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I became a 'mother' at a tender age, now I help teen mums cope

Turning Point

Alice Wangechi's mission is to ensure children born in the streets live a dignified life. The retired KRA officer speaks to THE NAIROBIAN on her dedication to rescuing teen mothers living in the streets.

Briefly introduce yourself:

I am Alice Wangechi Theuri from Nyeri County. I am the second born in a family of six. I am passionate about the community's well-being. I am a retired KRA officer.

You run a Foundation, what inspired you to toward that direction?

It is a community-based organisation that rescues and supports young street teen mothers within Nyeri County. We provide them with sanitary towels, food, clothes, and diapers for the children.

I lost my mother when I was very young. I assumed the role of mother. My passion for youth and orphans developed as I assumed the role of a mother at an early age.

 Alice Wangechi Theuri, founder of Orphan Reach Network, poses for a photo with some children under her care. Purity Mwangi, Standard.

Tell us your motivation behind this project.

Previously, I was dealing with high school and college students. I felt this was not enough, I was pushed to help young teen mothers after I visited a children's home in Solio in Kieni, to give foodstuff and clothes, that's where I meet a few teen mothers who were rescued from the street.

What particular incident stirred your initiative?

During the Covid-19 period in 2020, most of the activities I did were restricted. Also, most street children were rehabilitated for a long time which led to congestion in many children's homes where young teens in one way or another were sexually active and resulted in pregnancies.

After almost one year most of them went back to the street but some young girls were pregnant. That is when my mission of rescuing and giving aid to young mothers was amplified.

I felt sorry for the girls remembering what I went through when my mother died. I took all the responsibilities in our family as the eldest sister.

Where is your foundation based and what has been your achievement so far?

The foundation is currently located in Nyeri town, I have worked towards reaching many orphan teen mothers, and currently, more than 25 young mothers receive sanitary towels, diapers, clothes, and food from us every Tuesday.

How do you sustain the project financially?

From my own savings. I also invited people to join the network as members. They help with what they can afford, and currently, we are 42 members.

I have also partnered with an institution where mothers can be accommodated and learn skills to become self-reliant and support their lives, and for those who want to go to school, I help by looking for sponsors for their education. I also appeal to rehabilitation centres to help young mothers with medical services.

What is your message to Kenyans supporting such a noble cause?

I appeal to everyone out there to love and embrace street families and especially young mothers. Every child deserves a good life with the three basic needs that include food, clothes, and shelter.

Some of the children find themselves in the streets due to family conflicts while others as a result of being orphaned and are rejected by the community.

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