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Murang’a woman helps addicts quit alcohol to start businesses

Tuesday January 15 2019

Ms Julia Nyokabi

Ms Julia Nyokabi (centre) with members of Kihoto-Mwihoti Self-Help Group in Kangema, Murang'a County after they harvested potatoes on January 15, 2019. She is helping reformed alcoholics from the region to venture into agriculture and even get married. PHOTO | NDUNG'U GACAHANE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NDUNGU GACHANE
By NDUNGU GACHANE
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A woman from Kangema in Murang’a County has endeared herself to residents through her initiative of “saving a generation” by assisting drug addicts leave the vice and venture into agri-business.

At the same time, Julia Nyokabi is helping the reformed addicts get spouses and pay dowry.

Ms Nyokabi has brought together men who are not married and have been taking alcohol into self-help groups, giving them seedlings to venture into agriculture.

Interestingly Kangema Constituency and its neighbouring Mathioya Constituency will be under sharp scrutiny by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as they are said to be underpopulated.

NOT MARRIED

The philanthropist says she decided to rescue “the Kangema generation” which she says is on the verge of becoming extinct since they do not marry hence they do not reproduce.

She said the move will assist the men to get busy in the farms, giving them a sense of responsibility so that when they marry they will look after their families well.

Speaking in Kenya Njeru on Monday when members of Kihoto-Mwihoti Self-Help Group harvested potatoes, Ms Nyokabi said the proceeds from the sale of the produce will be saved in the group’s account and will assist them continue farming.

“I talked with the authorities and that’s how I was given consent to use public land for the groups to do farming.

“The members will rotate the earnings amongst themselves and when one gets a spouse, I will chip in and assist him pay dowry and each member will also contribute Sh200,” she said during the potato harvesting.

MEMBERS

She revealed that the group has 96 members with 56 of them being under 35 years and are not married.

In Gitugu village, the group has 76 members and none of them is married.

She said those from Gitugu village are bodaboda riders, mostly graduates, whom she has assisted start a chicken rearing project.

“We want them to raise their self-esteem and impact them with the knowledge that they can be self-employed instead of waiting for white collar jobs.

“Riders are also blamed for all manner of vices including insecurity and are often arrested by police on patrol and we want them to have alternative sources of income,” she said.

Mr Ibrahim Menju, the chairman of the Self-help group, said the initiative has helped them quit alcohol and ventured into agri-business and are hoping to do better.

“Today we have harvested three sacks and we intend to plant cabbages to diversify. This has kept us busy and away from alcohol. We plan to have families and to widen the scope of farming,” he said.

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