A New Vision - The Story of John Kiarie
John Kiarie is 28 years old. He lives in Kawangware with his wife and 2 children, and manages the Wasafi Car Wash - a project designated to create employment opportunities for rehabilitated street youths and young adults. John knows from experience the dangers of street life. He was 8 years old when he began living on the streets.
John shares, “I dropped out of school in grade 2 and went to live on the streets, not realizing that this was a highway to hell. I was introduced to cigarettes and glue sniffing. Later, I moved on to marijuana, then graduated to hard drugs.”
John married while he was living on the streets and his wife had 2 children. Being homeless with his family brought a lot of challenges. Cold nights and poorly cooked foods, hard sleeping conditions, and a lack of proper clothes made their lives miserable.
The children developed a lot of infections due to their exposure to the streets. The continual scorn and discrimination the family faced from people was disheartening.
“People called my wife all sorts of names because she loved a street boy. We had no hope. We were a gang of over 50 people and 14 of us decided to come out and get help through the RHYCO program. Because I really wanted to get my life back, I listened to the doctors and counsellors and did what they asked. The program worked really well for me and I am happy to say that my life has changed for the better. I feel like I am living a normal life like any other man and that feels really good.” • John
John’s employment at the Wasafi Car Wash has enabled him to support his family and provide for their basic needs. He is able to pay their house rent and buy food, and continues to work hard to improve his family’s life. John is a good mentor to his peers.
The Car Wash Project is funded by International Needs. Rehabilitated youths and young adults receive basic training on behavioral change, career guidance, and business management. Since the project began, a local Church leader has been following the participants’ progress and encouraging them in their new lives.
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