“My name is Grace. I am a widow and a mother of three children. I am a trained ECD teacher and was in a polygamous marriage. I was misled about my husband’s benefits after his death a few years ago. Out of ignorance, I took the money so that I could construct a home for my children who at the time had no home. As a result, I found myself in Prison with allegations that I had taken money fraudulently. I was accused by my in-laws. Now I am here stranded and stressed. I lost my job, I need to go home to be with my children and yet I do not have a single penny in my pocket. I cry for your help for survival”
These were the opening remarks from Grace when she visited Faraja after her release from Lang’ata Women Prison. Grace remained in custody for one year one month and on 13th December 2018; she was released to serve under probation till 2021. Grace approached Faraja Foundation for transport and economic support to start her life all over again and needed to return home. She also communicated her interest in doing a small-scale business, as she could not be absorbed back in teaching following her criminal record. All her belongings had been vandalized.
Faraja’s core mandate is to rehabilitate and ensure smooth reintegration of offenders in a rights-based approach through capacity development, advocacy and community adaptation interventions back to the society and Grace’s scenario was recipe enough for us to indulge. She received Ksh 2000 = $20 USD as transport back to her village and later she was economically supported with Ksh.11, 000= $110 USD to start a fish selling business. She has already identified a ready market in the city where she intends to make double profit by selling at a wholesale price as opposed to the retail way, which she says is slow in returns.
Grace hopes to take her children to college once the business picks momentum. “Asanteni sana Faraja kwa kusimama pamoja na mimi. Sijui kama ningeweza bila usaidizi wenu Mungu awabariki” “(Thank you very much Faraja for being there for me. I don’t know whether I would have managed without your support -God Bless you)” These were words of gratitude from Grace.
*Names changed for anonymity