June’s family – Kwa Njenga LIFT community, April update

11-year-old June lives with her Mom and Dad and 2 younger brothers in Nairobi’s Kwa Njenga slum. She is pictured above (L-R) with her younger brothers, mother, and our Head Social Worker in Kenya, Eliud Kipkorir. June’s mother and father first met at church in Nairobi. Kwa Njenga is the city’s second-largest slum. No updates (roads, utilities, etc.) have been made since it sprang up. June is able to attend the 4th grade at Gifted Prince school due to support from Light Up Hope’s LIFT program, which pays her school fees. June is a talented student, even though she struggles with epilepsy. The wages earned by her father – who is diabetic – as a security guard mostly pay for medicine for himself and his daughter, as well as for food and rent for the family. June’s mother helps out with the family’s needs by seeking day labor washing clothes for neighbors in a nearby affluent area. The gift of school fees has allowed the family to send the younger two children to school, as well, although they still struggle with finding clean water, paying their rent (which has increased), and dealing with unsanitary and difficult conditions in the slums. […]

Stanley’s family – Umoja LIFT community, April update

We are LIFTing up a single Mom – Lilia – to 5 (4 children and her grandchild) in Umoja, an urban neighborhood in Nairobi. Lilia is the sole provider for this large extended family. The family fled an unstable situation for Nairobi’s slums, where Lilia started a small business selling vegetables. They fortunately escaped the slums, as well, though at the cost of the older children dropping out of school to help support the family. Now the family is supported by Lilia’s kiosk, connected to their home in Umoja. In addition to running her small business, Lilia must attend to all household chores and care for her youngest child, 3-year-old Edwin, while the older children are in school or look for day labor in Nairobi. 14-year-old son Stanley, the middle child, receives LIFT funds to pay his school fees. Lilia reports that this assistance has been their “joy,” since scarce funds now can be diverted to cover rent and food for her large family. Stanley’s favorite subjects in school are Kiswahili and English. He enjoys school, but not when it rains, because the playground becomes too muddy to go outside. When he grows up, he wants to be a motorcars engineer. […]

Emmanuel’s family – Kibingoti LIFT community update, April update

10-year-old Emmanuel (pictured above, with our Kenyan staff) and his family live on a small farm in Kahuhoini Village in Kibingoti. Emmanuel’s school fees are paid through our LIFT program. With support for Emmanuel’s school fees, not only can he stay in school, but also, his 15-year-old sister can attend, as well – since the family now diverts funds that formerly went to Emmanuel’s education, to his sister’s schooling. The family is fortunate to be able to produce their own food on their small plot of land. They grow corn, beans, fruit, and a variety of vegetables, and keep chickens and cows (for milk). Their needs still are not met, however, due to the small size of the plot, unpredictable rains, and a lack of clean water as well as of the ability to irrigate. In spite of the often heavy rain, they have difficulty finding enough clean water for use in the home and on the farm. They also struggle with transportation when run-off from the rains washes out the mud roads and makes bridges impassable. In order to better meet the family’s needs, both Emmanuel’s mother and father seek day labor on nearby coffee farms, work that they […]

To all the moms of spoiled rotten children out there, I have an idea!

Let’s be honest, the biggest challenge I have feeding my children is they don’t want to eat what I cook.  And not because I’m a bad cook. In fact (you may not know this about me), but I attended culinary school and worked as a personal chef for some time; so really my kids are just completely spoiled rotten and ungrateful. But I love them more than life itself. And I still wake up every day and think of what I want to cook and what they will want to eat; then I make sure it is a balanced meal with vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. I think about variety and hope at least 2 out of 3 children won’t complain that they don’t like rice, or that it’s too spicy, or why isn’t it macaroni and cheese?  I stress about how I will find time in my busy schedule between dropping one kid at soccer, answering emails, picking up another kid from band practice, and answering the phone call from my poor mom who just wants five minutes of my time, to actually have the time in my kitchen to prepare the planned meal.  Then I work my magic and start cooking…dreading […]

From the Sewer to the Kitchen

Before Clysa entered our program he was working a part time job cleaning up human and industrial sewage in Nairobi.  The job was a day labor job and often he would not be paid by the company after the work was finished.  Clysa initially started a small business selling clothes in the slums with a small business grant of $100 from Light Up Hope.  The business faced challenges of finding customers and at the same time harassment by the local tax collectors who would try to collect taxes even on days when he had made no sales.  After six  months of struggling he decided he wanted to return to school and was then able to apply for the Joseph’s House Program.  He is grateful for the help and is enjoying trade school this spring in food, beverage and catering. You can help support Clysa and other young adults with trade school or university education by donating today.  Monthly donations of $25 or more per month help stabilize the program and guarantee the resources are there to light a path out of poverty.