Gladys’ Story

A cry for help

Gladys Chepchirchir is one among 100 children in the OAI feeding program. She is 12 yrs old and in class 4 at the Saint Peters Kamukunji primary school in Eldoret-Kenya. Lately she has been going through a lot of suffering with abuse from her own mother.

Gladys says that her mother usually comes back home from her daily routine job of collecting scrap metal and selling it and then beats her up. When asked why her mother would beat her, she says that her mother, Josephine Ndiema, always demands the little girl to buy her cigarettes.

At this point one would think that Josephine would give Gladys money to buy the cigarettes but instead, she insists that Gladys has to get the money through her own means.  Where would such a small child get money to buy anything let alone cigarettes for the Mum?

Gladys has incurred bite marks from the mother for failing to buy her cigarettes.  Sometimes she says, “nitatoroka tu niende kuwa chokora”, meaning, “I will just run away and go live in the streets”.

The little girl is also upset as every time she asks her mother for money to pay her examinations fees the mother always starts to quarrel and beats her up once again.

I visited Gladys’ school and managed to speak to her teacher Mr. Mugo. Mugo says that Gladys is a very bright girl in class and thanked OAI for the support they want to offer for sponsoring school fees. He adds that Kambi Teso is HELL and unless something is done, the people will die in poverty forever!

Teacher Mr.  Mugo grew up in the Kambi Teso estate, was schooled at Saint Peters Kamukunji and now he is a teacher in the very school he attended as a boy. He has knowledge on everything pertaining the “poor estate of Kambi Teso” as he calls it.

“What you people are doing is a blessing and please help these children by giving them a hope and a better future” said Mr. Mugo.

I thank God for wisdom on handling Gladys’ broken heart. I talked her into forgetting the idea of running away from home into the streets and gave her the promise that OAI would pay for her school fees.  She is now a happy girl, but please pray for her and her mother.


Story by: Metrine Nandalo

OAI Kenya Feeding Program Coordinator

Additional note from OAI President, Rachel Gallagher:

We began the feeding program in Kambi Teso, a slum area in Eldoret, in June of this year.  Tuesday through Friday, we arrive at lunchtime to feed the children, play games and tell them about Jesus.  Each Monday afternoon, we talk to the elders and parents of the community and encourage them to save the money that they would be spending on food, and use it to start small businesses so that a year from now, they can provide for their families without assistance from OAI.

It is both a joy and very difficult.  We have watched as our 100 children in the program have gained weight, been healed of diseases in our medical outreach and have responded to the good news of Jesus Christ.  They look markedly healthier, happier and we laugh together as we play games, sing songs and tell Bible stories.  We have begun fumigating homes and are treating each individual family member to remove the infestation of jiggers which has caused so much pain.

Unfortunately though, Gladys is one of many children who are regularly beaten and abused by a parent or sometimes both parents.  Most parents are alcoholics like Josephine, Glady’s mother.  Weekly, we teach and encourage the parents to stop drinking, save money and invest in their futures, but alcoholism and a poverty and victim mindset are strongholds so difficult to break.

We find ourselves in a dilemma in that the government is inadequately staffed and does not respond to investigate child abuse and we fear that if we speak to the parents, the abuse will become worse for the child.  Please pray with us for wisdom and guidance and also for the strongholds that consume the Kambi Teso area, to be broken in Jesus’ name!

Meanwhile, we will press on and do what we can to feed, to clothe, to educate, to relieve suffering and be the hands and feet of Jesus  – even if it is only for 4 afternoons a week.  For those 4 afternoons, the children forget about the abuse, the hunger, the fear and just get to be children….children who are loved by us and loved by Jesus.

Thank you for all you do to make a difference in their lives – together, we can change one life at a time.



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