Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery

by Faraja Cancer Support Trust
Play Video
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Cancer in Kenya: Giving a real chance of recovery
Young Yusuf
Young Yusuf

What started as an itch in the eye, in early 2019, grew into painful discomfort for young Yusuf. At first, his parents attributed the eye issues to dust since he lived in the North-Eastern part of Kenya, known to be arid and dusty. 

“No one ever imagined that this was cancer. We didn’t even know that there is the cancer of the eye,” exclaims Ibrahim, Yusuf's caregiver a friend of the family.

Yusuf’s parents took him to a local clinic to seek treatment but the pain in his right eye became intolerable. They sought help at the Mandera County Hospital and were finally referred to seek specialised treatment at the Kikuyu Eye Hospital in the outskirts of Kenya's capital Nairobi. It is then that  Ibrahim, who lives in Nairobi offered to take young Yusuf into his care, given that Yusuf’s parents lived in the village and could not afford to pay for the treatment nor afford transport and living costs for any length of time away from home.

At the Kikuyu Eye Hospital, tests revealed that Yusuf had cancer of the eye. He was put on treatment, but his condition did not improve.

“It was then that the doctor advised us to have his eye removed, his parents were shocked but soon accepted it for the sake of their son's health. ” Ibrahim says.  Amazingly enough, Yusuf’s health significantly improved after surgery and he went back home to Mandera, he even resumed school.

Sadly towards the end of October 2019, he started experiencing the pain in his right, now hollow socket, once again. His parents reached out to Ibrahim who arranged for Yusuf to travel on his own to Nairobi to see the doctor. The doctor recommended chemotherapy to stop the cancer from growing. "When I received the bill, the cost of the chemotherapy was prohibitive. I had spent a lot of my money already and could not afford the tests and treatment needed to make Yusuf better. I also had to factor in my family needs and came to the quick conclusion that I could not afford to maintain both.” exclaims Ibrahim.

There was nothing else to do than to start fundraising. It took Ibrahim a month to raise the money for chemotherapy treatment but they still had to raise funds for radiotherapy as his treatment was concurrent. 

“Yusuf’s parents are very poor, even affording transport to come to Nairobi is a problem for them, so I shared my concerns with the staff members of the institution that Ibrahim was having chemotherapy done, HCG-CCK Cancer Center. Their medical social worker advised him to seek support from Faraja.

“When I applied for financial assistance, I thought I would have to wait two years but in two weeks, we received the news that Yusuf's radiotherapy treatment would be fully covered by Faraja. Faraja came through!” Ibrahim says. “It has been a very long journey and honestly, this was the highlight.”

At this point, Ibrahim looks at young Yusuf, who all along has been a silent listener. For a ten-year-old, he is very quiet. “He has no one else to help with this,” Ibrahim says and adds that Yusuf was once a playful smart boy but he is not the same now.

“You can tell he has been through hell. He doesn’t talk much. He is very sad. Yusuf misses going to school. We leave it to God. He decides.” Ibrahim says. Yusuf’s parents were to travel to Nairobi to apply for the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover, but due to heavy rainfall earlier on in the year,  the road from their village to the nearest bus station caved in and they could not travel.

“The child is ours. We will do our best and God has helped us this far,” says Ibrahim encouragingly. " I do not understand the full diagnosis, but I am hopeful that with Yusuf’s age, the prospect of recovery is high."

Ibrahim and Yusuf
Ibrahim and Yusuf


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Rachel "Miles4Shillings"
Rachel "Miles4Shillings"

To our esteemed donors,

We are excited to share with you highlights of what we have been up to this year. As one of our valued donor, partner and friend, we cannot thank you enough in helping us in our mission towards giving hope, help and life to children and adults with cancer in Kenya. Thank you for being our champion and we hope you have also had a champion year!

2019 has been a year of partnerships and campaigns. We continue to raise funds and create awareness about cancer through our white water rafting challenge in June and our "Kenya's Biggest Coffee Mornings". Please check out our new websites for the two events here and here.  

We have been touched by the number of corporates and individuals who have gone the extra mile to ensure our programs are sustainable. A special thanks to Rachael Gitonga's "Miles4Kshs" campaign which raised funds through a series of runs, the climax being the Berlin Marathon in September.  

We continue to offer care and support to patients in Uasin Gishu county at our centre in Eldoret. We are thankful to our volunteers, the medical team at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and the AMPATH team who we work closely with.  This year we also partnered with  "A Fresh Chapter" in their Eldoret Odyssey. 

