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Onyango, aged 12, comes from the small village of Kikuyu Kasikazini in Dodoma. He lives with his mum and three siblings, but the family has hardly any income and were often struggling to pay for food and rent. 

Two years ago, Onyango’s mother was desperate to feed her children and ended up borrowing money from a community microfinance bank. But her situation never improved, and she found it impossible to repay the loan. Terrified of the consequences and ashamed of her situation she ran away from the village, making the heartbreaking decision that her own children would be better off without her.

But she was wrong. Onyango’s life without his mum became unbearable.

The village community tried to help but the children could not pay for school materials or food so Onyango dropped out of school so he could spend his time on the streets of Dodoma begging for food to feed his siblings.

Most nights the children slept on an empty stomach. One day an outreach worker from one of our partner organisations found Onyango begging and took him to our drop in centre. They provided food, soap and counselling for him and his siblings and learned about what had happened to the family.

It was clear the children were desperate for the love and care of their mother.

We were able to trace Onyango’s mother and offer her the vital financial and emotional support she so desperately needed. She had become more and more distressed with every minute she spent away from her children, but the more time passed the less she felt able to return. Our team gave therapeutic support to her and the children, as well as teaching parenting skills, and eventually reunited the family once we were confident they were in a stable situation. They were all so happy to be back  together.

Onyago’s mother has been able to start up a small business with help from a grant and is proud to be paying back her loan. We have provided education equipment like books, uniforms and pencils for the children and Onyango is delighted to have re-enrolled at school where he is working hard.