Peel Region remembers Mama Sarah Obama

Mama Sarah Obama visit to Ottawa Canada in May 2015 with her daughter Marsat Onyango Obama (seated front row far right). Looking on (front row seated from far left) are Dave Feldman, Sarah Onyango and Peggy Taillon of HERA Mission Canada. She was accompanied by her Communications Director Ephraim Mwaura (Standing far right), who is currently the Kenyan Canadian Association President.

The former US President Barack Obama has lost his paternal grandmother Dr. Sarah Obama popularly known as Mama Sarah Obama. She passed away this morning aged 99 years. She died at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya where she was undergoing treatment.

Mama Sarah has been unwell for the last couple of years according to her daughter Marsat Onyango Obama who has been taking care of her at their rural home in Nyang’oma village, Kogelo, Siaya County, Kenya. 

Young Barack Obama with his grandmother
Former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion with Mama Sarah Obama

Mama Sarah Obama has been at the forefront of championing the plight of the orphans, the girl child and widows in Africa for decades. She awarded the Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear of Kenya (EBS) in 2017 by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta for her dedicated service to the poor. She was honored in 2014 by United Nations Women in New York, USA for her efforts and work towards Girl-Child Education, Women Empowerment and Gender Equality in Africa. Despite having never gone to school, Mama Sarah Obama has an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree awarded by Great Lakes University in 2010 for her work in poverty eradication programs for poor communities.

She kept a very low profile due to her worsening health condition and has been concentrating on philanthropy mainly focusing on orphans, vulnerable children and widows through her community-based organization Mama Sarah Obama Children Foundation. She started the charity organization with her daughter Marsat Obama, two decades ago in Siaya, Kenya.

In 2015, she visited Canada where she was received by a host of Canadian political and community leaders including former Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and Annie Bynoe, Executive Director of Knights Table, a charity organization based in Brampton. Mississauga Airport Rotary Club led by Ms. Monica Czorny hosted a colorful dinner in honor of Dr. Sarah Obama.

While in Canada she was the Chief Guest at the 2015 GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon. She was very passionate about using sports as a way to address some of the challenges facing the youth in her community. She has been holding Mama Sarah Obama Kogelo Road Race in collaboration with Siaya County Government to raise funds for HIV/AIDS orphans, vulnerable children and widows.

Former President Barack Obama with his grandmother
Dr. Sarah Obama



Marsat Onyango Obama
Executive Director
Mama Sarah Obama Children Foundation
Hussein Obama Road, Nyang’oma – Kogelo
P.O. Box 741 – 00406 Siaya, Kenya
Tel: +254 721 214 440 (Kenya) 


Ephraim Mwaura
Mama Sarah Obama Children Foundation
Communications Director
Tel: +1 647 706 3604 (Canada)