Never Too Late for Transformation

Gem Village, Kenya


Gem Village was badly wounded by poverty but is now in the healing process. At one time, poverty had pushed the village so far that many villagers had no option but to pursue illicit brewing and prostitution, just to feed their families. With this came an outbreak of HIV/AIDS, with many children being born HIV positive. Many children were forced to drop out of school, and they too engaged in dangerous behaviors. Often times, this resulted in children dying.


GHNI has brought help and hope to Gem Village. Lasting and sustainable solutions are being used to correct issues and stop the trends towards poverty and despair. Orphans now have a better quality of life and students who once dropped out of school are now attending capacity-building centers. Adults who had been idle and dependent are being coached towards prosperity. Most adults are now receiving microloans to help them generate their own income.


Isabella, now 21, was born and raised in Gem. When she was 10-years-old, her dad died in the family home when it was torched in a tribal clash. All of the family’s possessions were burned, as well, and they had no income because her father was the breadwinner. Her father’s parents sold the land that they were on and kicked Isabella, her brother, and her mom out. They had no place to call home. Her mom rented a very cheap mud hut and did all she could to see her children eat and drink. After time, her mom began making illicit brew and began prostitution, getting drunk with her many male customers. The mom eventually fell ill with HIV/AIDS and died when Isabella was 14-years-old and her younger brother was seven. After time, Isabella was out of school and impregnated by a man who claimed he would support her, only to find him leave when she became pregnant. She found herself alone and without anyone to turn to. She wanted to commit suicide to end her miserable life and the life of her unborn child. As much as she despised her mom’s lifestyle, she began to understand that life can twist and drive you to do the things you detest most.


A good Samaritan named Madam Catherine stepped in at the right time. She met Madam Catherine at the kindergarten where her brother went to school. Madam Catherine took her in and has Isabella do house work and help cook for the children in school. After she delivered her baby, Isabella was introduced to GHNI and life started to really change. She was enrolled at the sewing center, which rehabilitates young women like Isabella who have come from similar and even worse circumstances. She is the best student in the class and is already making dresses and selling them to earn income to raise her child. She will soon be graduating and issued a sewing machine. She feels blessed that she was given essential knowledge and skills to begin living a self-sustaining life. She is so grateful for the opportunities she has had to transform her life and feels hopeful about the future.


GHNI National Field Leader