Wagoma orphans & widows centre- the story of roseline orwa

 ” I Am a woman,  a widow and  a Widow activist. I am  mother of 166 children and more.  I have never had a child of my own, perhaps I never will. In fact I do have over 200 children under my care-living and sharing my life daily. I feed over 300 children every weekend. I don’t know whether that’s being a Mum. But I do in my own way help mother the world.

 I run Rona Foundation where Wagoma Orphans & Widows Center falls under . It’s become a full time job. It’s the job I do, I no longer get the time to run my design business. Previously I owned an importation business which I closed down  two years ago.  I go to school as a sponsored student at Amani.  

Wagoma Orphans and Widows Centre was born out of hopelessness to be the center of hope for many. I had walked out of my 1st marriage when the abuse became too much in 2000, the emotional and mental  and physical abuse became unbearable because I was not able to have children. I still have not had children of my own. I later remarried and got widowed in 2007 after a short stint in a happy marriage. My life changed. And I got transformed. I wanted a place where childless, divorced, widowed women met. Or any of the things I had been through or seeing and experiencing at the time was discussed. I found none. I started creating this forums in my own house in Nairobi. Friends started turning up with friends.

The afternoon events turned to overnight stays. We laughed and cried. We danced and prayed. We shared without judgment. I realized my pain was not mine alone. I discovered others needed this forums too. That led to the birth of Rona Foundation that I founded 2 yrs ago that empowers widows and supports orphans, alongside campaigning for society to ‘Stop Widow Abuse’.

My house became small, I closed my business, went and bought land and that became the model loss & grief center known as Wagoma Orphans & Widows Centre in Bondo, and the day 60 orphans came, to date I have 166 orphans under the program and over 300 feeding, getting medical, uniforms, clothes and/or any support as I can within the Centre.


I am passionate of my cause because I have experienced pain, I know loneliness, I have gone through stigma and abuse, poverty, I know of HIV/AIDS, loss and grief. At one time, I needed just a friend, a voice- I needed support. I got none. And because I don’t want anyone to go through, what I went through. And because I know God. And that am able to be there for someone in that place where I was and have been many times. And because I have healed,  through helping others. Because it’s the only way I know how to live.


I believe that what I do makes a difference. So far, I know no other organization campaigning for society to “Stop Widow Abuse’ in Kenya with an intention for the country to create ‘Widowhood Laws. That’s my dream. I am reviving a dying village in Bondo. Wagoma has 85% widows and orphans with no hope, HIV/AIDS is high. The culture, customs  and traditions is a place no one dares to question. And am asking society to relook it. I have built 14 widow houses, sent 2 boys to university, 26 children in secondary, 148 in primary, created 10 widow support groups, bought land and started Wagoma Orphans and Widows Centre, mostly alone from my own resources, saved lives, fed and clothed the old, rescued HIV dying patients.  I feed over 300 children every weekend…well, what’s impact? If one life is saved, one child gets food, one widow re-builds her life, that’s my joy. I share my life daily with so many people from across the world, am just doing what I love. And that’s all I can do.  

It’s been amazing  running the center! at the same time it is challenging with endless needs. It has been life transforming for me and the people I serve. I don’t know how I have kept it going. I closed my business to do it- and my savings too has gone. I get one off support from friends and strangers alike, social media and networks of friends. But daily, I get from tailoring business. And the little design work I do. It’s not been easy and It doesn’t look to be easy soon. I keep asking God to make away, and hopefully someone, or an organization will come along to help me, help the children. Meanwhile I do what I can, daily.

The challenges we face are so many, sicknesses. Lack of food. In February, a child died when I reduced feeding to once a day. clothes and shoes are inadequate and I don’t have enough sleeping space for the children. Some live with my aged mother. I have to send some back daily to caregivers each night after feeding for there’s nowhere to sleep. I don’t have the resources to do what I do. But it’s better than nothing.

Am doing what I love. I love serving and helping people. I have been doing it all my life somehow. I don’t see it as a burden. Am fulfilled and complete doing what I do. Am happy doing it. It’s the joy, smiles and happiness that I experience daily that I live for. It’s not a job to me, it’s how I know how to live. Am just living my life. I don’t need much to do it. So long as am well and healthy. I would like people to join me in this cause.

I need help….I have the land and need money to build at least a hall and upgrade the centre. I teach nursery under a tree. I can’t pay the workers, not even the cook, some volunteer and stay, others come and go. It’s too much work for one woman- I wish I could have even two staff but I can’t for how will I pay them? I just go on. I don’t know who funds organizations like this one, I keep on getting regrets. It’s so far, over 500kms away from Nairobi. No road, no power, if it rains-you can’t get there, so it’s hard to get noticed or organizations to come to us. People only help city needs, no one thinks of rural needs. It pains when I see how neglected it is for us.

People can sponsor the children with school fees. Support the centre with donations. Dry food. Clothes and shoes. Medical supplies. Blankets. Organizations can build for us even a dormitory or a hall. Or support a widow’s house. There are endless needs here. Trainings are also needed for the widows. Skills, and knowledge are lacking in these regions. Am open to possibilities in these areas,  and especially to open the region that is worth much more than is currently doing. “

 Get In touch with Roseline: Her contacts:


Email: roseline@ronafoundation.co.ke

Tel: +254 723238812

Afya Maisonettes, Door 6, Kamburu Drive, off Ngong Rd,

P.O. Box 55212 – 00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Blog:  http://roselineorwablog.tumblr.com/

Skype: @roselineorwa @ronafoundation

Website: www.ronafoundation.co.ke;

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WagomaOrphansWidowsCentre

Rona Foundation with http://modernwidowsclub.com/


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