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Nairobi mum hiding in pain in Saudi Arabia after employer seized passport

By HILARY KIMUYU February 25th, 2016 2 min read

A Kenyan family is appealing to the government to help them repatriate their kin so that she can seek medical attention after she was hurt in Saudi Arabia while looking after her employer’s children.

Catherine Wambui Wanyoike, aged 36, is a single mother who left behind her four children to seek what she thought would be greener pastures in Saudi Arabia.

She got employed as a domestic worker and had worked for close to 18 months when one day she fell and got wounded on her left knee while taking her employer’s children for a walk.


Her employer refused her to take her to hospital for medical attention and instead locked her up in the house for six months. The wounded area turned septic and developed a strange growth. The pain was unbearable and Ms Wanyoike made several threats of running away, but her employer remained unperturbed.

Ms Wanyoike finally made good her threat to flee on February 15, 2016 while her employer was asleep.

She found refuge in the house of a Kenyan woman whom she met on the streets. This was after she had been dismissed by the local police. But she could not return to Kenya because her employer had confiscated because her passport, money and mobile phone when she arrived.


Ms Wanyoike spoke to Nairobi News on the phone from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday evening and narrated her heart wrenching ordeal.  She said she can’t speak Arabic, has been denied access to a translator and can not reach the Kenyan embassy in Riyadh.

” All I do is sit down and cry because my leg is rotting, I have no money to go to hospital for treatment and I cannot even walk on my own, ” she said amid sobs.

Her mother, 56 year-old Wambui Wanyoike traveled from Subukia, Nakuru County, to share with Nairobi News documents that show her daughter was recruited on June 12, 2014 by Al – Amin Recruitment Agency that is located in the city centre.

The agency, when contacted, denied ever recruiting Ms Wanyoike and claimed that someone had stolen their documents and started to recruit people and sending them to Saudi Arabia.


The owner of the agency, one Jason Adongo, told Nairobi News that the family had approached him on the matter and that he agreed to assist them because their kin was sick. But he categorically denied ever knowing her or helping her get a job in Saudi Arabia.

But Ms Wanyoike insists that it is Al-Amin Recruitment Agency that processed her travelling documents.

Her mother has appealed to the government to help her daughter get back her passport from the employer so that she can come back home and seek medical attention.

In June 2012 the government banned Kenyans from traveling to the Middle East to seek employment as domestic workers. The ban was lifted in November 2013.

The Kenyan government has been repeatedly accused of failing to monitor activities of recruitment agencies.