“One heart changed the path of my life.”Valentine – One Heart, Kenya
At only 3 years of age, Lucy was living alone with her siblings, taking care of her infant brother while her brother and sister, aged 7 and 5, went to find work and food. She is now at university studying to be a criminologist.This is her story
Mama Consoler survived 7 years of extreme abuse that resulted in three months of blindness and six months in hospital. Now, Consoler’s passion is to provide a safe place to call home for girls to ensure they don’t have to endure the same.
Every human being has a story. These are our stories of hope, and of transformation.learn about our people
Lucy started out life living with both of her biological parents, two older siblings and a baby brother. At the age of three however, her life took a terrible turn after her father was sentenced to six years prison for raping a minor. Lucy and her siblings lived with their mother for some time until she felt the burden of her circumstances so acutely that she decided to abandon her children.
“My brother was only seven years old when he had to play the role of father figure. My older sister, who was five, was forced to drop out of school and work with my brother to fend for our family. Sometimes they would labour in people’s farms, and since they were so young, the people they worked for would take advantage of them. Sometimes, when things were so tight and jobs were unavailable, they were forced to steal. Sometimes they were caught and beaten, other times they just got lucky. I was only three years old at the time but I had to look after my younger brother who was only one.
We were fortunate to receive assistance from the area chief who took up our case. One day a yellow truck drove into our compound and we were picked-up and brought to One Heart.
By the time I moved to One Heart I was four years old. It was 2009. I joined a welcoming family that never stopped growing. I formed special bonds with the other children who became my brothers and sisters. As any family does, we had both bright and dark days, but at least we always had each other. Through One Heart, education was a privilege offered to all of us. I gave my best, and am always aiming to make my future better.
I ultimately succeeded in my primary education and moved on to high school. With a lot of hard work I achieved a B in my end of high school examination and earned direct entry into university. I’m now hoping to earn a bachelor’s degree, and later I intend to follow this study with a masters degree in criminal law and forensic science. I want to be Kenya’s best criminologist!
One Heart has provided me with a nurturing environment that enables us to grow using the knowledge and wisdom of the outside world. Despite knowing that I was a bright and resourceful student, I could not have achieved these outcomes without the support, guidance and encouragement of One Heart. I am therefore eternally grateful to them.
I am hoping to unite with my siblings after I’m done with my studies in University, to return to living with them. Throughout my years in One Heart, I learnt to give more to get more. Looking back, I can see that the moments that stood out are those moments when I did things for others.
Thanks to my sponsors - Belinda, Tia, Luke, Abigail and Kevin and to both the Kenyan and Australian teams associated with One Heart for your constant support. Thanks to all the parents that took the initiative of taking care of my brothers, sisters and I through the years."
Jane owned a collection of reservoirs and for 6 years she ran a seasonal business, making money by harvesting rainwater in the rainy season and then selling it on to brick makers. The seasonal income was not sufficient however and she struggled as a single mother to provide the basic necessities for her three children. Their father’s family would provide something small to help but it was not enough to sustain the family.
Upon hearing about opportunities for business training within her community she enrolled for the program. She was motivated by the first three modules which provided training in getting out of your comfort zone, identifying business opportunities, as well as how to source capital and start small.
“My name is Akeba Jane. I did not have any business because I did not have capital. After receiving business training from One Heart, I sold my goat for 150,000 UGX and used it to buy maize. Then I just went on selling and re-buying. Right now as we speak, I have two sacks of maize worth 340,000 UGX, 1 sack of dried cassava worth 170,000UGX and 20kgs of millet worth 60,000 UGX per kilogram. In two months I have created about 600,000 UGX worth of capital. I thank One Heart for bringing a business training to uplift us to higher levels. Thank you”
As at May 2023, Jane is grazing another goat worth 120,000 UGX. She is now able to contribute more towards the family’s basic needs like education, clothes and food varieties. She is very happy and excited about the outcome.
Annastacia is a 19-year old student at Kitale National Polytechnic studying a diploma in catering and accommodation. She was born in Eldoret and experienced violent treatment throughout her childhood. One Heart have provided Annastacia with a safe home, education and supported contact with her mother for 11 years.
“I came to One Heart at the age of eight years. That was in 2011. Before that I lived with my mother and younger brother. We were born and grew up in Eldoret. Life was not good but my mother tried her best to provide for us. She had a sister and a brother who were both dunkards and they would fight my mother as did not drink. One day my mother was stuck down with a mystery illness. She would lose control, say abusive words or beat me. It would last for sometime but then would go back to normal and could not recall anything that happened only minutes prior.
One day we were at the river washing clothes. I decided to play with my friend and we forgot and left the clothes that we had washed to be stepped on by cows. My mother lost control and began to beat me, throwing me in the river over and over until some people came to my rescue and took me away from her.
I was taken to the children’s court where my mother was sentenced to prison. But when mum was in prison, I had no one to take care of me at home and that’s when I was brought to One Heart. I have since talked to my mother under the protection of One Heart. She still has the same illness and she is struggling to survive. She works as a casual labourer to earn a living.
Life at One Heart has been really good to me. It has given me peace of mind. They have educated me for eleven years and I am very grateful for that.
I completed my primary education here, did my final exam and joined St Mary's high school in Webuye where I managed to score a C plain. I have now enrolled in college and am pursuing a diploma in catering and accommodation. I am very grateful to One Heart for the support throughout my education.
To the One Heart family, thank you so much for the love, support, education, medication for shelter and clothing and for everything you are doing. Thank you so much.”
John and his siblings were orphaned and then abandoned, without any food or support. He now has a family, and a place to call home. He has been given education, medication, shelter and all the basic needs and is pursuing his passion as a musician.
“My father started to drink alcohol after my parents separated. That was the beginning of our problems. He used to go drinking and leave us at home without food. We could not go to school because we had to go to work so to have something on the table. He would go and drink and then come back very abusive until one day he drank too much and he died. He was vomiting, coughing and his was nose bleeding.
When Dad died, our aunt came to our rescue after the burial. She took my siblings and I to her place and we were so happy despite all that has happened to us. We had a solution. Little did we know that it was only to be for a very short period of time.
One morning, my brother and I came home from school and found no food. My aunt was nowhere to be seen. She had left. There was no food, nothing was left behind for us. My aunt was tired of us and we were a burden to her. There was nobody willing to help her raise us. She decided to leave and we were homeless again for the second time. We had no place to go, our mother had been remarried and we didn’t know where she was. Our father had died and our Aunt had abandoned us. We were alone.
We remembered that we had another Aunt in town and we went looking for her. It was late at night but because we didn’t have money we had to walk. At that point a good samaritan found us and took us to the central police station thus ending up at the rescue centre. I stayed at the rescue centre for one year until one day a social worker came and talked to us and told us she will take us to One Heart.
Life at One Heart has been really good because of the love, care and protection I have been given by the family. At One Heart I have joined the scouts and I am also a musician. I have written two songs and I hope to record them soon.
Let me thank the Australian team and the Kenyan team for your effort to make us be comfortable. If it were not for you, I don’t know where I would be.”