Early childhood development in Kisumu, Kenya
Phyllis is the Mother of Ben
Phyllis, 3-year-old son Ben and his sister are all HIV+
they obtain all their medications from the government hospital every two months.
According to his mother, Ben’s life has changed since he started attending the ECD and is a beneficiary of the feeding programme. He is being educated and is able to speak well and identify various body parts and letters.
Ben acquired his uniform from one of the mentors from his mother’s hospital support group, this included the uniform, socks and shoes but no sweater. Phyllis has been told a sweater costs 600/- (£5 approx.), which is very challenging for her to save.
Phyllis has a total of five children, in addition to, caring for her husband’s first children as a result of their mother dying of cervical cancer in 2008. These children attend the local primary and secondary school. Her second husband died of AIDS as a result from stopping his medication.
Phyllis finds caring for so many children highly demanding, especially, with trying to obtain enough food to feed the whole family. Her income is sourced from working on local rice farms, selling firewood and making charcoal.
In addition, her challenges stem from the discrimination she encounters everyday due to her HIV status, as there remains a high level of stigma within the village.
Ben, although taking medication, still suffers from severe headaches, convulsions and high fevers.
After losing his father, Ben, at only 3 years is aware about the benefits of the medication, that he continues to remind his mother to take his and her medications every night.
Ben’s mother was in disbelief when the Early Childhood Development center started and is overjoyed with the support it offers the children. She believes it allows the children to strive to succeed.
Ben is fascinated with aeroplanes and aspires to be a pilot when he is older.