Category Archives: The Children

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My Name is Shelmith

My name is Shelmith Njeri Karuri.

I vividly recall how difficult my life was before I was enrolled in the Matanya’s Hope Sponsorship program. My dad passed away when I was at a tender age of 9 years old. He left four young children with my mom who is a housewife. She was not able to raise school fees for us. Even getting a simple pair of shoes was hard. Sometimes we had to go without and we walked to school barefooted on many cold, chilly mornings. Most of the time, I was sent away from school due to lack of school fees. When I got to grade 7, I was even more worried. I lost hope of ever joining secondary (High) school. With hopelessness darkening my days, I began to relax academically.

This is me in 2007.  I am front left.  It was a happy moment for me to be in the presence of other Matanya's Hope girls.

This is me in 2007. I am front left. It was a happy moment for me to be in the presence of other Matanya’s Hope girls.

It was during this time that Matanya’s Hope learned of my story. I was enrolled in their program. Because my situation was so desperate, they enrolled me in a boarding school as they began their search for a sponsor. Michelle did everything to ensure me that I was loved and that all would be ok. I had not ever had someone to care about me like this before.

This is me in 2008.  I was enrolled in Slopesview Academy.  I had all I needed to succeed: love, encouragement, school supplies, food.... and a good school.

This is me in 2008. I was enrolled in Slopesview Academy. I had all I needed to succeed: love, encouragement, school supplies, food…. and a good school.

She bought me a pair of shoes and everything else I was in need of. I will never forget that day when I entered Slopesview Academy. It was a great school and my learning was very smooth!

Since then, my life completely changed. The Grad family offered to sponsor me. After primary school, the Grad’s sent me to one of the best high schools. They made sure I got everything and none of the days was I ever sent out of school due to lack of fees! They even came to visit me in school! I could not believe my eyes!

Though the help of Matanya’s Hope, as I write this now, I am a second year student pursuing the course I have always been dreaming of. I attend one of the best Universities in Kenya. I am humbled as I write to tell you that God has blessed me! I am reaching my goals and surely, life is not a hopeless mess. Still under sponsorship, the Grad family has made sure that I get my academic fees and my transport to and from school…and everything else. Matanya’s Hope is REAL. Much thanks to our founder Michelle Stark and our kind sponsors.

My sponsors give me so much inspiration.  They encourage me through letters they write and books they send.

My sponsors give me so much inspiration. They encourage me through letters they write and books they send.

You have All changed the lives of many children. And that is just the beginning. As we marry, our future generations will be educated and will suffer less at the gripping hands of poverty. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for all that you do. I know now that I have a bright future.

God bless Matanya’s Hope.

Shelmith Njeri Karuri

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ANNITAH

Annitah and her Sintoyei, sponsored by the same couple, now call themselves "sisters".

Annitah and her Sintoyei, sponsored by the same couple, now call themselves “sisters”.

I see her hurrying as she walks past me. her head is newly shaven. She wears a clean uniform and has toothbrush in hand.
Her round cheeks let me know she is called Annitah. Even in the darkness of early morning, I know her well.

My heart swells with a love and joy uncountable in this physical life. In my mind, I also see last year’s pictures where Annitah wore rags. I feel the pain again as I recall watching her bend over a basin of river water, scrubbing dishes and washing floors by hand. I smile briefly as I recall her standing closely to her cucu (grandmother) working on the shamba (farm) to help her earn a coin for school – for food – for life.

Annitah during last year's mission.  Today she is sponsored and has the hope of a life blessed by education.

Annitah during last year’s mission. Today she is sponsored and has the hope of a life blessed by education.

I feel overjoyed. Our little girl is sponsored. Today she is in uniform. She is going to school.

The house bustles with energy. More than 20 Matanya’s Hope children scurry about washing, packing and getting ready to go to their perspective boarding schools facilities. The holiday is over. Those with long hair are carefully braided. Many shades of brown skin glow from the newly applied oil. Names are shouted into the morning air. Quincy. Naishorwua. Lanto. Jennifer. Pendo. Christine, Felister. Nasieku. Lilian. Nashula. Naini. Resui. Sintoyei. Wewe (“You”). The names are more than 20 in one house!

