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 […]

Children are Learning and Mothers are Working: LIFT Update

We have had several recent achievements in our LIFT program that we are very thankful for: We are currently supporting 33 students in Kenya! We were able to pay school fees early to all our supportive schools! This way our students didn’t lose any learning time by having to be sent home because of unpaid school fees. A good number of our students reported back to school on the opening date, except in Kwa Njenga slums where they recorded 100% return on the opening date.  In Kibingoti we had also had a good number of returning students on their opening date.  In Nairobi, most of our schools reopened despite the May’s cold weather. None of our students have been reported ill or missing and they are all busy in school and doing quite well. Parents responded well to our request to have the report cards in the office earlier for better reporting and compilation. 10 LIFT Mothers have come together to start a coffee growers Co-Op in our rural farming community, Kibingoti.  With the help of some Broomfield donors, mothers in Kenya are getting a chance to start a coffee growers Co-op! A coffee plantation has been leased and we had the pleasure to […]

165 High School Girls Join Light Up Hope through Seeds of Change

I’m very happy to share that Light Up Hope is working in collaboration with Seeds of Change Foundation from Sioux Falls, SD to sponsor the high school education of 165 girls from impoverished backgrounds across Kenya. We first started working with Seeds of Change in 2018 when they began by sponsoring one of our Joseph’s House students, Mary, and later in the year, added two additional girls for university. Since the beginning of 2019 we have been working together in preparation to add these high school students to our Light Up Hope program with funding through Seeds of Change. The girls who are joining the program have been sponsored by Seeds of Change since the start of their high school careers and we are grateful to Seeds of Change for giving us the opportunity to oversee and manage their high school careers from this point. The Light Up Hope staff has worked very hard and is continuing to work hard to ensure these girls success, including placing them in high quality government schools, purchasing new uniforms and all of the school supplies needed, as is traditional in our Light Up Hope High School Program. We are excited to see our […]

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 […]