This is the story of Gladys Gacugi Nyaga. Gladys is 37 years old, married to Stephen Nyaga Njue and mother to three children: two girls aged 15 and 10 and a son who is 5 years old.
Gladys and her children live at Kanwa village in Meru county in a rented house. They are members of Kiriribu parish in Chuka archdeaconry: one of the two archdeaconries of Meru Diocese where Church and Community Mobilisation (CCMP) is currently taking place.
Gladys describes their lives before CCMP as ‘hopeless and miserable, without vision or dreams.’ She considers this kind of life as dangerous and vulnerable. She almost shed tears as she narrated the difficulties they have experienced:
They could not manage three meals in a day, their children suffered malnutrition and health problems as a result of poor diet, they could not send their children to school due to lack of school fees, their landlord would sometimes close their house since they could not pay rent and she was embarrassed to seek alternative accommodation for her and the children in the neighbourhood. The villagers referred to her as the “poor one”. They lived an isolated life without interacting with other community members. ‘We feared shame and laughter by the community’.