Author Archives: Michelle Stark

Children needing clothes - Ole Tumuke

You and Our Story

Mission 2018 was a grand success and is now a part of Matanya’s Hope’s 13 year and growing history! Thank you all who sent donations, gifts and financial support. Our blog site: www.journeytohelpafrica.com and our Facebook posts bring so many beautiful stories of this year’s journey to life. Our students were visited and loved on. Plans were made for their futures. We are changing thousands of lives and together, you and I are lifting human beings from feelings of hopelessness and despair to lives filled with hope and a future.

This little girl enjoys a daily cup of porridge made possible through donations to the Matanya's Hope porridge program.  Without such donations, she may be one of countless children who go days without a single meal.

This little girl enjoys a daily cup of porridge made possible through donations to the Matanya’s Hope porridge program. Without such donations, she may be one of countless children who go days without a single meal.

From our porridge program (which feeds 2000+ students daily), to the 10,000 liter rainwater tanks which provide clean safe drinking water vs. polluted, bacteria ridden river water most are forced to drink, we are saving lives.

Young Sabina stands by a bottle of water her family recently collected from a nearby river.  Her family will drink, bath  with and cook with this water.

Young Sabina stands by a bottle of water her family recently collected from a nearby river. Her family will drink, bath with and cook with this water.

Today, Matanya’s Hope has 240+ students sponsored in boarding schools (and we just added another today!) including 49 university students who are marching to a much brighter employment future with their education. We have graduates in accounting, engineering, nursing, teaching, business, beauty, information technology, culinary arts, pharmacy and law. Together, we have accomplished all of that and more.

Just sponsored!  Nkatha, orphaned and living with her old, jobless grandmother, can now live and dream with Matanya's Hope.  Sponsorship means she will go to school, enjoy daily nutrition, have clothing, shoes, school supplies and most of all... SHE CAN HOPE.

Just sponsored! Nkatha, orphaned and living with her old, jobless grandmother, can now lvie and dream with Matanya’s Hope. Sponsorship means she will go to school, enjoy daily nutrition, have clothing, shoes, school supplies and most of all… SHE CAN HOPE.

This year our appeal is different. Matanya’s Hope must strengthen our core funding so that we may continue to provide the lifesaving food, water, counseling and other extraordinary programs we have developed – all which bring hope to our kids.

While it is essential to maintain individual student sponsorships and their needs, the need for core financial support has turned critical. This funding supports: the shipping of much needed donations, mailings, and the maintenance and gas for our vehicle during the 3-month mission in Kenya. My time in Kenya is spent gaining new introspective and serving each of our students, visiting their communities, and dispersing the donations where they are needed most. Last year over 3.5 tons of donations were shipped for a little over $13,000. That is 7000 pounds shipped for less than $2.00 lb. Operation Christmas Child does a wonderful job delivering shoe boxes of gifts to needy children and they collect $9.00 for each box. That is 4 times the cost of our delivery method. We operate on two continents and incur related costs in maintaining our position with both Kenya and the United States governments.

This little guy was thrilled to receive the gift of shoes through your donations.

This little guy was thrilled to receive the gift of shoes through your donations.

As we have grown so has the work load. We have in the past depended solely on a volunteer board and a few volunteers who have done all the paper work of financing and accounting. Matanya’s Hope runs a very streamlined budget to cover necessities, but as our impact on the region expands so does our need to have to have someone oversee the legalities of our 990s and record keeping in a non-profit world. Barring a fully versed volunteer on the regulations of non-profits, I may from time to time need to outsource a few of our critical documents for professional mandate.

Each annual mission includes volunteer participants who pay their own way. In no way do core funds support our mission volunteers.

Mission participant Emily and the team of 6 friends traveling from their USA University showered the children with faith, hope and love.  In so doing, all of us were transformed.

Mission participant Emily and the team of 6 friends traveling from their USA University showered the children with faith, hope and love. In so doing, all of us were transformed.

For our donors who specifically contribute to one of our other programs such as porridge or water tanks, thank you. We appeal to you to continue supporting our efforts by contributing to our core fund. Please help Matanya’s Hope maintain the services provided to so many in need. Our goal is to increase our core fund by $35,000; to operate effectively in the coming year. Thank you for your continued provision.

Simply put, we are asking that each of us who believe in the work Matanya’s Hope is doing to raise competent human beings out of the storms of life, donate to this need. Dig a little deeper and contribute to help Matanya’s Hope grow.

We are near the time of year when we all think of giving and I can’t imagine a better cause to help.

