Hope amidst poverty
Jennifer was born in the slums of Korogocho, Kenya. Raised by her single mother in often unsanitary conditions, her mother provided for their family on less than $1 a day. Life in the slums was brutal; safety, meals and an education were not certainties; and unemployment, crime, prostitution, drugs, and domestic violence were everywhere.
Being raised in poverty left Jennifer feeling useless, voiceless, and hopeless. However, life changed when she was enrolled in a child sponsorship program and received nutritious meals, medical care, and schooling.
Through encouragement and support of her social workers and the sponsorship program, Jennifer learned that she could be successful, she did have a voice, and God had a plan for her life.
For the first time as a small child – she saw hope. From that time on she strived for excellence, regardless of her surrounding circumstances. When Jennifer was 14 years old, her mother died, leaving her to care for her brothers, but she never lost hope.
A call to the legal profession
In tenth grade, inspired by the culture of corruption around her, Jennifer decided to become a lawyer so that she could influence her world and speak for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves.
Jennifer went on to receive a full scholarship from Compassion International that kick-started her law studies. In addition, she went on to successfully complete the following:
- Admission to the Bar as Advocate of the High Court of Kenya;
- Exchange program with Norwegian Church Aid working on Human Rights – Oslo, Norway
- Advanced Masters in Human Rights – Oslo, Norway
- LLM in Public International Law – Nairobi, Kenya
- LLM in Comparative Constitutional Law – Budapest, Hungary
Jennifer’s disadvantaged start in life has made her appreciative of the greater social issues that stem from poverty. In particular, her interest work and thesis relates to:
- Youth inclusion;
- Peace building
- Training on Gender;
- Conflict analysis;
- Child Soldiers; and
- The protection of cultural rights of indigenous people
Jennifer now works as a State Counsel for the Office of the Attorney General & Department of Justice in Nairobi, Kenya reporting to the Chief Litigation Counsel and providing legal expertise to Government ministries. She draws regularly on her experience of working with various church organizations, conflict analysis and peace building initiatives.
“It makes me cry all the time when I think of how far God has brought me, from the ditches of poverty to this. I am proof that indeed Compassion (Child Sponsorship) releases children from poverty in Jesus’ name. My children will never live in poverty, my children will know the word of God”
– Jennifer Gitiri
Words of encouragement
One of Jennifer’s favourite bible quotes relating to her legal work is:
May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
– Psalm 90:17
If you’re a Christian working in the legal profession, Jennifer has these words of encouragement for you:
Don’t live in mediocrity. Let God’s Word shine on your ways and direct your path toward the life of victory He has promised you!