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Martha Anne Green: US Navy Veteran Raising Over 700 Needy Kenyan Children on Army Pension & Selling Dolls

When United States Navy veteran Martha Anne Green was drawing up her retirement plans, making and selling African dolls to raise needy children in Africa was not in the picture. Nonetheless, that is what she chose to pursue.

The 73-year-old US Navy retiree packed her bags and left her home in Texas USA for Kajiado, Kenya where she has lived over two decades, raising over 700 children over the years.

“I have no relatives in this country. If anything, I am not sure which African country I am from originally as my great grandparents went to the United States of America through slavery back in the day.

“Coming to Kenya is purely a calling, and I believe I am only fulfilling God’s purpose in my life. My children are now between 53 and 49 years of age, and they do not understand why I chose to settle in Kenya,” she narrates.

“They keep urging me back to Texas, but I am firm that my work here is not done yet.”

The mother of three has raised many needy children at Christian Hands Children’s Home in Kajiado. Currently she is taking care of about 20 children. Despite the success stories, her journey has not been easy.

Remarkably, Mrs. Green has run a charity home without external sponsorship. She depends solely on her Navy pension and the revenue she generates from selling handmade dolls.

“I entirely depend on my pension from the US Navy to run this place. Since I rent the space, I cannot afford to live in the suburbs. Further, there are needier children here, the souls I target,” she says.

All the children under her care attend school. When she is left alone during the day, Mrs. Green gets to making black dolls which she dresses in Kitenge. She hopes to change the narrative and encourage black girls to feel comfortable in their own complexion.

“I personally source for the vitenges from Nairobi’s downtown. I hope to import a machine from China that will help make the whole black doll-making process easier for me,” she notes.

Martha Green owns a shop at the Imaara Mall along Mombasa Road where the dolls are sold. She intends to write a poems book to go with the dolls.

She also bakes cakes on order to supplement earnings at the home.

“This is a hobby that is helping me supplement my pension, being that times are equally tough economically,” Mrs. Green says.

Running the home has had its fair share of challenges. Mrs. Green has been sued by parents or guardians who want to keep their children away from the home or use them for street begging. She has lost custody of some and won for some.

She also notes that some of the people who have visited from abroad as friends have turned out to have ill motives. She now carefully vets whoever wants to visit the home.

“When I started, I figured educating all the children would be costly, and I resorted to home-schooling, where I would bring in the teachers to come and teach the children from here.

“Soon enough, the government came after me and said I was doing the wrong thing, so I had to enroll them at nearby schools. It is still costly, but by the grace of God, we manage.”

Mrs. Green upholds high standards of discipline at the home and since foundation, none of her girls have ever been victims of teenage pregnancy. Most of her beneficiaries have been girls.

She possesses all legal documents to operate the home and for over two decades has never had a case of mismanagement of mistreatment of the children.

Mrs. Green has even trained Kenyans to run the home in case she goes back home.