Asinina’s Story

Asinina is 20 years old and is a resident of Makina in Kibera. She needed a birth certificate for her little brother so he could go to senior school. To obtain that she first needed to apply for a death certificate for her late mother. To apply for the death certificate she needed to find her mother’s ID card.

Asinina knew nothing about the process of getting a birth certificate. Asinina’s mother had recently passed away and was the person who helped Asinina get her own birth certificate in the past, though she since lost it. Zena, the paralegal who took on this case, advised Asinina that the first step would be to apply for a death certificate for Asinina’s mother. Zena asked her to bring the ID card number of her late mother. With that information Zena and Asinina went together to fill out the forms for the death certificate. The officials asked them to return after one week.

In a week’s time, they again went to the office and submitted 90 Kenyan shillings for the filing of the papers. Two weeks later Asinina was able to pick up the death certificate.

Asinina is getting ready to use this death certificate and other papers to apply for her brother’s birth certificate. She told her brother’s teachers that the birth certificate is being processed. In the meantime, the teachers allowed him to start class at school. Asinina came into the NRF office to seek help getting her younger brother a birth certificate. Her brother, in class 8, needed a birth certificate in order to sit for his school exams. After hearing about the paralegal program from her friend, who had applied for an ID card with the help of NRF, she wanted to seek assistance herself.

Asinina also received assistance from the NRF paralegals to apply for her own ID card. Because she lost her birth certificate in the past, she faced additional questions during the vetting process. The elders were present at the chief’s office during the vetting. She was asked where she was born and to explain the birth and death places of her mother. The vetting committee asked for the burial permit and death certificate of her mother. The paralegal prepped her in advance about these questions, but Asinina feels it is unfair that all people are not treated the same. She does not think she should have to answer these questions, because “we are all Kenyan.”

In October 2013,  Asinina received her ID card. She is very hopeful the ID card will allow her to get a job. Asinina feels that without the assistance of Zena, she probably would not have been able to obtain her mother’s death certificate, which is critical for success in these other application processes. Asinina also felt afraid to apply for her ID card in the past, because she could be asked for so many different requirements. With the paralegal, it was different – the paralegal provided information in advance and really made a difference. The paralegals work with such passion. When her brothers turn 18, Asinina will be able to help them apply for their own ID cards. Asinina is now telling other members of her family to use the paralegals to apply for the documents they need.

November 1, 2014 | Namati Author