Dear Tuungane Community Foundation,

My name is Juliet Muthoni Wambui, the last-born daughter to Jane Wambui. I am a student in Nyandarua High, currently in form two. My mother is a single parent who has done everything in her power to educate me and my older sister. As a tea vendor on the beautiful market of Kenol, her meagre income has never been enough to cater to our food, clothing, housing and educational needs but somehow my mother always ensured my sister and I remained in school at all times. However, 2020 was an especially hard year for me and my family. In addition to the pandemic that restricted my mother’s income, she fell seriously ill leaving us with little to no funds to even pay for our rent.  In previous years, my sister and I have always helped our mother in her business during school holidays. We would often cook the tea and clean her utensils as she left to deliver the drink to her customers. But with her illness, we could not deliver the tea as we ourselves had never interacted with her customers. When the time came for me to join form one, I remember how my mother tried to borrow […]

From the Streets to Class-a LIFT success story

Brian Scott, one of our LIFT beneficiaries in a young man who has faced significant challenges his young life. When his mother, Gladys, got married to Joseph Scott, Brian hoped he had found a safe place to call home and a father to fill in the gaps that his biological dad had left. However, the dynamics of a blended family did not favor the young boy who would eventually find himself at the receiving end of his step-father’s anger. As the situation escalated to physical and psychological abuse, Gladys was left between choosing his son and her husband. When the situation at home did not improve, Brian Scott ran away from home and became a street child for over a month before his mother tracked him down and arranged for him to live with one of his aunties. The initial arrangement was that both Brian’s parents would contribute towards the upkeep of the boy while he lived at his auntie’s place. However, the plans did not work and Brian found himself back at the streets of Korokocho market. At this point, Brian’s teachers started spotting him at dump sites and called the organization in an attempt to salvage the young […]

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 […]