Gender Based Violence Story from Central Kenya
The story of Leah Wanjiru Kamau aged 36 years.
Leah got married in 1994 and was married for 5 years and then her husband fell ill, he was in and out of hospital for two years. Leah struggled to pay her husband’s hospital bills and also raise her three children. She did this all alone since her relationship with her in-laws had grown very cold. Her relationship with her in-laws became more strained resulting to physical fights. These fights left her injured, devastated and helpless since no one stood by her. Her parents in-law accused her of being the cause of their son’s illness. In 1998, when her husband passed away Leah was forcefully evicted her from of her matrimonial home.
Her house was pulled down and her belongings thrown by the roadside. Leah reported the matter to the local administration. This made Leah’s in – laws soften towards her but they were determined never to let her back to what she had called home for five years.
This caused a lot of stress to her and her children. The children had to drop out of school for a year. Leah contemplated committing suicide. She approached a community based volunteer (who had been trained by the Christian Community Services) working in the area and told her of the agony she was going through. The volunteer introduced her to the Christian Community Services (CCS) committee. Her case was presented to local provincial administration; her in-laws were summoned to the Chief’s office. After several meetings Leah was given a quarter acre piece of land at her matrimonial home.
The CCS committee assisted Leah to organize a fund raising event after which she bought building materials. Community volunteers came together and provided labour for building the house, the house was completed and occupied in less than a month.
Leah has since become a Christian and has been trained to teach Sunday school. She has also joined a village support group for widows that was started by the CCS.
Leah today lives a peaceful life and her children are happily attending school. She earns her living through casual employment in her neighbors’ farms.
The community is still amazed at how they all came together to support Leah.
Leah outside her new house Leah preparing a meal
Laundry time A Happy Leah tends her kitchen garden