Former Kenyan footballer Vincent Kwarula has undertaken to settle a homeless woman and her family he met in the streets of Nairobi during a recent visit.
The retired right-back is currently based in the USA where he works as a physical education teacher and coach at a renowned football academy in New York.
During his recent visit to the Kenyan capital to check on his extended family, Kwarula noticed 32-year old Ann Wanjiru Muchina and her two-month-old son begging for money from passers-by along Ronald Ngala Street within Nairobi’s central business district.
"It is the sight of the infant crying that made me take interest. He was probably hungry," Kwarula told Nation.Africa
He then discovered that the woman was a homeless mother of eight.
"My uncles chased me from our home in Molo (Nakuru County) when my mother died. We have an active succession case involving our family land at the Nakuru Law Courts. My only brother disappeared and my husband, who was the father of five of my children, died last year. Some of my children are in a children's home," the woman told Nation.Africa.
"I have been in the streets for five months now. It has not been an easy venture even though I make between 300 and 500 shillings in a day, or at times nothing. I'm consistently harassed by the county government askaris; they beat us up, demand or steal our money. Some street children abuse drugs in the presence of my children,” she adding, saying that going to the streets was her last option
The former Harambee Stars fullback, who also owns the Kwarula Society for Kenyan Education, has taken the mother and her children off the streets to a house in Githurai where he has paid a year's rent.
Kwarula knows a thing or two about a tough early childhood, having grown up in Nairobi’s Kawangware slums before joining club football.
He was part of the Kenya Breweries (now known as Tusker FC) team that made history by securing qualification to the finals of the 1994 Africa Cup Winners Cup following wins of Seychelles side ANSE Reunion and Gabon's Mbilinga FC in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
Harambee Stars player
He also formed part of the Harambee Stars squad, managed by the late former German coach Reinhard Fabisch, which narrowly missed missed qualifying for the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup.
He then quit football aged 30 and relocated to the USA where he graduated with a bachelor of business administration degree at Southern Connecticut State University and a Master’s degree in the same field at the Manhattan Bille College in New York.
"Education is more important than anything else, which is why I will ensure these kids go to school. Their mother is also interested in a tailoring course and we will see what we can do.
"There are very many women on these streets and I cannot explain why I decided to do this to her. But I believe changing her life is the best thing that can happen to them (family)," he explained.