Taiyana holding a new set of markers for school.

Taiyana holding a new set of markers for school.

Let me be honest here. How many of us would give up our personal privacy to allow more than 20 children from different families – different cultures – different backgrounds and personalities to stay with us – to promote their education – to help them study and to develop a family? Most of these 20 are teens. If you have even one child of your own, you know, raising another soul is not easy. I don’t know how well I myself could do this. But I see it here. the 20+ students who live here during breaks range in age from 10-22. They come from all directions of Kenya and Tanzania (a neighboring country). I recall the day we traveled 17.5 hours to find Pendo and Witness in 2009 in Arusha Tanzania – and all we knew was their town and Witness’ name. God is SO good!

Moreen holding toothbrush and toothpaste, some of the many items donated to her for school.

Moreen holding toothbrush and toothpaste, some of the many items donated to her for school.

Last night I watched another procedure as Mrs. Mugo divided school supplies among the students. Bars of soap for washing clothes. Bars of soap for bathing. Colgate. Toothbrushes. Shoe polish. Toilette paper. Pens, pencils, erasers…supplies overflowed. You make them possible. Thank you Matanya’s hope for every contribution to these children’s lives. There are no adequate words to say what you are doing for these kids. You are hope to their souls. Let them grow, God, to become Your next servants to lift this nation.

Jeff Wambugu proudly displays his two new uniforms sweaters!  He is ready to go back to school.

Jeff Wambugu proudly displays his two new uniforms sweaters! He is ready to go back to school.

For all that I see, for all the joys, for all the triumphs over the challenges we face in every direction, thank you.

I don’t know how to express to you, our donors and sponsors, the magnitude of your gifts of love, education and even life support that you are giving to these souls.

I pray for strength as we continue together. Let us touch these lives to forever change the world for the better. Amen

Resui holds her new bookbag!.  What a great gift!

Resui holds her new bookbag!. What a great gift!

Michelle

Winnie – My Story

Hi.  I am Winifred Kinya.  By the grace of God, I've been sponsored by the Robinson's through  Matanya's Hope.  Thank you for changing my life!

Hi. I am Winifred Kinya. By the grace of God, I’ve been sponsored by the Robinson’s through Matanya’s Hope. Thank you for changing my life!

HI.
My name is Winifred Kinya. Some of you may already recognize me from the video on facebook (though I don’t have internet, Michelle has shared the video with me). I am the elder of the two sisters being interviewed.

For the first few years of my life, until 2010, I lived in a very happy family. But all was to change when alcohol took over my dad’s life. He frequently came home drunk and furious. He would demand his supper. It was only my mom who could face him. On one occasion, she told him: “For some few days now you have not been bringing food into this house. How do you expect the chidlren to survive?” My dad got more furious. He threw everything to the ground and turned to my mom and started yelling at her. He slapped her in front of us. We feared this man who used to be so kind; we did not know why our dad changed.

My elder sister became our protector and took us to her room. At the same time, my mum left the house and walked into the night. We locked ourselves in the room.

Morning brought a new day and my dad followed his usual routine. He left for work around 10. My mum came home and told us to pack; my youngest sister Annita and I would be moving out to my grandparents rural home in Meru. My elder siblings would remain in Nairobi for school.

We could not make it to Meru. My mom did not have enough money to facilitate our travels. We stayed with her aunt for the night and through her goodness, she gave us transport to complete our journey. Although my grandparents were old and no longer worked, they welcomed us with opened hands; I heard my grandmother say to my mum, “these are my kids and nobody will take them away ever, even if it is their father; from today this is their home.” My mom looked for a school and enrolled us in Victory Academy to continue with our education. I was in class 5 while Annita was in day care.

