Peter holds a handful of the charcoal that he sells to sustain his family.
Jan 23 2017

Hard-working father of eight

Peter holds a handful of the charcoal that he sells to sustain his family.

Peter holds a handful of the charcoal that he sells to sustain his family.


Peter, from Kenya, is 48 years old and a single father of eight children. Peter supports his family through a charcoal business, which he was able to expand with the help of the Unbound mother’s group to which he belongs, and support from the sponsorship of two of his children.

“I had two wives,” Peter said. “One wife died while giving birth to our daughter. … [My second wife and I] had a conflict, and she walked away from our children and me. I have since adjusted and decided to take up life as a single father.”

But being a single father can be a tough job.

“Bringing up children is not easy,” Peter said. “I did not know how hard it would be. Providing for them materially and emotionally is quite exhausting for a single parent. I have had to grow a thick skin, to be able to go without what I need personally, so that they would have all they need. My children are my priority.”

Fortunately, Peter didn’t have to go without a support system for long. Unbound had a program in his neighborhood, and soon enough a solution presented itself.

“Some of the women in the mother’s group knew my late wife,” Peter said. “They knew the challenges I was facing bringing up my children, so they recruited two of my children into the sponsorship program.”

Peter’s son Delic was sponsored by Anne from New York, and his daughter Esther was sponsored by Cecelia, also from New York.

Peter started receiving assistance with the school fees and supplies for the two children who were sponsored, and the entire family benefited from the nutritional support. Because the Unbound program allows families to make their own decisions, he was able to decide where the assistance could be put to best use.

Peter joined the local mother’s group and became an active member. Though the majority of members are women, they do allow fathers to join in some instances.

“We are two men in the group, so I do not get to feel out of place,” Peter told us with a laugh. “I have been able to take up two loans from the group. I used the money to expand my charcoal business.”

Peter pours out a bag of charcoal to be divided into smaller amounts.

Peter pours out a bag of charcoal to be divided into smaller amounts.

Peter first learned the charcoal business from his own father. As a young man, he helped his father make and sell charcoal. Now, Peter purchases the charcoal wholesale in bulk and sells it in his community in smaller amounts. It is a difficult job, but it sustains his family and he enjoys it.

“It helps me provide for my children,” Peter said. “Though some people consider it dirty, I do not let that put me down. I respect my job, and do it to the best of my ability.”

Peter is able to motivate himself to do his best every day knowing that he is doing it for his family.

“Knowing that my children look up to me is my motivation,” he said. “It is my responsibility to take care of them. My parents were not in a position to take me to school, so I need to give my children what I lacked, growing up.”

Peter’s story is a testament to the way Unbound’s program lifts families out of poverty by encouraging mutual support and assistance, both within local communities and through the help of a sponsor.

“To those who have sponsored my two children, I am truly grateful. They have lifted my family, my business and our living standards. I thank God for sending Unbound my way to offer me a helping hand.”

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