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This is why I work with widows

By Lydiah Nyawira | February 15th 2017 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Rev Dr Jane Wanjiku of Mizpah Ministries International based in the Los Angeles California. USA, prays for widows during a handing over ceremony of two houses at Mahiga in Kieni, Nyeri county, December 28, 2016, the preacher has been assisting widowers with houses, green houses, water pumps and so far 13 widows have benefited with the housing projects. PHOTO: MOSE SAMMY/STANDARD

I was born in Nyeri County, as the eldest of 12 children. Unfortunately when I was in high school my father passed on and the enormous responsibility of raising and caring for a large family rested on the loving and caring hands of my mother.

She struggled enormously to support us and she occasionally needed help. Such help, financial and otherwise, was forthcoming from my extended family, neighbours and strangers.

My experience and the generous gifts that helped my widowed mother survive this difficult time, motivated me and continues to drive me to reach out and help widows.

For the past 25 years I have been living in the US where I have raised my two daughters and founded The Mizpah Ministries where I am an ordained minister.

Thorough my ministry I seek for funds to support widows in Kieni constituency which is where I grew up who are suffering and trying to keep their families alive.

In 2011, I started the Mizpah Ministries widows group, and the number of women who benefit from the initiative has increased to 250 women. Each year I make a trip from the US to Kenya where I visit these widows and find out what they need as well as initiate projects that help them provide for their families.

I always try my best to identify widows who are in dire need of homes and we build them semi-permanent houses.

Since 2011, at least 13 widows have benefited from houses that are funded by well-wishers through the Mizpah Ministries Widows project.

Most of these women have no one to help them when they need to make repairs in their houses. This causes them to end up living in houses that have no roofs, that have cracks on the walls and that offer little protection from the elements for them and their children.

The houses are just one of the ways we support widows, we have also built 26 chicken coops. Whenever we set up a coop, we also buy three months worth of starter feed and provide ten chicken to help each widow start off.

To foster and encourage widows to give, we instituted a “pay it forward” challenge. Under the challenge, each widow is encouraged to give five chicks to a member of the widows group within six months of receiving their gifts.

We have also set up two greenhouses which have become a resource where widows learn new farming techniques as they grow food to sell and generate some income.

We use a water pump to draw water from a nearby stream which the widows then use to water their crops. This ensures they have food all year around.

These women are vulnerable and need all the support they can receive. I am determined to do my part by offering a helping hand in the same way my mother received support to raise us.

widows Dr Jane Wanjiku nyeri county
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