These children are praying over a 10,000 liter rainwater storage tank made possible through donations to MH.  Prior to the tank being place, the children suffered from dehydration and related issues including lack of ability to focus

These children are praying over a 10,000 liter rainwater storage tank made possible through donations to MH. Prior to the tank being place, the children suffered from dehydration and related issues including lack of ability to focus

This is John.  Just a few months ago, he was sleeping cold and hungry, on a dirt floor.  He was frequently subjected to homelessness; his mother could not afford $3 rent.  Today, he finds joy in writing to his sponsor and in attending school.

This is John. Just a few months ago, he was sleeping cold and hungry, on a dirt floor. He was frequently subjected to homelessness; his mother could not afford $3 rent. Today, he finds joy in writing to his sponsor and in attending school.

MH university student, Phineas Kaimenyi, is pictured here on University campus.  Only a few years ago, he thought university was a dream for others, not for him.

MH university student, Phineas Kaimenyi, is pictured here on University campus. Only a few years ago, he thought university was a dream for others, not for him.


Michelle Stark
Board President
and Ann Thomson, Board V.P.

2ceb0024-4dd3-42f1-b0a3-a43191e5a08f

I Asked “Why”

We have different skin colors and different lives, but our hearts and spirits are one and nothing can ever take that away.

We have different skin colors and different lives, but our hearts and spirits are one and nothing can ever take that away.

1998, America

A child is born into comfort and ease. Her parents love her more than words can say. They sacrifice financially so no opportunity of life passes her by. They pay for her education. New uniforms every year, multiple shirts and skirts in case anything happens. Every schoolbook is bought, and her room is filled with storybooks there just for her enjoyment. Her education throughout every stage is a given, and learning is something she often takes for granted. The opportunity to go to college is a guarantee she looks forward to each passing year. The only question in her mind is which university will she attend. Her family by no means lives a lavish life according to American standards, but she has never had to question anything: food, housing, school, clothing. She does not know these as luxuries but as the basic commodities of life.

2008, Kenya

A child is born into poverty and hardship. Her parents love her more than words can say. They sacrifice financially, but still the opportunities of life pass this little girl by. They can’t always pay for her education. When they can, they can only afford a few days of school at a time and one uniform sweater. Tattered and torn, she wears it year after year even after she has long outgrown it. Her parents can barely afford her school books, if they can at all, and at night she dreams of what it would be like to have even one story book of her own. Throughout every stage of her life, her education is never a guarantee. She has no way of knowing if her parents will be able to afford sending her to school tomorrow. She dreams of attending college, but that dream is out of reach on her own. She has to question everything in her life: food, housing, school, clothing. She lives everyday not knowing if she will have the basic commodities, which to her are actual necessities, of life.

The smile adorned by this precious child almost made it difficult to imagine the hardships he faces every day.

The smile adorned by this precious child almost made it difficult to imagine the hardships he faces every day.

2018, Matanya Primary School

I am the girl in the first description, and yesterday I met countless students who fit the second. As I looked into their eyes, the thought running through my mind endlessly was why? Why was I born into the life I have; why they theirs? What have I done to deserve anything I have? And the answer is nothing. I did not choose my parents, nor did I choose where I was to be born. Everything I enjoy in my life of luxury has been provided for me. As I returned the student’s shy smiles, and held their little hands, the truth of human equality hit me like never before. The students were so smart, so gentle, so beautiful, so driven, and so joyful. We played in the dirt and laughed and danced and we were the same. We were human. We were from different sides of the world, different cultures and families, but united by our humanity. And it was the students who changed me, not I them. They touched my soul in a way words fail to describe. I hope that these came close. If you are reading this, I hope it caused you to recognize the blessings in your life. I hope you paused for a moment to consider the people to whom those blessings are not attainable. I hope you will consider this question that has now become a part of my heart: for what other reason have I been blessed than to pour out my life in service to help my fellow man?
We are all the same; we are all worthy of love.

The children are free with one and other, sharing love, friendship and joy despite their circumstances.

The children are free with one and other, sharing love, friendship and joy despite their circumstances.

Alaina Clem
Matanya’s Hope Mission Participant, 2018

Amazon smiles Banner for blog jpg

Shop Amazon and Help our Children

Your shopping makes a difference. Do your regular Amazon shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/13-4330919 and Amazon donates to Matanya’s Hope.

This is Sabina Nyaguthi.  She dreams of going to school like the other children, but fees often prevent her from attending class.

This is Sabina Nyaguthi. She dreams of going to school like the other children, but fees often prevent her from attending class.

Shop at Amazon Smiles – Matanya’s Hope. Together, we can make this world a better place… and shop too!

Purchase your:
Groceries
Summer clothes & shoes
Toys for the kids
Health food items
Household items
Beauty Care
and so much more!

