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 […]

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

What would it feel like to go without food for days and to also see your children going hungry? Maureen’s (pictured above, with her mother) family, who are supported by our LIFT program, deal with hunger every day in Kwa Njenga, a large urban slum in Nairobi. Sometimes, Maureen and her sister borrow food from the neighbors in order to have just one meal per day. The family also confronts a lack of clean water, the threat of theft (which is widespread in the slum), and poor dirt roads that become muddy in the rainy season. Maureen’s parents struggle to provide income for the family through causal (short-term) labor. Maureen’s mother has tried to improve the family’s situation by selling bread and porridge in the slum when she can. Her enterprising spirit helps to keep the family afloat and together. The family is grateful for LIFT funds, which have allowed them to send Maureen’s younger sister, Esther, to school and to purchase school uniforms for the girls. Education is one worry that they can cross off their long list. They still have a need for: food security, better health care, and funds for the mother to start a small business. […]

Mary’s family – Kibingoti LIFT community, June update

Mary (pictured above with her father), who is supported by our LIFT program, lives on a tiny, half-acre farm in Kibingoti. Mary and her 2 older siblings are cared for by their single father. He started supporting the family on his own when their mother tragically passed away. Their father farms crops on their land, but he was recently injured. Mary and her siblings now must rely on their aunt for food and clothing. Residents of this rural area in central Kenya face many challenges including a lack of clean water, poorly maintained dirt roads, and limited or no access to electricity, to name a few. Alcoholism is also a widespread social problem in this area; the consumption of illicit liquor brewed at home prevents parents from properly caring for their families and also leads to many divorces. Reliable employment is another challenge. Adults find it difficult to obtain even casual (short-term) work. This work itself is unpredictable and far from adequate for supporting a family. Mary reports that she is staying with her aunt while attending the fourth grade in Kahuho-ini Primary School. She loves math and wants to be a teacher when she grows up! “In America,” she […]

I took my son to Kenya and he got malaria

It took over a year for me to be ready to post this blog, but here it is, a memoire of  bringing my son, Sam, to experience the place and people we love and the sadness, fear and education we faced when he was infected with malaria. January 2015 The road is dry and dusty, so dusty that the leaves on the bushes that line the street are covered in red dirt and they look as if the bushes are dying.  Underneath the green peaks out and the orange and yellow flowers add confusion to the view.  The road is so bumpy that the van heaves back and forth under the strain of pot holes created during a time of great rain, now cemented into deep ruts in the road.  Cradled in my arms, with his head resting against a pillow to attempt to give him some comfort is my 8 year old son, Sam.  He has a fever again and he has barely eaten in two weeks.  This morning I negotiated with him to eat three Ritz crackers with peanut butter. He doesn’t want to eat, though he tells me if I had the ability to give him a cheeseburger […]