Who We Are
Addressing Violence against Women and Children from Conception to Natural Death
We are committed to creating a society where the dignity of human life, women and children, including the unborn are free from violence and unjust social structures.
The Mary & Joseph Life Center is located at St. Josphat’s House, in the outskirts of Nairobi where seven informal urban settlements or slum areas – Kawangware, Kabiria, Satelite, Kangemi, Dagoretti, Waithaka, and Kibera – interface with or are close to each other. The Center is also accessible from Mathare and Kariobangi slums.
The three main purposes of the Mary and Joseph Life Center are 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 baby(ies) born.
- Educational workshops/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.
- Counseling, medical support, guidance, and empowerment to women who have had abortions and are seeking assistance for trauma, self-esteem and healing in one form or another.
Thus, the Center, supports a woman by providing care and support during the prenatal period and an opportunity for her and her newborn baby to live as a family unit. This involves promotion of the wellbeing and dignity of women, children (unborn and born), motherhood, parenting and family. The MJLC is a day care facility, not a live-in center.
Furthermore, women who have had abortions and are seeking assistance of one form or another will also be able to receive counselling/spiritual/medical support and guidance from the Center. The Center will assist women who have made the difficult decision or were coerced into terminating their pregnancy, to instill renewed self-respect, and to give empowerment on how to be leaders to other women and girls and families facing a similar predicament. The Center will provide trauma healing and other forms of physical and psychological assistance related to past abortion experiences. At the core of our ethos and service will be the commitment to respect and dignity, and to show compassion for everyone it can possibly help without exception.
Power Imbalances Endured by Women and Girls
Power imbalances and a lack of morality, ethics and rule of law are some of the major factors that have created a paradigm in which women and children are frequently treated violently. Women are often placed in difficult situations with decisions being made for them. Despite the significant proportion of young people residing in slum communities, little attention has been applied to the sexual and reproductive health challenges they face during their transition to adulthood within their harsh environment. The informal marginalized urban settlements create a confluence of factors that place adolescents at heightened risk of poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Consequently, the rise in unintended pregnancies and irresponsible sex, especially in the urban slums, is among the most troubling public health problems. It is a major reproductive health issue imposing socio-economic-psychological-spiritual burdens, among other problems, on young women, children (unborn and born), and families – nuclear and extended – at large.
Within the framework of human rights and human dignity, our work ethic will try to reduce or eliminate immoral, unethical, and illegal abortions killing human life in the womb. The Center will help to transform the physical-psychological-spiritual damage inflicted on pregnant mothers and their families, and avoid the termination of the lives of innocent unborn babies. Our services will include access to counseling and prenatal crisis support during pregnancy, and reproductive health information to educate women about their bodies and prevent crisis pregnancies in the future.
There is an urgent need for professionally administered services for women in crises pregnancies, who are considering or being forced to have abortions, to have opportunities to continue with their pregnancies. In the interest of those living in informal marginalized urban settlements and rural locations, often suffering the negative impacts of violent conflict and war, our Center will be equipped with high quality counseling and related services, as well as utilizing all other related medical, psychosocial and spiritual institutions located in adjacent areas.
We seek to provide a loving and empowering environment, emotional and spiritual support, immediate and practical guidance, pregnancy information and counseling, prenatal health and parental education and career advice. We will endeavour to link the well-being of women to that of the child (unborn and born), parenting, the family, and to the health of society as a whole. Empowering and/or restoring the dignity of women damaged in any way by past abortions is of vital importance in the ministry of MJLC. We believe that all women should have access to the information, support and understanding necessary to make informed decisions regarding their lives, that of their children (unborn and born) and the resilience needed for family life ahead.
True equality and social inclusion requires social protection systems to ensure that no human being, from conception to natural death, is denied his or her right to life and dignity. Particular attention should be given to the unborn who are voiceless, yet endangered, hoping someone will speak for them. The MJLC programmes will seek to rescue pregnant women and children (unborn and born), from violence in informal marginalized urban settlements and other locations where the organization serves. Everyday women in Eastern Africa face crisis pregnancy situations, threatening their own and their child’s dignity. Medical (physical and psychological), spiritual, emotional and economic livelihood resilience support are essential to those in crisis and MJLC is the first Center of its kind in Nairobi offering this opportunity.