At 7, Joseph lost his father. At 10, his mother died of malaria. At 16, Joseph is enrolled in an AMREF vocational program feeling in control of his circumstances and confident he is on track to create a living for himself.
After the death of his parents, Joseph dropped out of school in order to support himself. He worked as a farmhand plowing fields, hutched over in extreme temperatures for extended hours, earning a negligible wage. Overworked and undernourished, Joseph’s health deteriorated.
Now Joseph is enrolled in AMREF’s vocational workshops, part of the Orphan and Widow Support program in Homa Bay, Kenya. His physique is still underdeveloped from years of starvation, but his confidence and self-worth are blossoming. Joseph is in training to become a tailor, like his father. Daily classes cultivate his sewing and tailoring skills. For the first time, Joseph is optimistic about his future:
“When I couldn’t afford to continue my studies and left school, I had no occupation. I had almost lost hope until AMREF helped me… I come to this workshop in order to develop a career for myself. After this course has finished I think I will get a job with a tailor, start to earn money of my own, and have a good living.”
Alongside his vocational skills training, Joseph benefits from AMREF’s health education and services. Joseph is trained as a peer educator; he is encouraged to raise awareness of health issues among friends who do not attend the project. Regularly, Joseph and his classmates, share their knowledge through local radio dramas which they both script and perform.
“Before AMREF started helping me I was very ignorant about health issues,” Joseph admits, “but now I understand why my parents lost their lives and I feel I know how to avoid the same things happening to me. I hope to find a career for myself, have a family, and see my children grow up”.