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Help marginalised people from hunger into hope

The pandemic has pushed millions of families like Josephine’s into hunger. Josephine's life has been on the brink. Her and her children had little to no food to eat.

Will you donate today to help more vulnerable people like Josephine tackle hunger?

Donations will be distributed across VSO’s work.

Small business owner Josephine at home with her children.

Life on the brink

Josephine Akinyi Otieno (33) had a tough childhood growing up in poverty. Her parents were unemployed and it was a home with violence. Her main role was to help graze the few cows the family had and fetch firewood. This situation forced her into marriage age 17. "This pressure is bad and exposes a lot of women to HIV/AIDS. I am HIV positive." 

Life was hard before the pandemic. Without an education, and as a widowed mother of six children, Josephine would spend her days going around to small farms looking for work, as well as foraging for food. Josephine didn’t think things could get worse, they did.

"When the coronavirus pandemic started, people stopped giving jobs on their farms, so I lost my livelihood. Prices of goods started to rise, along with transport costs. Being able to afford food was very difficult. I struggled to pay school fees. Life was hard to bear."

Josephine serving one of her customers.

From hunger to hope

Thanks to VSO supporters, Josephine is now part of VSO's Employment and Entrepreneurship project in western Kenya. VSO provided Josephine with a cash grant to set up her own small business. She set up a roadside business selling beans, maize and vegetables.

VSO volunteer Janet trains and supports Josephine - and other women, young and people with disabilities - on business knowledge and skills such as how to buy wholesale, sell at a profit, save and invest for the future. Janet also supports them in growing their own kitchen gardens to feed their families, helps them access other funding, and brings them together in groups so they can discuss the challenges they face. 

"This has changed my life and that of my family so much. I am able to save and buy food. Our living conditions have improved a great deal. I am a new woman with a business. I feel important and reliable in our society, and I feel settled. I work hard all the time to give my children a better education." 

The world doesn’t give everyone a fair chance to build a better life. But together we can change that. 

You can help more people like Josephine tackle hunger and radically change their futures.  

Donate now