine Adhiambo: She is in class 6 but out of the programme. Her mother, Teresa is the treasurer of the self-help group.
Sheryl Amondi Odongo: Sheryl is in her final year of secondary education. She has benefited from school support and will be out of the programme end of this year (2017). Her guardian, Beatrice Akinyi is secretary to the self-help group.