Njoki was pregnant and had just moved to Eldoret, Kenya with her husband when a routine exam revealed that she was HIV-positive. She urged her husband to get tested as well. Instead, he abandoned Njoki, leaving her pregnant with no source of support.
Njoki became one of our first clients at the Family Preservation Initiative, founded in 2003 in response to the needs of our patients, the majority of whom are among the poorest people in the world. Sick themselves and lacking basic human necessities, many patients have lost their spouse to the disease and are the sole support for multiple vulnerable children.
Due to the stigma of HIV/AIDS that still endures in many regions of western Kenya, patients are often cut off from their family networks when they discover their HIV status. Others lose their jobs out of employers' fear of them spreading the disease. "Before FPI, I was going through many things," Njoki says. "I was not getting food, my landlord was coming to my house and disturbing me, he was closing my house."
Njoki was trained in beadwork, but business was slow at first. "FPI gave me a loan to get materials and expand," she says. "After getting the loan, I started being very serious with my job."
Three years later, Njoki is now a manager at our Imani Workshops program, which provides employment and training opportunities for approximately 100 single mothers like her. "I'm able to pay my house rent, I'm able to get my daily bread," Njoki says. "At first, I was feeling so hopeless but for now, life has changed. I'm stable, and at first I was seeing as if I'm dying, but now I'm hoping to live."