Miriam always new she wanted to be a nurse.

“As a young child, I had a sister who suffered from sickle cell disease, requiring frequent hospital admissions. At the time, my mother would often take me along with my sister to the hospital when she needed treatment and blood transfusions. 

During those visits, I admired the care and compassion shown by the nurses. I remember promising my mother that when I grew up, I would become a nurse.

I was inspired by the way nurses looked after the sick and wanted to follow in their footsteps, driven by the desire to help people, just as those nurses helped my sister.”

In many remote regions of Kenya, nurses may be the only health professionals that communities have access to.

As an Associate Professor Nurse and Midwife at the Department of Nursing at the University of Nairobi, Miriam understands people affected by mental health problems face huge challenges when it comes to getting help. Kenya faces severe shortages of mental health staff, with extremely limited numbers of trained doctors and nurses and only one single hospital fully dedicated to the treatment of mental disorders.

But this does not stop Miriam from dreaming big: “I want to roll up my sleeves and bring care to people most in need. That is why I am doing all I can to start a new mental health clinic for women living in Kibra, on the outskirts of Nairobi.”

Kibra is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest informal settlement and one of the continent’s poorest urban communities. Between 400,000 to 700,000 people are estimated to be living in the settlement. Most families are packed in to poorly ventilated single-room dwellings with mud walls, a corrugated tin roof and mud or concrete floor.

“In Kibra, women and young girls are particularly vulnerable and at risk of falling into poverty,”

says Miriam. Child marriage and teenage pregnancy are common, and many women resort to sex work as the only way to provide for their families. Gender-based violence, HIV infections and substance misuse are common and widespread.

“My dream is to run a free nursing-led mental health clinic for women and girls who suffer so much at the hands of abusers. To open a safe space for them to talk to someone in confidence, receive support, and find hope.”

With Jaya Mental Health’s support, Miriam’s clinic will bring care to hundreds of women and young girls living in one the harshest environments in the world. You can make this clinic a reality.

Give today and help Miriam, to create a safe place for women shunned by society and ignored by most.

Your gift will start those conversations that will save a life.

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thank you for your support and Merry Christmas.