Daughters of Charity in Kitale (left) and Thigio (right) Photo: Dee Mansi

Vincentian women have been at the forefront of the Vincentian task of tendering for the sick and the poor. Since the time of St Louise de Marillac and St Vincent de Paul, the Daughters of Charity have been crucial to put words into actions. In Kenya, the Daughters of Charity have joined the 13 Houses Campaign with two projects, one supporting street children and another one for the elderly.

In the street of Kitale, a city in the east of the country, the Daughters are working to set up a drop-in centre for children between 15 and 18 years old. Currently, there is a gap in the services for children over 14. The Daughters want to provide healthcare, two meals a day, and the skills to create sustainable livelihoods for at least 20 children. The Daughters also want to involve the newly created SSVP conference in the Vincentian Parish of St Kizito, as well as the Congregation of the Mission. The Daughter’s initiative will expand the area of Catholic outreach services for the homeless in Kenya by adding this new involvement with street children.

Further to the south, in Thigio, the Daughters are working to support poor elderly people, some of which are disabled. They have been living in premises that are unsafe and unhealthy. They own the land but have no money to build a proper house; in two cases, their earning is barely enough to feed themselves. The project aims to build four two-room houses with an iron roof, a concrete floor and insulation, known as “mabatis”, that will provide them with better living conditions and protection from bad weather conditions. The Daughters, alongside the local Vincentian priest and the Parish youth, will help build the houses, maintain them and keep them clean.

We hope to see more women-led 13 Houses projects to keep changing the lives of homeless people around the world.