My name is Augustine Mumia Wanyama. I turned 36 years and I am married to Everline Nanjala and a father to five kids.
I am a third born son and child to my mother Florence who is the second wife to my father Andrew. In total, my mother gave birth to ten of us. Our rural home is in a town called Bungoma which is found in the western part of Kenya. Due to the climatic conditions, my home area is one of the poorest areas in Kenya. This, among other factors made our lives very difficult as we grew up. It was a total struggle but all in all I am where I am. Most of my brothers and sisters dropped out of school due to lack of school fees.
After I graduated from high school, I managed to come to the city of Nairobi. At that time I had nothing; no high school certificate of any kind nor a national identity card, I just came. That was back in 2001. As I got used to Nairobi I came to learn a lot. Among these was the common sight of the street kids. I felt bad whenever I saw one, I would keep on asking myself many questions, “why do we had such kids? Was it because of poverty like mine or what was it?”.
I remember going to the streets and encouraging these young boys and girls of the importance of leaving drugs and going to school. Some understood though others were beyond repair. There even a day some planned to murder me because I was destroying their happiness as they put it. But God was with me and in fact it was a turning point of very many street kids on that same day. THIS MADE ME VERY HAPPY .
Next I began working as a teacher and that is how I came to know my former employer. He came to visit the school where I was teaching and saw how enthusiastic I was. Within no time we were close in relation and in the beginning of 2005 I was fully employed as the head teacher of a primary school in Nairobi; a school that at the time had eight students, three teachers and a couple, who were managing the school.
Still the street kids were still evident, in fact I saw the number continued to grow but I never gave up. I still went to the streets to talk to them and advise many of them against vices. By good luck, many of them agreed and today I can name a good number that have come a long way and have a positive story to tell.
I didn’t have it easy in my former role but one thing I thank God for is that those who knew me kept appreciating me in many ways. The parents thanked me always, the students could flood my home to just be with me and hear from me. I never understood why but God knew, the subjects that I taught always got the highest marks in the school and I was always surprised and peased.
In 2012, I happened to learn of an organization called Light Up Hope. During my employment at the school I had the opportunity to meet many friends from USA visiting, but I never got to know much of their whereabouts because doing so could make one to lose a job or suffer consequences from the school managers. Ours role was to be there to say your name and that was basically it. So I never really understood what Light Up Hope was doing in Kenya for sure.
Luckily or maybe by the grace of God, I happened to win one of the visitor’s interest. Whenever she visited, she thought of meeting me and saying ‘Hi’. Little did I know that she was the Executive Director and Founder of Light Up Hope and this was Kelly Little.
I was yet to know that she was a lady that God had brought my way to work with. As I began to know her better, I learned that she too loves kids very much, just like I do. I also learned that she has a heart for Kenya. This opened up my mind to want to know more about the organization Light up Hope, I really wanted to understand it. And I indeed started from its vision, mission and mandate and knew it carried the light, the light that had hope for the youths in our country. And therefore when Kelly approached in 2016 over the issue of working with this organization I took it with open arms because I really desire to be part and parcel of this channel of light towards hope for the youths.
I want to make the light of hope shine across Kenya and to other sub Saharan countries of Africa that are faced with the same challenges.
I want to make the vision of LUH be achieved.
I want to see orphans healed and given the necessary care and love.
Working with LUH so far has been fun and interesting, it has made me learn that all humans are equal before God and no one is more special than the other. I want to be a vessel of God to bring forth the light of Hope.
In Kenya, for every youth to achieve his or her goals, she must get good education. Kenya is among the countries that are competitive in terms of technology and without education in Kenya you are nothing. In addition to education, one also needs someone who is there to guide, support and love them. Many Kenyan youths have gone astray because of lack of financial support or advisory support or even just love. Without this type of support you are hopeless. I am very happy that Light Up Hope is here to provide these essential things to the youths of Kenya. I am happy that Light Up Hope is in Kenya to provide healthcare, housing, food, relational support and other important amenities that can help one get this vital friend called EDUCATION.
Light up hope has grown its feathers to even begin a church and we are proud to be part of it. Yes, the Light with Hope, the Hope for Life.
God bless you all.
By Augustine Mumia Wanyama – Light Up Hope Director of Kenya Operations