A great way to end the year!

2021 has undoubtedly had its challenges both on a personal and organizational level. However, we as the WOVEN department have had several achievements to celebrate. For instance, during the year, we managed take 34 more girls to universities all over the country. Evidently, the move to let beneficiaries of the academic sponsorship program to join universities outside the nation’s capital was not an easy one as it required a complex incorporation of logistics and communication between all involved parties. By the end of November, all the new girls had started their classes and sustainable communication channels with the organization established. However, issues such as government-imposed restrictions on movement as a result of the pandemic limited the number of face-to-face interactions between the staff members and the girls. As a result, some of the mentorship and counselling objectives set by the department at the beginning of the year were not meet.  But all was not lost. On December 4th, 2021, we held our annual meeting with the 2020 group in which we managed to interact and catch up. The meeting involved several agendas that were all achieved. Firstly, we managed to invite speakers from outside the organization to interact with the […]

The Story of Monica Mwongeli

Hi, my name is Monica Mwongeli and am a student at Kenyatta university pursing a degree in Nursing through the funding from Tuungane Community Foundation. Growing up, I remember visiting the local clinic on days medical officers from Nairobi would visit just to see the nurses. Back then, the simple white dresses with crisp rubber shoes the nurses wore symbolized the epitome of achievement and importance. I dreamt of one day becoming a nurse and working in a big hospital like Kenyatta National Hospital. At the time, things at home were okay and my dreams of becoming a nurse did not seem so farfetched. See, I am the second born in a family of five children between two living parents. In the first 8 years of my life, both my parents had stable sources of income with my mother working odd jobs in local farms and my father working for a huge factory. My parents were both very caring and I enjoyed spending time with my siblings after school. However, life happened and our family’s bubble was busted by one tragedy after another. It all begun when my father had an argument at work with one of his colleagues. The […]

Ellis’ Lighted Path

In 2007, Kenya experienced one of the worst post-election violence in the country’s history. Many lives were lost and many more destroyed. At the center of the chaos, children were separated from their families with some ending up on the streets. Among the many Kenyan families whose lives where forever changed, was the Liyala household. The economic consequences of the post-election violence left Mama Phoebe and her husband Liyala at crossroads. The loss of sources of income worsened the relationship between the couple and by 2009, domestic violence and poverty had taken a toll on Mama Phoebe who was forced to make a decision any mother would struggle with, giving up her children to live in a children home located in Kayole slums. Heartbroken, Ellis Liyala and his little brothers Maxwell Ouna and Nicolas Biboh left the rest of their family members to begin a new life with strangers who ultimately became family. Life at the home was comfortable as would be in a children home. However, the local authorities started to harass the owners of the home demanding illegal payouts which forced the founders to relocate the home to a rural town located on the Western side of the […]

Kelsey’s Christmas Experience

It’s 2020 and the year has not been great for anyone. My family has continued to go to work through the whole pandemic as essential workers and eventually we all ended up with Covid. We survived but still, it’s been a rough year to say the least. And I know it’s been an extremely tough year for many others! As December was approaching some of my friends started putting up their Christmas decorations extra early to bring Christmas cheer. It’s 2020, the rules are out the window right? You want to put your Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving? Go for it. Before Halloween? Whatever you want.  (This is me) I admire the effort to bring the cheer! But it wasn’t working for me. I’m an extrovert and I miss my friends and I miss my family. I was scowling my way into the Christmas season. But I had signed up to do Light Up Hope’s first online only fundraiser. It was a 12 Days of Christmas Run. A different theme each day and two miles of walking/running each day while we try to raise money for Light Up Hope. I decided I would make it a daily activity with my […]

A Little Bit of Hope in Uncertain Times

In a typical month, Light Up Hope provides food assistance to about 340 children in the slums of Nairobi. 330 receive school day breakfast and lunch and about 10 kids receive monthly food packets. When the Kenyan government closed schools due to the coronavirus outbreak we suddenly found ourselves having to be creative with food distribution because the LAST thing we want is for children to go hungry as we face this global crisis.  This past week we managed to use our typical budget for our school feeding program to provide food packets of dry food to our primary students and their families. These packets consisted of staples like maize flour, sugar, cooking oil, porridge and soap and are intended to supplement the family food supplies for one month per student.  These packets are essential in this time because all of our primary students come from families who are day laborers and much of the work they would usually perform, such as cleaning clothes or working in a factory, has been shut down due to social distancing measures. Additionally, food prices are rising in Kenya by approximately 25-30%. Our primary school and LIFT families are the most at risk during […]