Meet Mary from Kenya


Mary lives just 10 minutes from Isiolo – a town in Kenya about six hours’ drive from Nairobi.

The climate here is hot, harsh and no stranger to drought.

Mary has come a long way, overcoming some of life’s greatest adversities.

She once struggled to make ends meet, in an abusive relationship, without access or control over the resources she needed to provide for herself and her family.

“I was a victim of domestic violence for a long time. My husband was drunk and lazy. Before I knew how to farm, I used to burn charcoal for some small money. He would beat me often, accusing me of sleeping with other men for money.”

When the violence got worse, Mary took her children, moved to her parents’ house and reported her husband to the police.

She then joined a farmers’ group supported by ActionAid Kenya and learned new farming techniques from experienced farmers. With this support, Mary thrived and started selling spinach and tomatoes. From the profit, she bought onion seeds.


Today, Mary is an energetic, vibrant woman who works very hard farming onions. She has transformed from surviving on just over $1 a day to having enough food and savings to provide her family with a better quality of life. She can now feed her children, pay their school fees and has taken back control of her life.

Mary’s farm is the cornerstone of her livelihood and independence. It stopped her from being afraid.

“Back then, I didn’t consider myself worthy. My farm gave me the confidence to move on with life,” she says.

Mary is now the leader of the Kitos farming group, who has successfully lobbied their county government for support and funding for more seeds and training in farming techniques.

We are committed to empowering more women like Mary to access the training and resources they need to change their circumstances.

Make a donation and help empower women like Mary to take charge of their futures today.  

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