In many African countries, the care of orphans has been mainly led by foreign western donor organizations. However, Sister Florence from Embu County has changed all that. Using her own resources and from friends, Sister Florence is leading the work of raising orphans from different backgrounds. “My dream is to help the orphaned children to live a holistic life. Many people think that supporting orphans is to put them in an institution. Others support them up to eighteen years, but here in Embu County we do it very differently,” told Sister Florence.
She told of her first experience with an orphaned child.
“My biggest motivation is to start the orphans’ program started when I saw a young child, whose parents had died and she was living with a cruel grandparent. The child would visit the grave of the mother crying for support. I wanted to be a mother to that child. I wanted to give a helping hand. I wanted to give her hope. My heart went out to that child. I addressed the issue and I was able to better her life. From that time I started feeling the call to help a larger number,” She recalled.
Together with a few friends, they opened an office.
“The program so far has eight thousand children that we are supporting in various places within the Embu County,” she told.
In order to be able to help more orphans, Florence sought help from the church.
“When Sister Florence came and sensitized us about the issue, we had to partner with her and she has been so supportive especially to the children. She has given them a human face and she has helped these children to get support from partners so that they can meet their needs. So far there are so many children that have benefited from her support. Some have achieved their destinies through her support and encouragement,” told Rev. James Mwangi – Pastor at Pentecostal Church.
Florence exemplifies the generous African spirit of reaching out to those beyond your family who need help. In the African culture, grandparents are normally the next of kin guardians to orphans. Roselinda Wanja was raised by her grandparents when her single mother passed away.
“I was brought up by my grandparents. Through my primary level and in my life, we have had so many problems. Even basic needs were a problem to us. But I thank God. After I did my final primary school exams, I met Sister Florence Wanjala who assisted me through my secondary education and assisted my grandfather in putting up a better house. I fell pregnant when I was a teenager. I decided to keep my baby. Sister Florence assisted me a lot in bringing up my child. Then after my form four, she also assisted me in starting a business which I am currently doing to raise money for university because I want to do sales and marketing,” said Wanja.
When we see the success of all these children, as a mother I am so happy. I feel blessed and fulfilled.
I remember my grandmother telling me how unique I am and requesting me to work like an elephant because every place an elephant goes it leaves a mark and everyone passing there can see it.
I work whole-heartedly to see all these orphans or the place I live have a mark of what I do.
Through Florence’s charitable work, the landscape in Embu has drastically changed as more orphans have been empowered to take charge of their destiny.
In every child there is a spark of hope and light.