Words from the Women

These are words from the grandmothers, themselves, on how they see their role as guardians and examples to their grandchildren.

“Especially with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we grandmothers now have the grandchildren. We are the roots, and the grandchildren will be the light…grandmothers must make sure the younger ones learn to stand on their own.” – Mary Oyoo, 40

“Education enlightens and gives exposure to people. Education is the key to a better life.” – Eunice Ombima, 50

“When I get the Amani position, the children and grandchildren will see me and I will be a role model.” – Eunice Ombima, 50

“I pray to God to give me strength to raise these children until they can care for themselves. Just to give me more days to care for them.” – Ruth Maringo, 69

“Given the fact that we are old does not mean we are not productive. Given a chance, we can still deliver.” – Eunice Ombima, 50

“Grandmothers have lived long and gone through the life process and challenges, and so we understand life better and would wish to pass our experience to the younger generation. Life experience is the roots. The light is sharing the knowledge to the generation of the grandchildren.” – Eunice Ombima, 50

“I traveled all the way to Kisumu in western Kenya. I went to get my two grandsons. My daughter was their mother, and she and her husband died of AIDS. I could not leave them there alone. Now they sleep with me. They sleep on the bed. I sleep on the floor.” – Mary, 73

“To me, being the roots of the tree, the foundation, I hope my grandchildren will succeed in their education.” – Beatrice Anyango, 47

“I want to be an example to other grandmothers who are living with their grandchildren in Kibera, that they can direct their grandchildren to a better future.” – Beatrice Anyango, 47

“I’d like to be a root to these grandchildren since I didn’t finish my education. I want them to continue and be educated…I want to lead them to be a leader in their future.” – Mary Oduor, 49

“What can I say when I do not have hope? I do not have a place to go. I belong to nowhere. Where will these children go when I am gone?” – Kanotu Mumo

“There are eight of us in one room. I sleep on the only bed with my three grandchildren. My daughter squeezes on the only sofa with her child while three other children sleep on boxes on the floor. It is a tight squeeze, but what can we do?” – Grace Atema

“The big challenge is the kids—in raising them… to learn skills, teach skills to their children then their grandchildren.” – Beatrice Anyango, 47

Kenyan grandmothers with Mary Martin Niepold during Amani training

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