Josephine, 55, Kenya
Gacheru Maina/HelpAge International Josephine is 55 and lives in Mangu, in the Thika district of Kenya. She runs a small shop where she sells food, sweets, stationery and mobile phone cards.
She counts her blessings every day, and thanks God for giving her the strength and opportunities that she has.
But it wasn't always like this. Josephine has faced setbacks that have made her question her faith and her will to go on with life.
Josephine and her husband had six children and were happy. Their children grew up and went off to lead their own lives, but then things took a turn for the worst.
Mother to many
In 2002, one of Josephine's daughters died of AIDS, leaving behind her daughter who is now at high school.
Josephine's second daughter, died in 2006 from a non-AIDS related illness, leaving behind five young boys. Four of the boys were at primary school and the last born was still in nursery.
Two years later, a house fire gutted the home of another daughter who was living in Nairobi. She died in the blaze, leaving behind a baby girl who is now in nursery school. All seven orphaned children are now being cared for by Josephine.
News of her situation reached other members of the Mangu community. In 2007, a group of women from HelpAge's partner the Integrated AIDS Programme (IAP) came to visit her. They invited her to join one of their meetings.
From adversity comes strength
"I met a lot of women in a similar situation to me," she says. "IAP taught us about farming and other business ventures."
Josephine, began a business selling charcoal and vegetables. When she found out that the owner of a building was looking to rent out rooms, she decided to open a shop.
But Josephine was inexperienced and business was tough. Out of necessity, Josephine and her family ended up consuming most of what they were supposed to sell.
Josephine continues: "Then HelpAge came along and I was able to get a loan from them. They also taught me more about how to run a business.
"I get my own household supplies from the store, and school supplies for the children. But now I keep strict records so that I can monitor our expenses and ensure the business still runs well."
A brighter future
Josephine is pushing on with business, despite the harsh economic climate. Agriculture is the main source of income in Thika, and the drought has gone on for so long that farmers do not have much money to buy from her shop.
But the rains have finally arrived and Josephine looks forward to business picking up. "At least the children are able to attend school and they have enough food to eat," she says optimistically.
A deeply religious woman, she can now find the faith to go on looking after her grandchildren. Josephine says that since she got her loan and learned better business skills, she feels more positive about her life and that of her orphaned grandchildren.
"I have stopped hating myself because I always wondered why God is doing this to me. I would often break down in tears. Now, I have strength. I pray a lot and talk to people rather than having heavy thoughts and bad feelings."
See Josephine in her store