Philemon

Sheila and David’s marriage were blessed with two children, Philemons and Maureen. Unfortunately, David lost his life to HIV/AIDS in 2007. Following his death, Sheila had to drop out of college at the age of 21 to raise her children and provide for the family.

Sheila left Philemon and Maureen in the care of their neighbors while she looked for casual labor. She was devastated that she too fell ill with AIDS. She later decided to move to Eldoret to live with her parents in her last days of life. Five years ago, only at 26 years old, Sheila lost her battle to AIDS, leaving behind Philemon and Maureen under the care of their aged grandparents.

Philemon’s dream was to continue school. A dream that sounds simple but also seems far. At six years old, Philemon had to work to help his grandparents. He herded cattle for his neighbor in exchange for food and a little cash. Because of this, his school attendance was sporadic. He missed school or had to leave early to complete his duties at home.

“It was very frustrating for me. There were many times I contemplated of running away from home,” recalled Philemon.

And he did run away. But after several days, he came back home because he realized he had nowhere to go.

Youthful Faces (YF) learned about Philemon and Maureen’s story and visited them. Philemon joined the YF family in 2016. Maureen already participated in a program with a different organization.

YF enrolled Philemons into Tumaini Primary School, a boarding school near his grandparents’ home. Philemons turns 10 this month and he is in sixth grade.  His teachers said that Philemons is always eager to learn and shows remarkable improvement since he first started school.

Happy birthday to this resilient young boy! We are delighted that he no longer has to worry about herding cattle for cash. We are happy that he no longer has to worry about where his next meal will come from. We are glad that he can now focus on his school and enjoy his childhood.