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 […]

Josephs’ House Students Share Creativity and Leadership with our Summer Visitors

This past summer we had several visitors meeting our students and taking a tour of the communities where we work.  Our Joseph’s House students took the opportunity to give back to Light Up Hope by both learning from our visitors and teaching them as well.  Mike and Liz Ruggles were the “Win a Trip to Kenya” winners from our 2018 Light Up Hope Gala.  They spent 10 days with us in Kenya and since Mike is a professional photographer, he choose to share his knowledge of photography and entrepreneurship with our students.  He taught them about photo composition, lighting and business techniques for starting a photography business.  He was such an inspiration, several of our students have started their own small businesses doing portraits for their fellow university students! When the Discovery Church mission team arrived, it was time for our students to take the lead.  They brought the team on a tour of downtown Nairobi including Uhuru Park where they taught the mission trip members the joy of dance and singing and the Masai Market where they taught the mission team the skill of price negotiation! We have 4 students expected to graduate in the next twelve months and we […]

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 […]

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 […]

Meet Our New Director of Kenya Operations

My name is Augustine Mumia Wanyama. I turned 36 years and I am married to Everline Nanjala and a father to five kids. I am a third born son and child to my mother Florence who is the second wife to my father Andrew. In total, my mother gave birth to ten of us. Our rural home is in a town called Bungoma which is found in the western part of Kenya. Due to the climatic conditions, my home area is one of the poorest areas in Kenya. This, among other factors made our lives very difficult as we grew up. It was a total struggle but all in all I am where I am. Most of my brothers and sisters dropped out of school due to lack of school fees. After I graduated from high school, I managed to come to the city of Nairobi. At that time I had nothing; no high school certificate of any kind nor a national identity card, I just came. That was back in 2001. As I got used to Nairobi I came to learn a lot. Among these was the common sight of the street kids. I felt bad whenever I saw […]