Duncan is from Itoloni, Mwingi district, Kenya. His story is filled with sorrow and sadness, but also love and hope. Looking at him, you will only see a strong boy who is happy and determined.
Kanyolo and Sivi Ngwau lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. Their father was the first one to pass away in 2005. The mother, unable to overcome the disease, passed away one year later.
After the passing of their parents, Kanyolo who is the oldest dropped out of school to take care of his two young siblings. Taking care of them meant getting up early every morning, helping them getting ready for school, and making sure they have a meal before heading for school.
After his brothers and sisters left for school, Kanyolo went to his neighbor’s farm and worked for long hours. For his work, he earned a pound of corn and beans. Kanyolo would try to make sure that his siblings had another meal before they went to bed. Many days, they went to bed without a meal.
Two years after his parents passed away, his sister, Nzuna fell ill. Sadly, Nzuna passed away too. This was a big blow for the family, especially for Kanyolo who worked very hard to make sure his siblings were well and healthy.
Feeling that he had failed his task as the protector of the family, Kanyolo fell into depression. But Kanyolo realized that he has a younger brother who still needs him. So, he decided not to dwell on his past and to continue on building a better life for him and his brother. His pastor helped Kanyolo through series of counseling, and Kanyolo was back on his feet!
The two brothers were happy when their grandmother moved in to live with them. Although the grandmother was not able to do much due to her age, her presence meant a lot to the two brothers. Unfortunately, she too fell ill and passed away. The two brothers were left home along again.
A few months after their grandmother passed away, the two brothers’ uncle appeared. Instead of offering his hands to help, the uncle actually tried to evict them from their parent’s land, the only property left behind by their parents.
In less than four years, Kanyolo went through situations that are unimaginable. He lost four family members and most of their land. However, the fire inside Kanyolo never fades away. If you talk to him, you’ll see a young boy full of dreams, hope, and love for others.
The two brothers’ resilience impressed and moved us at Youthful Faces. We moved in to help them achieve their full potential. Youthful Faces reached out to a counselor close to their village and made sure the two boys get the needed help. Youthful faces also reached out to the local authority to help them get back the land they lost to their uncle. And they did!
Youthful Faces made sure these two brothers were enrolled back in school, Kanyolo is currently in 12th grade and his brother Sivi is in 10th Grade.
At Youthful Faces family values is what guides our work. We believe family is there to support us in times of trouble. When life throws unimaginable tragedy at us, it is the family that gathers around and offers their hands for us to hold until we can walk on our own again. We are working hard to offer our hands to our children to hold until they can walk by themselves.