We have also shared in this update moving testimonies from some beneficiaries of the Faraja Medical Support Fund. We are thankful to all our donors, friends and supporters, who have stood with us since the fund was launched on 12th October 2016. Thanks to your support, we can give patients and caregivers help that they need; at diagnosis, during treatment and beyond. Please read more here

Our crafts for cure program at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has also received a lot of support. We are thankful to companies and individuals who have come together to support our program. Because of your generous and continuous support, we now offer lunch to patients undergoing chemotherapy at KNH every Friday and will soon start a library for the teens at level 8c. 

As part of our accountability strategy, our accounts are audited courtesy of RSM East Africa and are posted online. Please view our 2019 annual report here

We have new trustees joining us and we are excited to introduce them on our website. We would also like to thank Dr. Manu Chandaria for 9 years of dedicated service. He retired this year from our board earlier this year. 

Finally, as we begin the holiday season, the Trustees, Staff and the rest of the team at Faraja Cancer Support Trust want to extend their heartfelt gratitude to everyone who shared their incredible generosity with us by giving us their time, finances and participating in our programmes and events. Your support continues to make a huge difference in the lives of cancer patients and caregivers who access our services. We cannot do what we do without you.

On behalf of everyone we serve – THANK YOU!

Best Regards and Warm Wishes,


Shaira Adamali- Founding Trustee

Attachments: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Faraja 2019 Annual Report cover
Faraja 2019 Annual Report cover

To all our esteemed donors and supporters.

We are pleased to share with you our 2019 financial report. This is in line with our strategic objective of managing our charity as effectively and efficiently as possible. In order to deliver our strategic plan, we invest in three key areas of our charity –Our People, Our Fundraising and Our Communications.

As Faraja, we express our gratitude to all our donors and partners who have walked the journey of support with us. 

 2019 Financial Highlights

In this financial year, we raised a total of Kshs12,853,291 ($ 128, 532) a 67% increase from 2018 when we raised  Kshs.8,684,205 ( $ 86, 842)  from fundraising events, donations, and fundraisers held by Friends of Faraja.

We also raised Kshs7,734,980 ( $ 77, 350)  for our medical fund bringing our total income to Kshs 20,588,271 ( $ 205, 882)


Fundraising Activities

White Water rafting

Our 2018 White Water Rafting Challenge registered 43 teams, saw 350 spectators and raised Kshs6.3 million,( $63,000) a 61% improvement from 2017 when we registered 39 teams and raised Kshs3.9 million. An increase in the amount fundraised was mainly due to additional silver sponsors and more teams fundraising over and above the minimum registration fee. Thank you to our silver sponsors: Simba Corp, Kenchic, Chloride Exide, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Chandaria Foundation, Great Rift Valley Lodge and Sarova Hotels. We are grateful to Savage Wilderness Camp for hosting us for the 6th year running.

Kenya’s Biggest Coffee Morning (KBCM)

The 2018 Coffee Morning registered new hosts such as Nairobi Bottlers, Cheki, and the Jivanjee family. We also had new schools partnering with us notably: Rosslyn Academy and Peponi School.

We registered 34 hosts and raised Kshs3million. This initiative is growing in popularity and next year we are hoping to grow the number of hosts. You can read more about our event by going to the KBCM website:

 Christmas Cricket Cracker

On December 1st and 2nd, December 2018, Jason Holley and his brother Jeremy organized another Christmas Cricket Cracker at the Nairobi Club. This the second year a total of Kshs350,000 ( $3500) was raised for the Faraja Medical Support Fund (FMSF).

 Family Fun Run

For the 2nd year, on 19th of January 2019, Faraja Club of International School of Kenya (ISK) organized a family fun run at their Nairobi Campus. They raised a total of $ 3,647.14 for FMSF. Their goal is to raise $10,000 so that they can support one patient, every year, forever. The aim of the club is to create awareness about the risk factors and early signs of cancer.

 Miles For Shillings (Miles4Kshs)

Rachael Gitonga who is an avid runner is doing a running campaign to raise funds for Faraja. The Miles4Kshs campaign aims to raise money through mileage covered from the miles she runs from January to September 2019. The climax of the campaign will be when she runs the Berlin Marathon in September 2019.

Rachael’s target is 2500Kms and all proceeds will go towards the Faraja Medical Support Fund.


Our Programs in Focus

Faraja Medical Support Fund (FMSF)

This year the Medical Support Fund raised Kshs7,734,980( $ 77,350). Having raised a total of Kshs 93 million in previous years, FMSF reached a milestone by reaching Kshs100 million on 14th November 2018 well within the two years target.

