Running for My Life 2017 Edition

James Ouma
Posted January 10, 2017 from Kenya

The Year 2016 brought new surprises and blessings in my life. After getting married in 2015, I decided to take a long break - that lasted the whole of 2016 - to put my life, work with boys in juvenile prison and goals in perspective.

I decided to, of all things, to run and take part in a number of marathons as way of raising funds and finding valid reasons why I needed to continue working as a full time volunteer who sew buttons and traces boys in juvenile prison.

By the end of the year, I managed to take part in 6 marathons and a duathlon event. Before and after the events was filled with valuable life lessons that pointed me back to prison work - to do what doesn't bring me any profit. However, it became apparent that I would get no satisfaction if I turned my back to what I love doing most.

As 2017 continues getting older, my desire is to pick up from where I left. That means more running, learning how to swim in open water, getting my own mountain bike so I can do a full triathlon before the year ends. I am also going to spend a lot of time visiting and working with boys in juvenile prison.

Working with boys in juvenile prison enables me to help desperate mothers who don't have information concerning their son's whereabouts. It also enables me to empower boys to embrace crime-free lives as well as becoming more responsible. I am also going to sew tron clothes and replace buttons for children, especially boys throughout the year.

Combine this with my marriage - we are in our second year - and you know that running for my life is a theme that fully captures what I will be doing this year and the many years to come.

2016 Achievements

Lifesong Kenya managed to receive buttons and financial support from friends in the United States and Kenya.

2017 Challenges

I still don't have enough clients for my writing. Having clients and work as a writer will enable me to provide for my growing family as well as have the resources I need for my work with boys in juvenile prison. I also need a mountain bike, swimming and running gear in order to take part in fundraising events.


I have already started preparing for my first marathon which will be in March. I have also resumed contact with 4 of my mentees and will soon resume the prison program despite the limited resources I currently have. All I can do right now is focus on the job at hand and leave the rest to the world and to God.

Here's to a successful 2017!

For more on my convictions and work follow the following links.

How to Get Involved

You can donate sewing machines, needles, buttons, story books, running and swimming gear, mountain bike or money. For financial support use this link 

Comments 2

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Jill Langhus
Jan 10, 2017
Jan 10, 2017

Hi James. Thanks for sharing your story and work. How did you get drawn to or get started in doing this work? How do you/or can you help girls and women?

James Ouma
Jan 13, 2017
Jan 13, 2017


I used to work as a children's television programs where my work involved visiting schools and spending a lot of time with children. In 2012 July, I heard about boys in juvenile prison and started meeting them on a weekly basis. Six months later, I quit my job to develop myself as a writer so I can focus on working with the boys in prison.

I also work with girls and mothers. However, since I only have buttons, sewing thread and needles, my work and impact is limited to just sewing buttons. My long term goal is to offer a platform where girls and women can be empowered economically