Last week, I continued with home visits to the potential scholars to see and experience their life after their daily work at the Dandora dumpsite. Families working in the dumpsite have become my friends, and they all welcomed me warmly. Sarah and her children are among them.

Sarah is a 32-year-old widow and a mother of three. She had been working in the dumpsite before she fell ill. Her husband passed on after a short illness leaving her with a burden of raising the children. Her business involved traversing the dumpsite in search of items that could be recycled (mainly waste plastics and electronics) to sell and earn a living. She is known by her friends as a happy and hardworking woman.

However, at the age of 30, she was forced to stop working after being diagnosed with diabetes and losing her eyesight. She also contracted tuberculosis and is currently battling persistent diarrhea. But Sarah’s desire to see a bright future for her children is her motivation to fight on.

Sarah (above) and her sons, Marcus and Stephen, speaking to our team (below).

“I wake up at 5:00 am, check if my mum is still alive and chat with her, conduct my daily routine, prepare myself, and hurry to school. In the evening after school, I head straight to the dumpsite where I make an average of 150 shillings (about one U.S. dollar). Sometimes I return home empty-handed. If that happens, I am forced to skip school the next day and spend it at the dump site. At our home, dinner is the only meal we can afford, but there are times we sleep hungry.”

His brother, Stephen, 11, added, “My brother and I are always in and out of school due to lack of school fees. My dream is to become a pilot when I grow up. I wish I could get a chance to enroll in a boarding school to keep away from the life at the dump site. I pray my mum will get well and leave her bed as before.”

On behalf of Sarah, I extend an invitation to all of my fellow Samaritans to contribute towards scholarships that will assist Marcus and Stephen in pursuing their dreams.

Esther Muhia, Kenya Country Director

Esther was appointed as IntSam’s Kenya Country Director in April 2023. Her education is in sociology, communication, and gender and development studies. She has worked in several leadership roles in Nairobi, Kenya, including at the Catholic Medical Mission Board. She has worked with NGOs, community and global organizations, with a record of successfully implementing grants from donors from UN Women to UNICEF.

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