There are so many things I want to share with you about my trip to Kenya. I shared bits and pieces last week, but tonight I want to focus on the children in Kibera and how you might be able to help them.
I’m going to inundate you with pictures. Because I’m a firm believer that you can see true life in someone’s eyes. These children have eyes like I’ve never seen before. They sparkle with wonder and questions and joy and love and laughter.
They want to learn and be loved. They want to play and be silly and sing you songs. And they want to feel safe. Which is exactly what they find at school each day. Teachers who love them so much that they feel safe within the campus walls.
Which is kinda crazy, to be honest. Because Kibera is anything but safe. Where extreme poverty like you have never seen is the only thing these children know. I promise you that you don’t know real poverty until you have smelled it. Where nine gang members had to walk us in and out of the slum each and every day we were there to keep us safe. Where the police shoot through babies to kill the men holding them up as shields. Where crime and sin run rampant.
But they JOY!! The joy these children have because they know they are KNOWN and LOVED and SAFE and will be FED inside these school walls is UNREAL. They are taught book and common sense. They are expected to excel. And their SOULS are fed. Each and every day. And that’s the reason they are filled with so much hope.
School is not free in Kenya. There’s no public neighborhood school that your kids automatically go to just by registering them in August. So for children in Kibera, where people live on less than $1 a day, there are a few other things that take precedence over your school tuition. Like food.
If you do go to primary school, you take a national exam in 8th grade to qualify to attend secondary school (high school), which will cost three times the pricetag of primary school. You have to get a C+ on that exam to go to secondary, and that grade also tells you where you can apply to school. Better exam grade gets you into a better secondary school. Got lower than a C+? Too bad. You don’t get to go to secondary. Can you even imagine being 14 and knowing that your future has taken such a DRASTIC turn?
There are over 20 children at this school who still need sponsors. It’s $30 a month and $27 of that goes DIRECTLY to the school. (All is tax-deductible.) Sponsorship helps cover education, daily hot meal for the child, food vouchers for the family and some medical care for the child. Kenyan staff checks in regularly on the family and child, and they are invited to participate in church/school activities. Kids in this program are currently in elementary and secondary school but our hope is to help each child go as far as they can academically, knowing education is such a key part of breaking the cycle of poverty.
And there’s a really good chance that I met the child you decide to sponsor. He or she probably pet my mzungu hair or hugged me or laughed at me trying to read their Swahili book or chased me through the “halls” of the school campus. I promise you each of the kids has a special place in my heart that I will share with you when you become a sponsor.
Join me in giving these kids a bit of a kickstart. Help them have a chance to go to secondary and UNIVERSITY! Imagine how these children will change the face of Kibera and Nairobi!! These children, who I have hugged with my very own arms, need your help. I’m not going to be shy about asking you to help them. The tragedies they have already overcome are something I will not share publicly on this forum. But they are real and these kids deserve better. They deserve the love and support they receive at school.
Just look at them. They are SO thankful for their sponsors. Because they wouldn’t have the joy and hope in their eyes if it wasn’t for this school and what they have learned there about their importance in the world. They have learned that they are just as important as you are. You were just born into a different family in a different neighborhood. That’s the primary and most significant difference between you and them. And I promise you that one hug from a single child in that school and you’d wish you were with them forever.
If you’d like to sponsor one of these kids, please email my dear friend and travel companion Cindy Neal with Kenya Mercy Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or talk to me and I’ll put in you in touch with Cindy as well. Can’t afford $30 a month? Pair up with another person or family to sponsor a child. Want to offer more than $30 a month? SAWEEEET! 😉 We have some students who will be attending secondary next year and like I mentioned above, secondary costs about $100/month per student.
Let’s get some kids sponsored, yes?