Orphan Gets New Start

house before renovation

Eric and his grandma in their old house made of sticks and trash.

Eric is a 7-year-old boy living in Meru, Kenya. He is one of thousands of orphans whose parents died of HIV/AIDS. His grandmother, Janet, stepped up to take care of Eric to prevent him from ending up in an overcrowded orphanage.

But Janet, 66, lived in extreme poverty in a tiny home made of sticks and garbage. She knew it would be hard for Eric, as her home didn’t keep out the heat, rain or cold. Insects often came in through the holes, and Janet didn’t have access to clean water or a latrine.

Eric and Janet also faced another hardship. The people in their village found out that Eric’s parents died of HIV/AIDS, so they kept away from them. Eric would often get sick, and people assumed he was infected. Both grandmother and grandson struggled to get food, water and rest and had no one to help them.

When Food for the Hungry (FH) came to their village, FH staff made a visit to see them. They were immediately enrolled in a program that supports orphans and vulnerable children. FH staff worked with Janet to teach her how to care for Eric by providing nutritious food, practicing hygiene and treating illnesses. Eric also learned how to stay healthy.

“After I was taught about hand washing, I wash my hands every time I visit the toilet and before I eat food,” said Eric. “I don’t get stomach aches like I used to before. No one could teach me this better than FH.”

house after renovation (field staff, Eric and grandma)

The house the community helped to build for Eric and his grandma.

Eric also participated with other orphans and vulnerable children in an FH fun day, where all children received a health screening. Eric found out he did not have HIV/AIDS. He enrolled in school and wants to be a teacher.

FH staff also helped with a little miracle. Working with Janet and Eric’s neighbors, FH staff taught community members about the importance of caring for the vulnerable. They also let them know how HIV/AIDS is spread.

Through supplies provided by FH, the community worked together to build Eric and Janet a new home. The men in the community contributed labor, and the women brought meals and water during the home renovation.

Now, Janet’s home has solid walls, a floor, roof and door. Because Janet keeps her house clean, she and Eric don’t get sick often. This is the kind of difference you are making in the lives of orphans and widows around the world. You’re sharing Christ’s love through practical projects that bring real hope and help to children, families and communities in need.

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

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