Striving For Happier, Healthier Childhoods

Six-year-old Edward tells us about his family, friends and new home

Kenya is among the world’s 30 poorest countries, with 46% of people living below the poverty line. Malnutrition is a threat to many of Kenya’s 19 million children. Recent data shows that 33% of children are classified as stunted, and 20% are underweight. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities is also limited; more than 15 million Kenyans – including more than half the rural population – are without access.

Edward, age six, from Kisumu in western Kenya, is one of the country’s children who has moved on from such poverty. A small loan supported his mother, Millicent, to start a hotel-restaurant. The money meant she could stock a variety of foods, and attract more customers. She now employs four staff.

“I live with my mama and sister,” says Edward. “My mama has a restaurant, and she makes ugali (a Kenyan food using maize), fish and chapattis. A lot of people come to her restaurant to eat.”

Edward’s living conditions are much better now: “I like my new house because I have my own room. We also have a toilet inside the house. Before, it was outside, and I didn’t like going there in the dark.”

Despite Kenya introducing free primary education in 2003, 1.2 million children of school-going age are still not attending. Edward is fortunate, as Millicent’s business has allowed the family to move closer to his school: “I ride the bus to school. I used to walk, and it was really far – I was so tired when I got there.” He is thriving at the school, and says he wants to be a banker when he grows up.

SCHOOL LIFE

“Miss Jennifer is my teacher. She teaches us all subjects. I like English; Kiswahili (an African language) is difficult, because we only started it this year. Denzel and Johnzak are my friends; we play football at break time. I eat lunch at school – maziwa (a milk-based drink) is my favorite. I know milk comes from cows, and when I’m older I want to buy a cow so I can have lots of milk.”

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The family can also now afford toys and trips out – the types of things that go a long way to improving quality of life: “Mama took my sister and me to Impala Park to see the animals,” says Edward. “I really liked the monkeys. Then she bought us some new clothes.”

Microfinance loans can be designed to improve children’s lives. Working alongside World Vision, VisionFund has developed loans for latrines and water filters, and to cover school fees and materials. This means the lives of children such as Edward will continue to improve in real and measurable ways.

To learn more about World Vision’s microfinance work through its network of more than 30 microfinance institutions at VisionFund, please visit: www.VisionFund.org.

Developed by VisionFund’s Marketing Manager; Brad Stave

 

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