How I moved from selling porridge to starting my foundation

By Vincent Kejitan | Wednesday, Apr 17th 2019 at 13:09
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When Lillian Njagi was 14-years-old, she often helped out her mum at their shop in Embu County.

One evening before close of business, Njagi was in the company of her mum and her close friend when a huge fire erupted at their shop.

She could barely see as the entire room was filled with smoke and she opted to help her baby sister who was sleeping in the next room.

“I dashed to where my baby sister was and pulled her out of the building through a tiny escape-route in the washroom…My mum and friend were trapped in the fire as I screamed desperately for help,” she said in an interview with Ureport.

Neighbours struggled to put out the fire and pulled out Njagi’s mum and her friend although they had severe burns.

The two were later referred to Kenyatta National Hospital and unfortunately, they both passed on.

According to Njagi, it was strange that her father never showed up for the burial, on the contrary, he fled and resurfaced almost five years later.

But not before selling off all of his late wife’s property – including a piece of land where they intended to build their home.

“As soon as mum was pronounced dead, my dad and his mpango wa kando escaped into the thin air. Word went round that they had conspired to kill my mother who was a stumbling block their relationship.

“From their hide-out, they sold all of my mother’s properties including our land,” recalls Njagi.

From then on life was tough for Njagi who depended on odd jobs to survive.

She sold porridge at construction sites and worked as a nanny for some time too to get through school.

“I was left with nothing; no food, no clothes, and nowhere to call home. I was homeless while nursing the pain of losing my mother and friend. Where do I start life? I wondered.

“We went without food, sometimes for days and any attempt to request food from my sister’s mother-in-law was met with, ‘Go to your mother’s grave and feed there!’

Also, her aunt would often introduce her to male suitors as she thought marriage was the only way out for the girl.

Njagi contemplated taking away her life but sought strength from within and saved some of the money she earned to go to school.

Fast-forward to 2019, Njagi has founded a charity organization, Wema Foundation, to help orphans and the less fortunate and she has already enrolled in campus.

She added that she has forgiven her father although it is impossible to forget what he did to her late mum.

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