Happy Mother’s Day from All of Us at Matanya’s Hope

NEED FOR HOUSE - MOTHER FEEDING CHILD

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Matanya’s Hope!
In rural East Africa, mothers love their children.
They want to see their children prosper, just like we do here. But, the challenges these children and their families face are overwhelming. Mother’s often forage in the fields for mere pennies, hoping to feed their family a single meal. Cost of a solitary pencil is often prohibitive.

Children at Matanya Primary School understand the value of education.

Children at Matanya Primary School understand the value of education.

This Mother’s Day, you can bless your mother by giving the gift of HOPE. Kenyan mothers pray for the opportunity to send their children to school.
Say YES and give a mother in Kenya reason to smile!

Educate a child and you have helped a village.

Click the DONATE button at the top of this page.
or
DONATE through VENMO. Select Matanya’s Hope.

________________________________________

MICHELLE AND SABINA NYAGUTHI

The Matanya’s Hope 2018 mission team will be building a home for this mama who is fighting all odds to provide a stable environment for her family! We thank Jennifer Oliak and Oz of Salt for raising every coin to make this gift possible!
These are the kinds of blessings that your donations to Matanya’s Hope make possible.

________________________________________
This Mother’s Day, SHOP Amazon Smile and give to mothers in need!
Choose Matanya’s Hope as your beneficiary; make an impact on our mother’s in Kenya.

amazon smiles logo

CHILDREN LAUGHING AT CCM PRIMARY SCHOOL - NANYUKI

HEARTS & HANDS OF HOPE

Hi Everyone!
In less than 30 days, Matanya’s Hope Mission 2018 will be on it’s way to Kenya!
We still need your support.

HELP by Giving a Special Gift Today

Your gift of any amount will help our team:
WATER RELIEF:
Distribute Life Saving Rainwater Storage Tanks to Locations Without Safe Water
NOURISHMENT:
Feed Thousands of Hungry Children
MEETING DAILY NEEDS:
Distribute 3.3 Tons of Clothing, Shoes, Blankets, School Supplies, Medical Supplies and Items Supporting Good Hygiene
WHERE NEEDED MOST:
Your gift will help Matanya’s Hope provide life changing support to thousands of people in need.

To give using your credit card, click the DONATE button above.
To give using VENMO, select Matanya’s Hope and choose your amount.

THANK YOU for making this mission possible.

We could not do this without you.

Michelle
MICHELLE POSTER

Matanya’s Hope Official Mission 2018 T-Shirt is Here

First Ever Opportunity to Purchase a Matanya’s Hope Official Mission Shirt

Order your official Matanya's Hope TShirt today $15 Plus $7.95 shipping - for delivery in the USA.  (No additional charge to deliver to your student in Kenya)

Order your official Matanya’s Hope TShirt today $15 Plus $7.95 shipping – for delivery in the USA. (No additional charge to deliver to your student in Kenya)


This summer, seven students from Troy University will be traveling with Matanya’s Hope during the month of June. They will be visiting with many of our sponsored students, helping us to distribute much needed clothing, shoes, school supplies, etc. This is a great opportunity for you to purchase a Matanya’s Hope t-shirt and have it gifted to your student during the mission.

The Troy students are so excited to share love and encouragement with our Kenyan family.

In an effort to help raise funds for their own trip, the Troy students are selling these wonderfully soft, cotton t-shirts. What a win win!

Place your order by April 15.
You can pay via VENMO or by sending a check to Matanya’s Hope.

PO Box 562
Homewood, IL 60430

These shirts are only $15
Sizes available: S, M, L, XL
Color: Dark Grey (as pictured)

ALSO AVAILABLE:
2X $17.50
3X $18.50

Bella & Canvas Tee

Wafula was sponsored at the end of last year's mission.  Although he was the brightest student of his 8th grade class, he had no way of proceeding to high school.  Today, Wafula attends one of Kenya's leading boarding high schools and holds much promise for a bright future.  As he puts it, "I am a future star, not a scar".

HOLIDAY OF HOPE

Dear Friends,

There are so many reasons to thank you! Hundreds of Matanya’s Hope students are eagerly awaiting their new academic year. Countless young lives have been forever changed through your sponsorships and love. Just last year, Wafula (pictured above) was sponsored. His life of hunger and despair was changed through hope; he was granted the gift of a continuing education. Today, Wafula is a top performing student. His motto is “I am a future star, not a scar.” He is focused on becoming a doctor. He told me, “I want to be in a position to help others in life.” Wafula’s story is a reflection of your heartfelt donations! It’s because of you, our sponsors and donors, that he now attends school!

As you may know, for 13 years we have been reaching out in a wide variety of ways to those in need. We are personally seeing the incredible impact our support has made in their lives. We know that there is still much more to do.

This is Sabina Nyaguthi.  She dreams of going to school like the other children, but fees often prevent her from attending class.  Your sponsorship can change the world for this little girl !

