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 […]

Kids who don’t have food to eat, can’t learn!

Dear Friends, This is why Light Up Hope has a piece of my heart. Years ago, I was a first-grade teacher in California. I was fresh out of college and was hired to teach in a small school where 90% of my students were the children of migrant farm workers. These parents worked very hard all day for very little money. The school received special funding for supplies and most of the children were enrolled in the free lunch program. For them, a mere human need – food – was a “luxury.” For many of the children, lunch was the only real meal they would receive that day. This was not because they were neglected. Their parents simply could not afford to fill the refrigerator with food. I saw firsthand how hunger can affect a child’s ability to learn. Hunger makes it hard ot focus, hard to retain information, hard to learn. So I started stocking my supply closet with granola bars and fruit. I also started buying school supplies during Back to School sales, to use as “prizes” in the classroom. I loved to see how the kids’ faces would light up when they chose a box of crayons […]

How a university education changed my life!

Dear Friends, My grandparents and parents were migrant workers; they traveled between Colorado and Texas for work. My grandparents on both sides of the family have no higher than an early elementary education. While growing up, my Dad and his siblings went to school in Colorado for part of the year. When the work was done in Colorado, they went back to Texas with their family and went to school there for the other part of the year. When my Dad was in 8th grade, my grandparents decided they wanted something better for their kids. They wanted them to finish a full year of school at one location. My grandparents decided the way to achieve this goal was to move to Ohio to take factory jobs and raise their kids. For my grandparents, high school education was vital, and they pushed my father and his siblings to do great in school and achieve this goal. However, once my Dad received his high school diploma, he realized even that would not be enough and that he would need a university education to truly get ahead in life. My Dad held a full-time job, had a family, and went to night school […]

Nellah’s family – Kibingoti LIFT community, Sept 2018

Nellah, who receives funding from our LIFT program in order to attend school, tragically lost her mother last year to lupus. After her mother’s death, Nellah’s father was unable to care any longer for his daughter and her two brothers. Their aunt fortunately took them in, and they now live with her family in rural Kibingoti. This large extended family of 7 – 3 adults and 4 children – lives in a 3-room home with mud walls and cement floors, in the countryside. They grow produce which helps to feed the family as well as to generate income, when the excess can be sold at local markets. When rains make the local dirt roads muddy, however, the produce unfortunately spoils before it can be brought to market. The gift of LIFT funds for Nellah’s school fees allows the family to send Nellah’s younger brothers to school, as well. They are very thankful for the support. Like any child, Nellah has dreams for her future. She loves studying math and English and wants to become a nurse when she is grown up. Her goal after becoming a nurse is to treat people in her own village. She also helps at home […]