Positive Change Does Happen – Meet Isaac & Jakob

Beyond the Orphanage

Brothers Isaac and Jakob were living on the streets in Nairobi, Kenya trying to survive by foraging in the rubbish dumps with other street children, a harsh and terrifying life for two young boys.

Then they heard about our in-country partner Alfajiri’s weekly art workshops. They attended regularly and in this safe space where they could have a meal, take a shower and make art, they began to tell their story.

Abandoned by their parents who were crippled by poverty, the boys were left with an older brother who was unequipped to care for them. They decided to make the dangerous four-day trek from rural Meru (near Mt Kenya) to Nairobi in search for a better life. Instead they found danger, and hardship beyond imaging.

Isaac (left) with his brother in Nairobi town

Isaac (left) with his brother Jakob in Nairobi (Photo supplied by Alfajiri)

One day Isaac, who was sleeping in damp, filthy conditions, collapsed in the street and was admitted to hospital with severe kidney problems. Wood glue addiction (a common drug in Nairobi used by the street children to stave off hunger and cold) and malnutrition added to the severity of his condition. He almost died.

After recovering in hospital, our in-country partner assisted Isaac to enter a rehabilitation centre. There he kicked his addiction, and became healthy again. He was also able to start school, something he longed to do. It was a very positive time for him.

Isaac missed his brother Jakob who he had left in the streets, and we managed to rescue him also. Isaac truly feels the key to his success is the positive love and understanding from his Jakob. As the quieter and more academic of the two boys, he has also been able to give moral support to his brother.

Isaac (right )and brother

Isaac (right) and Jakob (left) (Photo supplied by Alfajiri)

Isaac at graduation from centre

Isaac at graduation (Photo supplied by Alfajiri)

It took more than a year to locate the mother of the boys, but eventually she was found in rural Meru. A slow process of reintegration began and now the brothers spend school holidays with her. The bond between them is growing stronger all the time. Isaac is taking on more responsibilities at home and his mother is slowly getting to know the sons she abandoned as small boys, happy to see them being educated, having hope for the future and being well in health and spirit.

Isaac has now graduated and is training to be a carpenter. He is learning skills that will enable him to make a living and is determined to have a good career. Jakob is studying to be an electrician.

Success like this is not easy for young men pushing against the tide of poverty, addiction and family breakdown. We are so proud of the positive, life-altering changes Isaac and Jakob have committed to. Changes that are made possible because of the generosity of Beyond The Orphanage’s donors which fund the ongoing care and education of these boys.

April 15, 2019

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