Sacrificing in Success: Remembering Tabitha Festo

CFK Co-founder's work and dream perseveres

A model for sustainable development in slums around the world, the clinic unites both eco-friendly design and advanced medical services, continuing Tabitha’s dream of providing affordable, quality care for all.

September 24, 2018

Originally, from Nyakatch village in Nyanza District of Western Kenya, Tabitha graduated from high school in Kisii District and became a certified nurse at Masaba Hospital. A widow and mother of four, she worked for years as a caretaker and nurse out of her home in Kibera. In 1998, after her position was terminated due to downsizing, Tabitha resorted to living in an abandoned vegetable stand in Toi Market on the outskirts of Kibera to support herself and her family.

In July 2000, Tabitha, still jobless, approached Rye Barcott (CFK co-founder) and requested money to start selling vegetables. Rye gave her the money, the equivalent of about US $26, and he subsequently returned to America the next day. Tabitha sold vegetables in the Eastleigh District of Nairobi and accumulated daily savings in a local women’s micro-finance group. After six months, with over $130 in savings, Tabitha decided to follow her life-long dream of opening a medical clinic. She named her clinic Rye Medical Clinic and gave it the motto, “Sacrificing in Success.”

Tabitha during a home visit in Kibera. (Tabitha pictured second from left)

The clinic has moved twice from its first location in a four-room sheet metal building, finding a permanent home in 2004. Under Tabitha’s guidance and management, services and staff expanded to include a laboratory and a home-based care program for people living with HIV/AIDS. Specializing in maternal health, the clinic became one of the few in Kibera to offer in-patient and out-patient primary care services to residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After Tabitha’s untimely death in December 2004, the clinic was renamed in her honor. In March 2009, after over two years of fundraising and construction, CFK celebrated the official opening of the new Tabitha Medical Clinic. A model for sustainable development in slums around the world, the clinic unites both eco-friendly design and advanced medical services, continuing Tabitha’s dream of providing affordable, quality care for all.

Click here for more information about Tabitha Medical Clinic.

Tabitha Medical Clinic is a community-based clinic located in the Gatwekera village of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya.

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