Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Miriam (left) and Janet (right) watched their widowed mother Monica (middle) constantly reach out to help others even though her life was not without challenges.
Knowing that a good education was the only way to a sustainable life, Monica was committed to ensuring that all five of her children got a good education. The girls remember a lean upbringing with plenty of laughs. The one thing that stood out to them was the generosity of their mother. She modeled for them the grace and privilege of serving others and making a positive difference.
When Monica retired and moved from the city to a rural community in Kangundo, Kenya, she was struck by the plights of grandmothers raising children who had been orphaned by HIV and AIDS, and AIDS widows struggling to raise children as they attempted to cope with their own health issues. She rallied the community to come alongside these women and their families.
Miriam and Janet got involved and invited others to explore avenues to empower the women to access the means to provide for their families. KIZIMANI, a Swahili word whose root means "by the water well," was founded with the intent of finding sustainable and culturally relevant ways to help impoverished communities break the cycle of poverty.