Annie Njeri Gitu

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A Beacon of Hope and Compassion – Annie Njeri Gitu

Annie Njeri Gitu's story is one of unwavering love, empathy, compassion, and sacrifice that has touched countless lives in her community of Mau Narok and other areas in Nakuru County. For over three decades, Annie has been a beacon of hope for the marginalized and the poor, dedicating her life to serving others with empathy and a fierce determination for social justice. If the quote “Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are”, had a name, it would be Annie Gitu. Her story is a testament to the power of love, sacrifice, and compassion in creating positive change in the world. As a Giraffe Hero, she stands tall among her peers, a shining example of what it means to live a life dedicated to serving others with humility and grace.

Born and raised in Nakuru County, Annie Gitu's journey as a self-built community social worker and a peace creator began with a simple desire to make a difference in people’s lives. Despite facing her own challenges as a wife, mother, and grandmother, Annie's heart has always been open to those in need around her. If a person is going through personal challenges, and their paths cross with Annie Gitu, or if Annie Gitu is informed about specific individuals or communities going through life’s challenges like lack of food, homelessness, lack of clothes to cover, a child not going to school, a family struggling because of sickness, she takes that burden in her heart. Annie Gitu will do anything within her means to try and give support to that individual or community.

You will always find Annie Gitu asking people to donate clothes and other household goods that she can distribute to people who need them. And she always leads from the front. When she is asking other friends to donate, her own donations are the first ones. After the 2007/2008 post-election violence in Kenya, Annie Gitu was on the forefront to visit the internally displaced people in their camps to give them hope, food and clothes. She was doing it in her own capacity and rallying others to join her. She is a compassionate leader. She believes that there is enough for everyone needs but not everyone’s greed.

If she needs to ride on a motorbike or a matatu (public buses) to go visit a sick person or deliver food or clothes, she does it with all the love and humility. With or without convenience, you can be sure for Annie Gitu to show up with courage and compassion. She once had a motorbike accident, that left her with a big wound, while going to reach women in Baringo with the message of peace. That never stopped her from being passionate to keep on serving humanity. Whether others join her or not, Annie Gitu never stops.

Because of her efforts, there are children that have been able to go back to church, there are families that had a meal to eat when they were on the verge of dying for hunger, there are people that have been clothed and their dignities protected, she has provided financial support to individuals who need transport to seek medical care, there are people who were hopeless and frustrated but she gave them moral, spiritual and physical support and they regained their hope to keep on fighting for their lives.

In addition, recognizing the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty, Annie Gitu took it upon herself to be sponsoring and supporting children from underprivileged families, covering their school fees, uniforms, and basic needs. She believes in the transformative power of education and that has inspired her to support the needy children, whenever she can with what she can, to ensure that a child has access to the opportunities they deserve.

As a facilitator with Creators of Peace Circles program in Kenya, Annie Gitu has reached out to many women in the interior villages helping them find inner peace and healing. But she has gone beyond and spearheaded peace in action initiatives that aim to uplift and empower the most downtrodden in her community of Mau Narok. One such initiative is the, "Touch a Life, Make a Difference," which saw Annie Gitu and her fellow members pooling their resources to provide support to families facing sickness, hunger, and other hardships in Mau Narok. Their actions are not just about charity but about fostering a sense of peace, unity, social justice and solidarity within the community.

Even though she doesn’t have a regular income, it is normal for Annie to take the last of her coins or even borrow, to ensure a life is changed, a family is given hope a community is transformed. Her spirit of unselfishness and sacrifice, even when it means going without herself, is one to be admired and exemplifies her deep-rooted commitment to serving others.

At her age, Annie Gitu is supposed to be concerned about her retirement and saving as much as she can for her future. But Annie Gitu is always giving out for those who must also live today. She is hopeful that God will continue to provide for her in her retirement. It takes courage to not be afraid of how the future will be but doing what she feels called to do by God in the present.

Yet, with her boundless generosity came challenges. Many in the community assumes that Annie's acts of kindness means she has an abundance of resources, leading to an overwhelming demand for her assistance. But Annie Gitu's resources are very limited, and she often finds herself torn between helping as many people as possible and facing the disappointment of those she is unable to reach and help. People get offended when she is not genuinely unable to help and make all sorts of judgements and accusations. When these moments happen, they break her heart and make her doubt her work. At times she feels like giving up. But she doesn’t give up. She keeps doing what she can with what she has right where she is.

Annie Njeri Gitu, thank you for who you are in the world. Thank you for being a servant leader. Thank you for modelling unselfishness, love, empathy and compassion. We acknowledge your efforts and courage. You are a Giraffe Hero! We honour and celebrate you!