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In Nairobi, Kenya, Clara was virtually alone in caring for 60 orphans, doing odd jobs for wealthier families and running a hand operated laundry business to earn enough income to provide for food, clothing, shelter, and education.
An immigrant from Tanzania and a former orphaned child herself, Clara’s faith in God allowed her to trust that she could care for these children in a country where over 7.9 million people (16% of the population) live in extreme poverty, making less than $1.90 per day.
In 2022, Clara’s self-made orphanage was voted “Role Model Orphanage” out of 300 orphanages in Nairobi. But even though she was doing a superior job, the orphanage could only afford one meal of porridge per day per child.
When End Poverty Now was asked to help Clara, she was suffering stress migraines and ulcers, poor nutrition, and many sleep-deprived nights. Her government case worker was pressuring her to have sex, and she had recently rescued two infants that had been left in a trash pile. Her doctor was so concerned about burnout that they told her she needed to take a break from her work.
HOW WE HELPED
After listening to Clara’s situation, End Poverty Now identified several key areas that would ease her burden while maximizing the impact she could have on her orphans.
We provided direct financial support so that she could focus on leadership instead of doing laundry, and also helped her hire staff to care for the children. Then, we helped her start three businesses to provide sustainable revenue for the orphanage: a taxi, a cybercafe, and an office with a Kenyan version of Western Union. These businesses are operated by some of the young adults who used to be orphans in her care. We also paid for medical services for severely ill children in the orphanage, and paid for the preparation and filing of documents for her to become a citizen of Kenya so she can open bank accounts and utilize other important services.
The result: Clara is on her way to becoming financially independent, able to keep herself from extreme burnout, and is able to expand her work to care for even more orphaned children. The ultimate goal is to help her foster friendships with high-level government contacts to influence policy and programs to protect the 3 million orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya.