By: Sr. Jovalet Ariho BA, MA Candidate
It is within an era characterized by immense and rapid social changes and evolving family dynamics that the Mary and Joseph Life Center (MJLC) operates. MJLC works toward actualizing its vision of ‘a society where the dignity of human life, women and children, including the unborn, are free from violence and unjust social structures,’ in this ever-changing world. For the past 18 months, the MJLC has grown to be a remarkable institution making a difference in the lives of diverse marginalized groups of people. More than 90 educational workshops and seminars have been implemented, empowering 2,692 women in informal urban settlements and slums with supportive guidance: psychological, spiritual, and economic livelihood resilience; 731 pregnant girls and women benefited from ultrasound (sonogram) services (since Sept, 2022); and 233 clients (individuals and groups) engaged in more holistic and intensive counseling.

Sr. Catherine Mutua, Dipl. Community Development and Social Worker engaging with some women and children benefiting from the support of the Mary and Joseph Life Center (MJLC) during a community outreach activity in Waithaika urban informal settlements (slums).

With its mission at the heart of promoting the human rights and dignity of women and children, the Center has emerged as a beacon of hope for countless families, particularly young girls and women in crisis pregnancy, single mothers and fathers, teenage girls and boys, youth, women in commercial sex work, young mothers and fathers, school-going children (Class 8 and Form 4 leavers), and parents of children with disabilities through different empowerment workshops and seminars. Training workshops are fundamental in empowering these groups of people with the knowledge and skills to address many aspects of life such as family life and conflicts, nurturing healthy relationships, fertility care and support, theology of the body, promoting the sanctity of life, mental health, among others.
The environment where the Mary and Joseph Life Center (MJLC) operates.

Promoting the Dignity of Life

One of the primary purposes of the Mary and Joseph Life Center (MJLC) is to offer pregnant women and girls, fathers responsible for the pregnancy, and families, who are considering and/or are being coerced to have abortions, other options to have their babies born. Central to the teachings of Mary and Joseph Life Center is the sanctity of life. In a world that often challenges the value of life in various ways but most especially abortion, MJLC stands firm in its commitment to upholding the sanctity of every individual, most especially the unborn. Through thought-provoking discussions, ethical reflections, and psychosocial support, participants and clients are encouraged to embrace the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.

Sr. Sarah Ngigi KRCHN, MJLC’s Nursing and Counseling Officer engaging single mothers from Kawangware urban informal settlements (slums) on the sanctity of life.

Empowering Young and Single Mothers

In empowering young adults and single and young mothers, Mary and Joseph Life Center has recognized the unique challenges they face in today’s society. These challenges often encompass financial strains, emotional stressors, family issues, and a lack of a dependable support system. The Center has tailored its training programs to cater specifically to these women offering them psychosocial support and guidance in areas that can transform their lives and their families. These training workshops are anchored on the second purpose of the MJLC, which is to offer educational workshops and seminars that are oriented to help prevent crisis pregnancies and help those already in need with supportive guidance for psychological, spiritual, and economic livelihood resilience.
Sr. Catherine Mutua, Dipl. Community Development and Social Worker engaaging young mothers from Kabiria urban informal settlements (slums) on the value of self awareness in motherhood.

Sr. Lucy Njori B. Com, St. Josphat’s House Projects Administrator being presented with the transport for the environment where the Mary and Joseph Life Center works. Fr. Patrick, the founder of the center, in the background with some team members.

Family Communication, Relationship Building and Conflict Resolution

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship, particularly within families. The training programs at MJLC delve into the intricacies of nurturing healthy connections between family members. Participants learn to cultivate bonds built on trust, mutual respect, and shared values, from parents and children to siblings and extended family.

Mary and Joseph Life Center’s training programs emphasize the art of active listening, open dialogue, and empathetic expression. Through interactive workshops and seminars, participants are equipped with the tools to communicate more effectively with their families, creating an environment of understanding and harmony. Additionally, the Center empowers individuals with skills to address conflicts and navigate disagreements in a constructive and respectful manner.

Sr. Jovalet Ariho BA (MA Candidate), Shalom-SCCRR in-Training Capacity Program, MJLC’s Community Development and Social Worker in an interactive discussion with young mothers on the importance of effective communication in their families.

Family Well-being and Mental Health

Recognizing that physical and emotional health are interconnected, the Center places a strong emphasis on promoting family health and well-being. Through informative sessions on nutrition, stress management, and mental health awareness, families gain a comprehensive understanding of how to lead healthier lives together. By encouraging a holistic approach to well-being, MJLC equips families with the knowledge and tools to support healthy lifestyles. The individual and group counseling has seen persons going through difficult distressful situations – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – and other mental health challenges, assisted and guided toward healing.

Mrs. Nancy Mirera MA, MJLC’s Counseling Psychologist and Mental Health Expert facilitating an educational workshop on the importance of seeking psycho-social support to a group of youths from the urban informal settlements (slums).

Creating Lasting Impact

The impact of Mary and Joseph Life Center’s training programs is profound and far-reaching. By conducting community outreach programs, counseling, valuable life skills, and fostering a sense of community, the Center not only empowers individuals but also strengthens the fabric of society. Participants leave with renewed confidence, improved relationships and a sense of purpose that ripples through their families and community.

Sr. Lucy Njori B. Com, St. Josphat’s House Projects Administrator and Sr. Catherine Mutua, Dipl. Community Development and Social Worker with youths from Dagoretti urban informal settlements after a successful Educational Workshop on self-awareness.

In a world where the importance of family is often overlooked, Mary and Joseph Life Center’s commitment to nurturing stronger bonds, resolving conflict, promoting healthy relationships, and valuing the sanctity of life is truly commendable; a beacon of beacons! As it continues to offer guidance and psychosocial livelihood resilience support, MJLC is shaping a future where families thrive, the sanctity of life is upheld, and the beauty of human connection is celebrated. Thank you to our donors and partners who have helped MJLC to grow and actualize authentically its mission.

Author: Sr. Jovalet Ariho BA (MA Candidate), Shalom-SCCRR In-Training Capacity Program

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