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Australian ex-Senator’s family fails to raise Sh3m for daughter’s burial in Kenya

The family of Kenyan-born Australian former Senator, Lucy Gichuhi will now bury their daughter in Australia after they failed to raise money to bring her body to Kenya.

The former Senator’s daughter, Peris Wanjiru, 33, passed on a month ago and a week later the family opened a GoFundMe page asking well-wishers to help them raise Sh3.3 million to enable them transport her remains to Kenya for burial.

“It is the desire of the family to give her a befitting send-off by repatriating the remains to her motherland Kenya,” the family said in the page which has since been closed.

“A little here and there will go a long way in making this possible and lessening the huge financial burden to her family as they come to terms with this devastating loss of their firstborn gone too soon,” the family further said.

The family had only raised Sh41,000 ($400) at the time the page was closed.

In an obituary placed in Tuesday’s Daily Nation, the family said that the late Wanjiru will be buried next Monday in Adelaide, Australia.

“On the 27th September 2021 there will be a Church Service at Influencers (Paradise) Church, followed by burial at the Centennial Park Adelaide, South Australia,” the obituary read in part.

The cause of Wanjiru’s death has not been made public by the family.

Ms Gichuhi, who worked as an accountant before joining politics, served as a Senator for South Australia from 2017 to 2019.

The 56-year-old won the Family First Party seat in the Australian parliament following a special vote recount of the April 2016 election ordered by the High Court, becoming the first African-Australian senator in the history of the country.

Born in Mathira, Nyeri County, Ms Gichuhi migrated to Australia in 1999 with her husband and their three children and became a naturalized Australian citizen in 2001.

She received her Bachelor of Law from the University of South Australia in 2015.

In 2019, Ms Gichuhi opened up about her history of trauma and violence in a new book about her life and political career.

The book, “Behind the Smile”, details her views on infidelity and domestic violence, as well as her journey to the upper house of parliament in 2017.

“I share my journey from where it all began on the slopes of Mount Kenya to university life, falling in love and navigating the challenges of a marriage where infidelity is a challenge,” Ms Gichuhi said at the time.