In the 2018 financial year, Kshs12millon of the income from the fund was used to support children and adults with cancer in Kenya. A total Kshs8,738,385 ($ 87, 383) was spent for supporting 93 patients; Out of the 93, 30 were children, 16 were men and 47 were women. Out of the 47 women, 6 were beneficiaries of the Natalie Fund.

Support Groups

This year we have seen an increase in support group attendance. We also began our 7th support group in January 2019, Young Survivor’s Hangout, which records about 30 teenagers and young adults.


We have added three new wellness therapies to our programs namely: Facial Distortion Model (FDM), Diversional Therapy (such as beadwork, knitting, and crotchet), and meditation and mindfulness. As a result of adding these therapies and increasing the number of massage therapists, nutritionists, lymphatic drainage practitioners and counselors Faraja was able to better serve the needs of patients. We were also able to reach 34 more patients per week which added up to 1632 more patients than in the previous year.

Here is a testimony from one of our patients who has greatly benefited from our free support services. Click here

Therapists and Volunteers

The number of therapists who volunteer at Faraja increases from 19 to 29 and our volunteers from 15 to 42. This has helped us improve our services to patients and caregivers at our center in Nairobi and Eldoret and at our outreach program at Kenyatta.

Since we opened our new center in Eldoret in November 2018 we have 3 regular therapists and 27 volunteers who help us weekly with our patients and caregivers.

Crafts for Cure

Over the last one year, Faraja reached a total of 5,376 children between the ages of 3 and 14 at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) pediatric wards 1e, 3, 4a, 9d through music therapy on Wednesday and art therapy on Friday. This year we added new fun activities such as a movie day and art master class.

“I love dancing, I am always happy when the music group comes on Wednesday.” from a 12-year-old girl with leukemia from ward 1e and who has been receiving treatment for the last one and a half years. She is one of the many children who we impact through our services.

In June 2018, two additional fruit shops have come on board to support our weekly contribution of apples to the children at KNH pediatric wards. The total donation of apples from May 2018 to April 2019 is valued at Ksh277,000 ( $ 27,000)

Special Thanks

Finally, we express our gratitude to Faraja Trustees, Staff, Volunteers, Therapists, Donors, Friends and Partners for the continued service and support to Faraja and our patients and caregivers. A special thank you to some therapists who have been with us for the last 6 years but have relocated. Thank you to Zira (Reflexology), Jean (Body Talk), Marieke (Lymphatic Drainage) and Rita (Reflexology). 

We especially want to appreciate the good service we received from Arwa Kapacee who was, until April 2019, our Finance and Administration Manager for the last 6 years. Arwa leaves us to start a new chapter in Canada with her husband. We wish her the very best in her endeavors.

 We welcome three new staff members: Judy Wakio (Finance and Administration), Maureen Kimwattan (Administrator-Eldoret) and Lowry Achieng (FMSF-Officer

Rachel Gitonga's Miles 4 Shillings
Rachel Gitonga's Miles 4 Shillings
Faraja Support Groups
Faraja Support Groups
Crafts for Cure Program
Crafts for Cure Program
Faraja in Eldoret
Faraja in Eldoret
Faraja Therapies
Faraja Therapies


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Napot ( left), Naima (centre) and Grace ( right)
Napot ( left), Naima (centre) and Grace ( right)

Monica's Story

Monica, 40, mother to Napot says that he used to cry a lot as a newborn. She has other older children, but they were not as fussy as Napot when he was a baby. "He will calm down when he grows up," she would say to herself and true to form he stopped crying until August 2018, a few months after his third birthday, he started crying again this time day and night.  Frustrated by his inability to identify what his problem was, Maureen one day stripped him naked him and checked him all over. She noticed with horror that his stomach had a lump, a hard mass that she had never been there before. She informed her husband who advised her to take him to the women in the village for a tummy massage, a common cultural practice.

Monica chose to take him to the hospital instead.  Accompanied by one of her older daughters, she went to the nearest hospital in Kapenguria, West Pokot County.  After a physical examination, the medical personnel referred Napot to another hospital in Kitale. They went back home, borrowed busfare and went to Kitale the following day. In Kitale, they did a thorough physical assessment and referred her to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret. Monica called her husband and together, they sourced for money and travelled to Eldoret.

At MTRH, Napot was admitted and had tests done. The results revealed that he had cancer of the kidney known as nephroblastoma, a common cancer among children. He went through surgery to remove the tumour and has 6 cycles of chemotherapy treatment which was catered for by government insurance ( NHIF).  His consulting doctor however advised that he should have radiotherapy treatment done which, at that time,  was only available in Nairobi.

