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Kenyan Age Demands Action activists are full of hope for the future

04 Oct 2010

ADA campaigners in KenyaThis was my first Age Demands Action. I did not know what to expect although my colleague Marion Ouma, who organised last year’s ADA, said that it would be an extremely powerful event.

An extremely powerful event

I got to Uhuru Park together with Nesta Hatendi and Mathew Mang’oka. Some older people from Thika town had arrived. I spent time greeting them and reflecting on how their lives were going. I have for the past year been in and out of Thika documenting their lives. Most expressed that there was a change occurring due to the BIG Lottery project that has been operating in Thika for the past 3 years, providing older people with loans to start income generating projects. It made me wonder how much further they would be in their lives if they got a steady pension from the government.

Older people are full of hope for the future

Liaising with the mediaBy the time the other activists arrived, I had spent a lot of time talking to older people and members of the media. When football legend Joe Kadenge flagged off the march, all of us there were excited to be taking part in this event. Donned in t-shirts with messages pertaining to ADA and HIV and AIDS, we proudly marched to the Railway Club. The band played on when we got to the door of the hall. This was, for me, the most powerful moment. All these older people, irrespective of their age or physical difficulties, broke into song and dance. They were full of hope for the future.

The start of the marchI was fortunate to accompany a delegation to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Unfortunately, the Minister was not in, but a member of our delegation, Paul Muthee, was allowed to go up to his office and deliver the petition to the Minister’s personal secretary.

I had a strong feeling of pride, hope and commitment

By the end of the day, as tired as I was, I had a strong feeling in me of pride, hope and commitment. I was proud that my job is making a difference in people’s lives. I was filled with hope that the messages we passed on to the government would result in changes in the lives of older people and their dependents.

Most importantly, I left there committed to do more to improve the lives of those who make it possible for me to have a job: the older people.

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Author profile

Gacheru Maina
Country: Kenya
Job title: Regional communications officer, HelpAge

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.