This is Sabina Nyaguthi. She dreams of going to school like the other children, but fees often prevent her from attending class. Your sponsorship can change the world for this little girl !

In 2007, we humbly started Matanya’s Hope when 4 children were sponsored. Who knew that this one small act of kindness would soon translate to hundreds of students gaining an education and forever changing their lives. Today, Matanya’s Hope highlights university graduates in law, nursing, pharmacy, teaching, culinary arts and so much more! And our programs are ongoing. We currently have 250 students ranging from primary through university, who continue to embrace education through your sponsorships.

This is Lawrence, a Matanya's Hope graduate.  Today he is working in IT and passing the gift of hope to our current students and to many who are still waiting for their chance.

This is Lawrence, a Matanya’s Hope graduate. Today he is working in IT and passing the gift of hope to our current students and to many who are still waiting for their chance.

In the USA, the annual (or even a semester’s) cost of student books is often higher than the cost of a full academic year of education in Kenya! $125 per month can send a student to school for an entire year and this also includes uniform, supplies, transport, life changing conferences, minor medical & counseling, room & board, academic support and so much more!

It is so easy to donate!  Thousands of students have received school supplies through your generosity!

It is so easy to donate! Thousands of students have received school supplies through your generosity!

Your special gift to Matanya’s Hope can help a child go back to school. Invest in the gift of hope through education.

Students at Matanya Primary School are excited to thank their donors for the daily porridge and safe drinking water.

Students at Matanya Primary School are excited to thank their donors for the daily porridge and safe drinking water.

We could not do this without you. As my father says, “If a single day goes by where someone else doesn’t benefit from your being alive, you’ve wasted your day.” He got that from his grandfather, Harry Berman. It’s powerful stuff… I invite you to stand with me as we continue learning and growing… making this world a better place for all.

Happy Holidays!!!!
Michelle Stark
Founder, Matanya’s Hope

BOY DRINKING FROM FAUCET - RAILA PRIMARY - 500 DPI

Water is Life

It always amazes me that something as simple as water can have a life or death effect on people. Safe drinking water can help revive lethargy and help a student focus on their schoolwork. We’ve seen the miracle of safe water! It is the difference between going to the river to collect murky, brown water and putting a cup under the tank spigot to collect safe, clear hydration! The boy in the above photo is from Kibera. He is desperately trying to extract any remaining safe water from the pipe next to his school compound. Otherwise, he must depend on unsafe sewage water, infested with trash and human waste. It is through your giving that dramatic differences can occur in the lives of those in need every day!

This dirty river water in the photo above is all that remains from the mornings collection.  Due to no other choice, the rest has been consumed.

This dirty river water in the photo above is all that remains from the mornings collection. Due to no other choice, the rest has been consumed.

Thanks to the support of our friends and donors, Matanya’s Hope was able to place more than 23 ten-thousand liter rainwater storage tanks during our most recent mission, just 3 months ago. And I am excited to share with you that when a child gains access to safe, clean drinking water through your donations, we are offering the gift of hope. Sometimes, for the very first time, deadly diseases such as typhoid and cholera fade into the background and crystal clear drinking water fills hearts and bellies.

This little girl is so excited as their newly donated tank is being filled with safe water.

This little girl is so excited as their newly donated tank is being filled with safe water.

Matanya’s Hope is indebted to organizations like: B’nai Torah Congregation, Living Springs Community Church, Ox of Salt and H.O.T. for collectively providing the gift of safe drinking water to remote schools, orphanages, clinics and families who otherwise had none.

The children of this Masai village gather with me around their new tank, donated this year.

The children of this Masai village gather with me around their new tank, donated this year.

Rainwater storage tanks come in a variety of sizes and range in price from $350 to $1,500. Individual placement includes building a secure (usually concrete) base for the tank to stand on and the installation of a gutter system designed to deliver the rainwater through the tank’s sieve. Finally, each tank is beautifully inscribed with the donor’s name and a message of hope. During the dry season, we strive to fill each tank upon delivery with clean drinking water.

Make a difference today!   Donate a rainwater storage tank and give the gift of life to those in need.  In the above photo,  safe drinking water is being collected from a newly placed tank.

Make a difference today! Donate a rainwater storage tank and give the gift of life to those in need.
In the above photo, safe drinking water is being collected from a newly placed tank.

If you or anyone you know is interested in donating a life saving rainwater storage tank to those in need, please contact me personally through email: [email protected] or by responding to this post. Safe water is life. What a beautiful gift to give this holiday season.

It is my prayer that through donations, Matanya's Hope will be able to provide this little boy and his family with safe water for the very first time.

It is my prayer that through donations, Matanya’s Hope will be able to provide this little boy and his family with safe water for the very first time.