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Lost smile returns to vulnerable…

James Momanyi @jamomanyi

Seventy one-year-old Teresia Kamau can’t resist a smile as she ushers me into her home, situated about eight kilometres from Kayole area of Naivasha, where she lives with her 90-year-old husband James Chege.

Mzee Chege has been benefiting from Old Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT) programme since 2013. His wife of many years was registered as the caregiver and has been taking the old man to Naivasha every two months to receive their payout.

“As you can see, we are old and Mzee is sickly because of old-age and this money has been our only hope because our three sons are unemployed. I thank the government for the money because I don’t know where we would be without it, especially now that Mzee can hardly work. He is now like my baby,” Kamau said.

She adds: “Every time the money comes, I call a boda boda operator and together we go to town (Naivasha) with Mzee, to receive the money and bring it home. I use the money to buy food and pay debts, especially from the shopkeeper who gives me maize flour and sugar on credit. I pay him immediately we receive the money.”

She also saves some of the money with the local chama (mery-go-round group) of 200 members who pay Sh250 each every month. The group is divided into smaller groups of 20 where each member pays Sh200 and the remaining Sh50 going to the bigger group. Every month, a few members share the contributions in a merry-go-round format.

“I use the money from the chama to buy goats and chicken which have been multiplying. I sell the goats whenever I have a problem. I thank the government for the money and I pray that they can increase it a little because the price of goats has gone up,” she said.

That is the same appeal made by Pauline Bosibori Sendeu, of Masimba village in Nyaribari Masaba Constituency, who started receiving money from the Inua Jamii initiative two years ago.

“The money has helped me to till and weed my two-acre farm, buy seeds and pay the herdsman who takes care of my three cows. At this age, my bones are too weak to do farm work. I use the money to hire farmhands,” Bosibori explains.

Besides farming, Bosibori has used some of the money to buy cement for the construction of a one-bedroom house which is nearing completion. “At one time, the money delayed and we received an accumulated six-month’s pay.

I used the money to buy cement for the construction of my house,” she said. According assistant chief Job Ombati of Riabigutu sub-location, where Bosibori hails from, the money has had a huge impact in the sub-location, especially in uplifting the lives of beneficiaries. “The money has afforded some respect to the vulnerable beneficiaries and given them a purchasing power.

The money has also had a huge social economic impact in the community because in Riabigutu Sub-location alone, we have about 40 elder citizens who benefit from Old Persons programme,” he said.

“We expect about 60 more to be added in the upcoming 70-years-plus programme. We are talking about a constant Sh400,000 every two months and Sh2.4 million every year circulating in our small economy. This will have a huge spillover on our economy,” said Ombati.

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