I never tire of giving someone a chance. But investing in a person is risky, people are unpredictable, and in a community with high crime rates and high unemployment it is even riskier. However, when the risk transforms into accomplishment the joy of watching another person forge a new life is worth the times when the risk becomes a failure.
In this photo you see our lead social worker, Eliud, assisting a young man named Evans with the purchase of items to launch a small business making chips (french fries) and mandazi (fried bread) to support his family. Together with Eliud and Evans are two young men we have also taken a chance on – Remi and Brian.
Remi spent his teen years living in a children’s home and after high school was denied the opportunity to show his full potential as he was sent to work primarily as a farm overseer and errand runner for his previous mentor. However his pay was well below a living wage and certainly below his potential.
During this challenging time Remi was also a beneficiary of our Light Up Hope programs and received a scholarship to cover his college education in the skill of social work. During his time in our program, Remi demonstrated strong leadership, empathy and insight into the needs of children and young adults coming from orphaned and impoverished backgrounds. He graduated from his social worker training in 2016 and I took a risk on him by adding him straight out of school to the Light Up Hope Staff as assistant social worker in January of 2017.
Since receiving this opportunity Remi has been performing above our expectations in his role and we have seen his happiness and pride in his work shine daily as he demonstrates the gratitude he has for the opportunity to rise to his full potential. On my most recent stay in Kenya I was able to watch with pride as Remi navigated a variety of challenging situations counseling high school students and using his education to give informed advice in our staff meetings on how to handle a variety of issues with students and guardians.
Finally, the picture shows Brian. Brian was recently fired from his teaching job unexpectedly after 6 years. Without access to government safety nets (like unemployment or welfare) and a wife and child to provide for, Brian was desperate to find a new job to feed his family. His job prospects in Nairobi were slim, starting another teaching job was likely to only pay him little more than $1.50 per day. Thankfully we have known Brian for several years and have seen his skill and personal motivation and we were able to offer him a role with Light Up Hope as Administrative Assistant and Joseph’s House Meeting Coordinator.
As a leader of an organization it is always a joy to be able to provide a job to a person in need; whether it is a small business grant like the one we provided for Evans or a role with our organization. The pride, hopefulness and hope given to an individual with an opportunity to change their lives through hard work is immeasurable. I can’t guarantee all three young men will be successful. I can’t guarantee they won’t encounter challenges, temptations, disappointments or failures. But I do have the privilege of giving them a chance, and that privilege is an immeasurable gift in both our lives.
Our best wished and prayers go out to all three young men as they continue to strive to build their futures, provide for their families, and break the cycle of poverty. ~ Kelly Little, Founder and Executive Director
We need your help to continue to pay our staff and give young people like Evans a chance for a new life. Will you consider donating to our general fund?