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Valerie Ochola

I was born in 1972 in Kisumu town, Nyanza Province. I enjoyed my childhood with my 5 brothers and 2 sisters, but lost 3 siblings along the way. I attended school up to secondary level but my parents could not afford further education.

I moved to Eldoret in 1993 and worked in several supermarkets for a period of ten years. I got married in 1996 and had 3 children. Tragically, my first born girl died at only one day old.

My husband and I discovered our positive HIV status after the birth of our second child. Since then we have struggled but have come to terms with living with HIV. I am one of only a few women who have not been rejected by my husband and, happily, we remain a family unit.

I joined Imani Workshop in 2007. I worked in the clay department. I did not realize that I had artistic talent. I continue to work hard and develop my style. Despite a rough start in the program due to health challenges and hardship, I have shown tremendous dedication and remain thankful to Imani for stabilizing my work and my life.

“I did not imagine I could become an artist. When given a canvas I feel motivated and encouraged to aim higher. I really appreciate the opportunity of being a member of Imani Artist Collective. I feel inspired and the art flows through to the end of the creative process.”

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