Machakos home that gives vulnerable girls hope - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 12 October 2019

Machakos home that gives vulnerable girls hope

Mully Children’s Family
In the dry hills and valleys of Yatta constituency in Machakos County lies a ray of hope for young vulnerable girls.
From the intense laughter and bright smiles on the faces of the girls — who range from infancy to 20 years old — one cannot tell the pain and neglect that has defined their lives.
Having lost hope in life, the girls found solace and refuge at Mully Children’s Family (MCF), where they learn skills in entrepreneurship that will turn their lives around. These are the journeys of three such girls.
All her life, 19-year-old Faith Achieng’ has had one desire — to go to school. But an uncaring stepfather and a poor mother denied her the chance.
“I used to chop firewood, work on farms, wash people’s clothes and fetch water to pay for my school fees,” she says. “But the chores did not bring in much, an hence I resorted to working at a nightclub on weekends.”
The 12-year-old was too young to start working, much less at a nightclub, but her employers did not seem to mind.
“The owner at the club wanted me to wear only short, tight skirts and vests that I did not like. After several weeks the owner wanted me to work on weekdays because I attracted a lot of customers.”
When the nightclub job began interfering with her education, Acheing’ stopped working and started a relationship with a man who had promised to take care of her and pay her school fees, only for him to abandon her after she became pregnant.
It was at this point that she lost all hope, dropped out of school and was shunned by the community. “Life was not easy. I had no food and people shunned me because I was not good company for their children,” she says.
Joining MCF, she says, has changed her life as she has learnt skills that could help her start a business. “They take care of everything for me. I have clothes, a place to sleep, food for my daughter, me, and access to healthcare and education. I hope that one day I will be the best dressmaker in the world.”
Ann Wanjiku, 22, was also neglected by her parents. “Life at home was initially fine,” she says. “We had land and animals, but when I was in Standard Two in 2004 things started going wrong. We lost everything and my parents had a lot of conflicts.”
“My mother left to work as a househelp in Nairobi, not caring whether we ate or went to school. Later, my sister followed her. Back at home, my father would leave in the morning, return at night and go to bed. I often slept hungry.”
Wanjiku moved in with her grandmother, who treated her as badly as her father. “I decided to go back to my father’s home. I walked all the way from Kinangop through Ol Kalau to Nakuru.”
Her father let her stay with him on condition that she took care of her own needs.
Wanjiku did odd farm jobs to raise money for her upkeep and school fees, managing to sit for KCPE. She then moved to Nairobi, where her sister introduced her to prostitution in Kayole.
She did this for two months before a woman took her in as a househelp. “She initially treated me well, but later started bringing men to her house and telling them that they could have me too. That is when I left.”
She did odd jobs for the next four years and paid her way through high school. Then her aunt rescued her from the ordeal and took her to MCF, where she has turned her life around.
Winnie Nekesa, on the other hand, has had her fair share of misfortunes. Her mother died in 2015, brother in 2006, uncle in 2007 and aunt in 2011.
As a result, the 21-year-old has no family to turn to. “I started working as a househelp and used the money to take care of my cousins,” she says.
A few months later, at 16, Nekesa realised that she was pregnant. “At first my boyfriend accepted responsibility but later became mean to me,” she says.
She had a difficult labour that required a C-section. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl but with it came a heavy bill.
Lady luck smiled on Nekesa when her doctor took pity on her and paid the medical bill.
However, mother and child struggled to find food and shelter. A referral by a friend led her and her two-month-old baby to MCF, where she now trains as a beautician.
Mully Children’s Family has for the past 30 years taken in girls like Achieng’, Wanjiku and Nekesa and given them a place to call home.
Mr Vincent Opiyo, senior programmes manager at MCF Yatta, says they have rehabilitated more than 13,000 children.
“We facilitate full transformation of rescued children and train them through formal and informal education,” he says.
“We offer tailoring, hairdressing, knitting and hospitality courses to complement formal education and equip them with skills for future self-reliance.”
The home is funded by Christian organisations and internal programmes and works closely with the county government.
Early this month, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana visited MCF projects in Yatta seeking to formalise their partnership.
Prof Kibwana and Dr Charles Mulli — the MCF founder — signed an MoU detailing areas of partnership and collaboration.
Prof Kibwana was accompanied by 20 street children from Emali who will be incorporated at the MCF Ndalani family.
Yatta sub-county children’s officer Constance Muasa says rescue efforts begin with house visits based on reports they receive from members of the community.
The children’s home has hosted over 3,000 children at its centres in Ndalani, Yatta, Kitale, Kilifi and Lodwar.

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