Vincentian women have been at the forefront of the Vincentian ministry of caring for the sick and the poor. Since the time of Saint Louise de Marillac and Saint Vincent de Paul, the Daughters of Charity have been known as women who put their 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 eastern of the country, the Daughters are working to set up a drop-in centre for children between the ages of 15 and 18. Currently, there is a gap in the services for children over the age of 14. The Daughters want to provide healthcare, two meals a day, and the skills training that will enable at least 20 children to create a sustainable livelihood for themselves. The Daughters also want to involve in this project the members of the newly created conference of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in the Vincentian Parish of St Kizito, as well as the member of 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 ministry with street children.
Further to the south, in Thigio, the Daughters are working to support poor elderly people, some of whom are disabled. These elder and disabled people have been living in unsafe and unhealthy residences … they own their land but have no money to build a proper house. In two cases, their income is barely sufficient to provide them with food. The project involves the construction of four two-room houses with an iron roof, a concrete floor and insulation, known as “mabatis” … this will provide the residents with better living conditions and protection from the weather. The Daughters, together with the local Vincentian priest and the young men and women in the parish, will help build the houses, maintain them and keep them clean.
We hope to see more women-led 13 Houses projects that will change the lives of homeless people around the world.