The Story of Monica Mwongeli

Hi, my name is Monica Mwongeli and am a student at Kenyatta university pursing a degree in Nursing through the funding from Tuungane Community Foundation. Growing up, I remember visiting the local clinic on days medical officers from Nairobi would visit just to see the nurses. Back then, the simple white dresses with crisp rubber shoes the nurses wore symbolized the epitome of achievement and importance. I dreamt of one day becoming a nurse and working in a big hospital like Kenyatta National Hospital. At the time, things at home were okay and my dreams of becoming a nurse did not seem so farfetched. See, I am the second born in a family of five children between two living parents. In the first 8 years of my life, both my parents had stable sources of income with my mother working odd jobs in local farms and my father working for a huge factory. My parents were both very caring and I enjoyed spending time with my siblings after school. However, life happened and our family’s bubble was busted by one tragedy after another. It all begun when my father had an argument at work with one of his colleagues. The […]

Ellis’ Lighted Path

In 2007, Kenya experienced one of the worst post-election violence in the country’s history. Many lives were lost and many more destroyed. At the center of the chaos, children were separated from their families with some ending up on the streets. Among the many Kenyan families whose lives where forever changed, was the Liyala household. The economic consequences of the post-election violence left Mama Phoebe and her husband Liyala at crossroads. The loss of sources of income worsened the relationship between the couple and by 2009, domestic violence and poverty had taken a toll on Mama Phoebe who was forced to make a decision any mother would struggle with, giving up her children to live in a children home located in Kayole slums. Heartbroken, Ellis Liyala and his little brothers Maxwell Ouna and Nicolas Biboh left the rest of their family members to begin a new life with strangers who ultimately became family. Life at the home was comfortable as would be in a children home. However, the local authorities started to harass the owners of the home demanding illegal payouts which forced the founders to relocate the home to a rural town located on the Western side of the […]

Maureen’s family – Kwa Njenga LIFT community, June update

What would it feel like to go without food for days and to also see your children going hungry? Maureen’s (pictured above, with her mother) family, who are supported by our LIFT program, deal with hunger every day in Kwa Njenga, a large urban slum in Nairobi. Sometimes, Maureen and her sister borrow food from the neighbors in order to have just one meal per day. The family also confronts a lack of clean water, the threat of theft (which is widespread in the slum), and poor dirt roads that become muddy in the rainy season. Maureen’s parents struggle to provide income for the family through causal (short-term) labor. Maureen’s mother has tried to improve the family’s situation by selling bread and porridge in the slum when she can. Her enterprising spirit helps to keep the family afloat and together. The family is grateful for LIFT funds, which have allowed them to send Maureen’s younger sister, Esther, to school and to purchase school uniforms for the girls. Education is one worry that they can cross off their long list. They still have a need for: food security, better health care, and funds for the mother to start a small business. […]

Eugene’s family – Umoja LIFT community update, June

What would it be like to grow up with your brothers living in a one-room home? That’s what Eugene (pictured above, at left, outside the family home with his mother and younger brother), who receives support from our LIFT program, experiences every day in the urban area of Umoja, in Nairobi. The uncertainty of this boy’s life has led him to want to be a police officer one day, so that he can help “care for his nation.” Eugene’s older brother attends high school, and his younger brother is just 8 months old. His father works doing odd jobs at a school in Nairobi; the father’s wages are the sole support for the family. Eugene’s father and mother are from western Kenya; they migrated to Nairobi. The family’s main challenges are obtaining drinking water – since their tap water is too salty to drink – and finding long-term employment. Competition for stable jobs in Nairobi is very high. They also would like to improve their housing situation. Since receiving LIFT funds, the family now can divert resources to pay the eldest son’s fees for high school and to meet the family’s medical needs. They are grateful for the support. Eugene […]

Kibingoti LIFT community, March update

8-year-old Tamasha’s family – one of our LIFT families in Kibingoti – doesn’t worry as much about her future now that her school fees are paid. Tamasha lives with her 5 older brothers and parents in rural Kahuhoini village, where they struggle to put food on the table once each day and get clean water for daily needs. As you can see from the pictures our staff took on their visit with Tamasha’s family, creeks and roads become muddy when it rains, making both travel and collection of clean water even more difficult. Tamasha’s mother supports the entire family through short-term, insecure work in more affluent towns, nearby. It is only through income from the mother’s unpredictable employment, that the family is able to eat their only meal each day. Tamasha’s father is an absentee dad. Tamasha wants to be a teacher some day, so that she can help other kids. She enjoys playing with her friends at school. Her favorite subjects are math and English. At home, she helps her mother with household chores like collecting firewood, fetching water from a nearby stream, and washing dishes. She wonders how children in America study for school. LIFT sponsors are helping families […]