Christmas festive season has always been a time of celebrations and merriment.
You might, however, be surprised to realize that while you are profusely having fun, surrounded by abundance, joy and laughter, there has always been someone yonder with nothing to fun with.
The orphaned, street children, widows and widowers, and the less fortunate have always been there with us, yet they commonly feel the loneliness and the sting of lack when others are partying.
Inspired by love, moved by his personal experience when his father died and their mum had to struggle for them, working her fingers to the bone to feed, clothe and educate them, Mr. Osborn Moseti chose to change the situation upon growing up.
Born in Kisii, his miraculous growing, together with siblings amid myriad challenges, touched his heart, making him appreciate the struggle made by widows to raise their families, and he resolved that not for his mum alone, but for several other widows, he will change the narrative.
When joy came in the morning and fate became his portion, he went abroad to work in the United States of America and was capacitated to fulfill his dreams.
In 2015, Mr. Moseti and his wife, Adama Moseti, founded Purity International Ministries, an initiative initially aimed at spreading love to several widows from around Kisii town by gifting them with Christmas gifts and putting a smile on their faces.
“In early 2022, the initiative was officially registered in Kenya as a Self Help Group, bearing in mind that the idea is not to make the members recipients of the aid but to uplift them through support, propping them up to start and run their own small business and other income-generating engagements as a group,” explains Cyrus Moseti, the former group’s Coordinator.
During this Christmas season, The Scholar Media Africa visited them on Saturday, December 24, 2022, at the Pentecostal Evangelistic Fellowship of Africa (PEFA) Kisii Cathedral in Kisii town during the charity event meant to give them the festive season’s goodies.
It was the epitome of the joy the society can put on the faces and hearts of the less fortunate during partying time through sharing.
According to Osborn’s mother, Rebecca Moseti, who is the Chairlady of the initiative, it currently has 11 members.
Though the initial members were widows, with time, they have embraced widowers, and three of them are in the initiative.
It draws its membership from the widows and widowers from around the area, from the PEFA church, other churches around, and from not-well-off families led by the widows and widowers.
The now seven-year-old initiative has allowed the widows and widowers to come together, bond, share experiences and thoughts and start different projects for their mutual benefit.
“Every two weeks,” says Mrs. Moseti, “we meet and contribute KSh 250 each and also give foodstuffs and other basic items to one of us, in a merry-go-round. We equally meet after every one month and contribute KSh 500 each, which goes to our account.”
From the savings account, they can borrow zero-interest loans to start or boost their small business or cater for different financial needs.
If a member doesn’t have the amount, however, they are shielded by their colleagues; someone may give for them, to be refunded after the said member receives their own contribution later.
Apart from the loans, merry-go-rounds and other assistance they give to one another when the need arises, they previously had leased land and planted cereals as a group in 2017/18, where they would sell the proceeds and support one another.
On special days like ‘Mothers’ Day’ and ‘Fathers’ Day’, they also gift one another, an in-house plan by the members.
“However, due to a persistent drought season and high cost of farm input, we dropped the idea because the returns weren’t adding up,” says Moseti.
The next year, they got a sponsorship from the well-wishers abroad, where every member received a pair of goats (male and female).
Though the idea was that they bring a lamb from the pair later, they afterward decided to allow the members to own the goats and their offspring, especially due to a lack of a group-owned field in which they could, as a group, keep the flock.
Whenever one of them departs, they wait for communication from the founder, and a replacement process starts, as the Chairlady explained.
The typical number is usually 12 for now, though at some point they had even got to 15.
“So far we’ve lost three members but we have already replaced them,” says Moseti.
During the charity event, Mr. Osborn spoke to the happy mothers and fathers via video call, speaking to their hearts on the essence of sharing, spreading love and living in unity.
Reminding them that Christmas is a time of giving and sharing, he urged them also to share the little they have with their needy neighbors and friends so that everyone may feel the warmth of the festive season.
Mr. Osborn also implored them to live in love and also surrender their lives to Jesus during this period of celebrating the birth of Christ.
The recipients of the love from abroad expressed their joy for receiving the different items: cooking flour and oil, rice, bathing and washing soaps, cereals, sugar, salt, beverages, milk, and other foodstuffs and basic items for their use at home.
“May God bless him more, give him a long life and continue uplifting him for what he is doing to us, and may He provide for him more, enabling him to continue supporting us. We will live to remember and appreciate him throughout our lives,” Caleb Otieno, a beneficiary widower, expressed his joy.
“We are grateful to receive these items, which will help us take care of and celebrate with our children. We will also share with others who don’t have,” Mary Nyaboke, another beneficiary, appreciated.
As widows and widowers, they face different challenges while bringing up their children, as Celina Tio, a widow and beneficiary of the support, narrates.
She expressed her hearty gratitude to the well-wishers for their support because by it, they have put a glimmer in the eyes of their children.
The founder is also concerned about how these widows and widowers would get the items home; he thus facilitates them by catering for all the transportation costs of the items to everyone’s doorstep.
To run the group and be able to gift them on Christmas for the last over five years, Mr. Osborn sources for assistance from other well-wishers abroad.
The combination of the many helping hands sees to it that the initiative keeps running and able to facilitate the members for their festive season.
There are challenges, however, and, though catering for the gifting of the members, the finances have never been sufficient to support them get loans or sufficient assistance to start their own businesses.
They also lack a particular office or piece of land or a place of business for the members, a reason why they are still hosted by the PEFA Kisii Cathedral Church for their affairs.
As for the members, some of them, especially the widows, find serious trouble in inheriting land left by their husbands, and some of their property has been grabbed.
Moseti says the government should ensure that such cases are well looked into and solved for the benefit of the widowed, and the stigmatization combated.
“The desire is to increase the numbers by embracing more widows and widowers. We also plan and look forward to purchasing a piece of land for the group, and also engage in a business opportunity to bring income to the group,” explains Ms. Gladys Bikeri, the Group Coordinator.
Acknowledging the long process required to access the government funds available as loans for such registered groups, she urges the government to seamlessly support such registered groups to allow the members lead worthy lives.
“If we could get more funds, we would have more people on board and keep supporting them,” she adds.
According to Mr. Moseti and his wife, their future plans are to purchase a piece of land from where they would coordinate their activities and also establish a community library which will assist pupils and students from less fortunate backgrounds to access learning and revision revision materials.
Mrs. Moseti, the Purity International Ministries Chairperson, urges the government to look for ways of cushioning widows and widowers by giving them financial support.
“If the government supports us financially to put up and operate our small business, we will be capacitated to help ourselves and our needy neighbors,” she said.
The initiative’s prgress is kept in check, with visits being done by the Coordinator to meet the welfare requirements of the members where she can.
A report is also compiled and shared with the founder and other well-wishers to know how everything is running.
At one point, Cyrus Moseti took time and shot a documentary to capture how the group runs its affairs, tagged Hope for the Kenyan Widows, Part 1, now available on YouTube.
The organization’s website also provides further details concerning the initiative, including how you can channel your generosity to them if you desire to be part of the helping hands.
Sharing, spreading love and putting a glimmer on your neighbor’s face is the best gift you have at your disposal, an available donation you can always spare and award those around you for a happy society.
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