"My name is Njoki...I have been living with the HIV virus for the past 8 years. Luckily, my three children are not infected.
"My constant worry goes not to my children but to the hundreds of mothers who have little or no access to medication, treatment or drugs.
"Lack of transport and social support is slowly leading many women to desperation..increasing their chances of succumbing to the disease.
"I'm lucky I joined a support group that has been able to provide me with all the necessary support, encouragement and spiritual nourishment to enable me become stronger, more focussed and active. I have become a source of inspiration to other infected women and a voice of hope as they continue to struggle with their lives.
"I know most of you have been supporting us for years...providing us with the much-needed support to strengthen our lives. Thanks to all of you and I hope that your special touch will be instrumental in changing lives and positively affecting lives, especially in our rural areas.
"On behalf of all beneficiaries, I feel honoured to specially express my gratitude for whatever support you have been providing us. When I go to sleep, I can at least assure my children on tomorrow's hope...
"Thanks for your encouragement and donations. A simple Thank you, I know, is not adequate enough to express what we feel..
I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation for all your support, your feedback and your donations over the last 6 months. We received approximately US$1,180 between Jan and May. This doesn't seem like much but to us, it is the difference between life and death!
We have been able to access fertilizers, seeds and some raw materials for our projects. We have enrolled 3 new teen mums into our informal tailoring and bakery courses. We managed to conduct informal sensitization meetings for gender-based violence victims.
Again, thank you so much for your donations. I have attached a short summary of how we spend your money. We still have a long way to go, a lot still needs to be done and every penny is appreciated from the bottom of our hearts.
Kindly go through the attachment and as usual, we look forward to your comments.
Thanks so much and God bless!!
As the world marked Orphans Day today, GEMINI was reflecting on the future of hundreds of orphaned children living in abject squalor, unsure of what tomorrow brings.
This is the story of 4-year old Nancy. Her father passed away last year and the mother early this year. She was left in the care of her 89-year old grandmother, together with 7 other children.
Like the over 1.5million children orphaned by HIV/Aids in Kenya, Nancy faces a bleak future. Her pre-school education is uncertain. Attending primary school looks like a dream. Secondary school? Maybe never.
Her grandmum says its been difficult to meet all her childhood expectations. "I'm still scared what I would do should she develop one of these complicated diseases," says Mama Nekesa, as she pats the head of another orphan. "I thank God she has good health."
Despite her failing health, Mama Nekesa keeps on accepting the difficult responsibility of taking care of orphans. Only 2 of her 6 children are still alive. Most of them have succumbed to the disease.
"Sometimes I feel I have no strength to go on but somehow food finds itself on our table," she adds, a little smile forming at the corner of her mouth.
GEMINI seeks to equip elderly grandparents, provide them with social skills to enable them face the challenges of modern parenting. We also help them acquire food security through small scale farming, poultry keeping and sheep rearing.
With your support, we will be able to provide a more solid foundation for Nancy and other orphans. We are currently running a special campaign to acquire seeds and fertilizers for some of the grandmothers and other vulnerable families.
Your help will be greatly appreciated. Again, thanks so much for all who have continued to extend their moral and financial support to GEMINI. We certainly appreciate it!
Wishing you all the best,
Every month, GEMINI receives a bundle of letters from previous project beneficiaries but we thought we would share with you the following short narration sent by one Esther Mbele, a mother of 6 who was assisted to strengthen her family's income when we helped her start a small hotel that serves about 150 clients every day.
"I have no words to express my gratitude..! I met one of your field agents and I remembered what you had done for me. Am now settled, business is picking and I have added 2 more new casual labourers to run the hotel late at night. My daughter, Mbula, got married last weekend at a colorful wedding and Kanini (my third born daughter, gave birth to a bouncing baby boy!).
"Just a few weeks ago, I was visited by the local church committee and we were encouraged to continue with ARV medication, although we still find it difficult accessing the drugs because of the distance to the district hospital.
"I joined the merry-go round that you had suggested. Next week, I will be receiving a soft loan. I plan to use it to purchase more stock for my business. Generally, I cannot complain! I have been able to sustain getting food on the table, although sometimes I feel depressed that my late husband is not around to assist me.
"Thanks so much for believing in me and providing me with the seed capital to rediscover myself. God bless you so much...!"
There you have it..! We will be sharing more stories in the days to come. Again, thanks for your continued support. Its only through your donations that we are able to impact the lives of vulnerable families like that of Esther Mbele. Keep the comments flowing in. We love to hear from you!
Happy New Year!!
I wish to extend all the best wishes to each of you as the New Year begins. May you fulfill each of your aspirations and have a successful year ahead of you.
Last year, we had so many reasons to celebrate, despite the increasing hardships facing PLWHA in our community. We conducted 6 mobile VCT services, reaching over 5,000 with reproductive health information, distributed over 6,000 behavior change communication materials, conducted 135 home visits and facilitated transportation for 41 PLWHA to access medication from the district hospital.
A worrying trend manifested itself during our activities. Most expectant women still are ignorant about preventing their unborn babies from HIV infection. A lot of information and public education needs to be carried out targeting women and young girls.
"We are not in a position to reach as many women as an outreach activity could," says Catherine Koech, a local nurse. "I wish we could conduct several meetings with expectant women to ensure they know about Prevention of Mother to Child transmissions."
GEMINI hopes to identify and reach out to pregnant women during the first quarter. We believe this will strengthen the information base and help save lives.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of our friends who contributed to any of our projects. Thanks so much! We hope to hear from you...be it in the form of questions, comments...or simply a donation!
All the best for this brand new year!
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