A REPORT OF HOPE – RIZIKI NARRATES HER JOURNEY WITH PODI
Mine has been a mixed story, some pain and grief and some joy and love from the people I least knew.
I have been that typical poor girl, I lost both my parents who were poor to HIV and AIDS in 2006. They both died the same month two weeks apart. I was left under the care of my sister who was barely 12 years then.
I have known what lack really is. I have lacked all the things you can imagine; I’ve lacked shelter, a place to lay my head on, food to eat, clothes to wear, undergarments and sanitary pads… name it!
When my sister and I came to Homa Bay from my rural home where we were disinherited everything that my poor family had, we found no house, no clothes , no shelter no nothing, we had to start from the streets and get to equip ourselves with the tactics to survive on the streets. Soon after my sister who had been hardened by our struggles found a small food kiosk where she could do some cleaning and get some coins. She was then able to get a place just within the slum that we have called our home since. That structure measured about three by two meters.
We lived here till her demise to HIV related complications last year. Soon after I learnt about PODI. I looked for Aunt Elseba’s place. When I found her. I then narrated to her my story. She immediately asked me whether I was going to school and with whom I was staying with.
I told her I stopped schooling as we could not afford the levies and also that my ailing sister then needed my care. We walked with her to ‘my house’ which at that point in time had rent arrears and a vacation notice had been issued to me by the landlord.
Aunt Elseba connected to a head teacher of my school now and secured a place for me; she made my school uniform and insisted that I had to start going to school immediately. She also enrolled me in the PODI Pads program; this was the first time I used a sanitary napkin. You won’t know how it felt. It felt awesome and I became more confident during my menses. Aunt Elseba has continued to support us. I normally take a lunch at her place and she buys all my study materials. In her, I have found love that I couldn’t find in my kinsmen. She is a beautiful lady and she has made life beautiful for so many of us. Each of us who are a part of PODI have found a new meaning of life and are hopeful of better things to come.
I appreciate all the sisters that Aunt Elseba have told me support PODI. Your support helps many girls here and has played a vital role in changing lives. I pray for blessings upon you and your families. May you continue being kind to us and many others. With the continuity of your support my dream of becoming a journalist and a human rights activist is just in the horizon.
Riziki Ivy Ajwang
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