Meet Joyce Juma: A life of carrying water was not her future.

Creation, Agriculture , Health

Contributed by: Thrive for Good

“I was the first child of a very young woman of seventeen who was not ready to have a baby. I never met my father, and after one year of giving birth to me, my mother disappeared, so I had to stay with my grandparents, who took care of me. 

Life was hard growing up; I had to do all kinds of heavy duties to please my grandmother, auntie and uncles. Most days were spent carrying gallons of water, fetching firewood, preparing meals for the entire family, and looking after the cattle. I attended school, but there was little time to do any advanced school work. We only stopped to eat one meal a day.

When I completed high school, helping the family became the priority. I felt I was destined to stay home and become a housekeeper.

I was interested in growing a home garden, and after I had it set up, staff from Thrive for Good passed by and asked what I was doing. He shared the vision for the organization, which led to me attending their one-month residential Growing Health training seminar in 2015.

After the seminar, I came back to my home and expanded our garden. In three months, I started three additional gardens with my community at my former secondary school.  

In October of the same year, Thrive was invited to start a local women’s prison training program. The organization asked me to pioneer this first-ever project in local prisons. I had no experience of training more than 20 people, and the first day I went to prison, I had to train 170 inmates. The project kept growing to hundreds of gardens and managing my prison and home duties became tough. It became clear that I needed to focus all my energy on Thrive, which meant relocating for my new profession.

Since then, several prison officials have seen the effectiveness of Life Gardens, and I have started hundreds more at other prison facilities.

In 2020 Thrive offered me a new position as a Training Coordinator. I am now helping mentor people from several different countries through the online learning system called the Thrive Institute.

Looking back at the transformation in my life is incredible because I used to be sick four times a year, but it has been three years since I experienced any sickness.

I know that a life of carrying water is far behind me. Today I am a happily married professional woman with a healthy family.”

Transformational stories like Joyce’s are only possible because of people like you. Thank you for supporting communities and families in need and helping them to have a much better and healthier life.