Caroline's Story

In September of 2018, 5-year-old Naima was her usual playful self, running around their home in Busia town, Western Kenya, when she fell down. She could not stop crying, saying that her stomach hurt a lot.  Her mother, Caroline, 34, believed that a stone might have hurt Naima and that the pain would eventually subside. It did not. After a night of crying, Caroline took Naima to the hospital the following morning. Naima was still crying in pain. Tests did not reveal anything, though the doctor noticed a lump on Naima’s tummy.

A different doctor, on examining Naima recommended further tests at a different hospital. She informed Caroline that she suspected Naima had cancer of the kidney but that this would be best diagnosed at MTRH  in Eldoret. The doctor ordered an ambulance to take them from Busia to Eldoret, where tests confirmed the kidney cancer diagnosis. Thankfully the ambulance was covered by NHIF.

Naima stayed in the hospital for six weeks and underwent surgery and chemotherapy treatment. Caroline is a housewife while her husband is a casual worker. He had taken the NHIF cover which paid for Naima’s treatment. But when they were informed that they needed to pay for radiotherapy treatment in Nairobi, Caroline and her husband felt helpless.

The meeting of in Nairobi

Faraja works closely with a social worker at MTRH called Sandra. Sandra referred both Napot and Naima's case to us for possible consideration of funding. After review from the Faraja Medical Support Fund panel, our Patient Support Manager Phillip called Sandra and gave her the good news, their entire radiotherapy treatment would be catered for by Faraja.

“There was no way to raise the money for radiotherapy. We also did not know anyone in Nairobi. When we got the call from Faraja, I felt like God gave me another chance to raise my son again. I can only ask God to bless the Faraja family because they gave me hope. Without their intervention, I know things would have been really bad.” Says Caroline.

“The thought that my son will look healthy again gives me peace of mind and I know that he shall be completely healed,” Monica says, adding that Faraja should continue touching more lives.

Caroline and Monica met for the first time at a bus stop in downtown Nairobi at 6 am on 7th November 2018. Since they were housed at the same hostel, they became close friends and their children even closer. During the day, Napot and Naima would hold hands as they walked into the hospital, smiling shyly, as they sauntered to the nurse's desk. At night, they would play together until late, much to the chagrin of their sleepy mothers.

As per the date of publishing this article, we learnt that Naima is doing well but sadly Napot's tumour recurred and metastasized to the brain. 

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Our Trustees and donor celebrating a milestone
Our Trustees and donor celebrating a milestone

For the eight years that Faraja has been in existence, we have successfully provided emotional support to patients and their care givers through our free complementary therapies, information, support groups, art and music therapy for children with cancer and most recently, through financial assistance. 

However, the need for timely and good medical intervention is still paramount, especially now that the number of patients diagnosed with cancer has risen from 20,000 to 40,000 annually. The waiting list at Kenya's largest Referral Hospital ,the Kenyatta National Hospital,  can be long and government insurance does not cover all the costs. Most patients cannot afford to pursue treatment in private hospitals because of financial reasons. For these reasons, the Faraja Medical Support Fund  (FMSF) was launched on 12th November 2016 to provide financial assistance to patients in Kenya. FMSF is a corpus of funds that when invested will assist 50 patients every year forever.

The money raised for the Medical Support Fund has primarily been sourced from various supporters, sponsors and events. Initially,Faraja conducted a pilot project for the fund in 2014 from donations received from Faraja friends and supporters. The Pilot funded 86 patients at a cost of Shs 9,924,120 and 90% of these patients are doing well. 

From October 2017 we started using the funds from the FMSF. Shs 7,133,698  ($70,000) was available for support and we financially assisted 43 patients at a cost of Shs 3,771,982 ($ 30,000)  and 84% of the patients are doing well.

On Wednesday 14th November, the FMSF reached a milestone where, with a donation of $50,000 from one of our donors,  the fund achieved its initial target of $ 1million

Despite achieving this milestone, there is still  a lot more that needs to be done to assist more patients every year. The more the medical fund grows, the more patients we are able to assist. 

On behalf of Faraja Cancer Support Trust, we would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting us in achieving our milestone.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

Faraja Cancer Support Trust

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FarajaTrust
Project Leader:
Olivia Shah
Nairobi , Kenya
$82,029 raised of $100,000 goal
681 donations
$17,971 to go
Donate Now

Pay Bill: 891300
Account: GG20120

Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Faraja Cancer Support Trust has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.