Empty pockets were plentiful; money was tough to get. Mum worked long hours every day, working on other people’s shambas (farms) plucking tea leaves for about $1.50 a day. She raised half of our fees but this was not enough to keep us in school. We were sent home for 3-4 weeks without attending class. The next term was the same. I did not even do my end of term exams because of school fees due.

In 2011, my mom spent some time trying to work on her marriage with my dad. We all dreamed of a family the way it used to be. Soon, mum got a younger child and my dad denied the baby. He refused to give even a single coin for her care. My grandparents paid for everything. First us and now our baby sister. Though they relied on the little they could earn by picking tea, they taught us to give unselfishly and with love.

The years were hard. I could not find peace because every day was a day where the school could send me home for fees. I missed so many lessons. My hopes of finishing primary school or ever going to high school were low. I saw others being sponsored, but my name was not chosen.

Then, in 2014, an angel from above, Michelle Stark, found me crying. I explained to her that I was the only one in my class without a way to go on our class tour. She walked with me and listened to my story. She promised to work hard to find me a sponsor.

Today, I am able to learn well through the support of Matanya’s Hope and my wonderful sponsors Barrie and Gail Robertson. I never leave school for fees.

Thank you for standing by my side. Today I am at Kijabe Hospital with Michelle and the missions team. They brought me here for medical treatment after learning that my voice has been reduced to whispers since last year. Tomorrow I go through a naseo-ensopologial scope. Matanya’s Hope has not left my side.

My dream is to complete my education with a degree in banking or accounting. I want to use my resources to help other children like me, most of all, those who have been orphaned.

Michelle has helped my sister and I. Now my mom never works on other people’s shambas (farms). Though she cleans toilets in the big city far from home, I am very proud of my mom. She stands by our sides with love. She shares every coin she earns with a kind and giving heart. I thank God for such role models in my life!

Thank you Matanya’s Hope.
Thank you Barrie and Gail Robertson.
Thank you Mom.

I thank Bill and Heather Cooper for sponsoring my little sister Annita.  You have been a mighty blessing to her!

I thank Bill and Heather Cooper for sponsoring my little sister Annita. You have been a mighty blessing to her!

You are all a part of my wonderful family!

Winifred Kinya
Standard 8
Matanya’s Hope

Witness – My Hope

My Name is Witness Niini Lesariko. I am from Tanzania. Honestly, my life has been a blessing – a living testimony. I have loved how God has brought important people into my life. He uses us together for His purpose. These people are making it possible for me to go to school and that means they are helping me achieve my dreams. Before, I could only wonder if I would ever be educated.

My dad ran away from home when I was 5 days old. All through I have never enjoyed dad’s love even to the tiniest bit. I have seen daddies who are everything to their little girls, but for me, I did not know mine. I simply have grown up to know my mother as the only parent I have.

My mom standing outside of our mud home in Arusha, Tanzania in 2009.

My mom standing outside of our mud home in Arusha, Tanzania in 2009.

He left my mum with nothing to help us survive. My mum had to look for odd jobs around our home to get food for my older brother and me. This is not what a mum who has just given birth would be expected to do, but she just could not sit idle and let us suffer and cry. Little children don’t understand.

It was not easy growing up with all these challenges. Nevertheless, through God’s grace we did manage to get where we are today. I studied for my entire primary school education in Tanzania and I joined high school there.

I had to bear up with missing classes from time to time due to lack of school fees. The little money that my mum got was not even enough to supply us with two simple meals a day. The teachers were not keen on us missing and they would not allow us to make up the work we missed. But without fees, there was little choice. The schools sent us away. I devised some means of surviving in school. It became heavy on my heart because I was being dishonest, but it was all I could do by then. I would be sent home for fees but I never left the place. I would sneak back to class and keep avoiding my teachers. I knew they were tired of my excuses but I just had to be in class. I knew a good education was the only wealth I had and there was no way I was going to let the opportunity go just like that.

Though I couldn’t understand then why this had to happen to me, I now know for sure that God had great plans for me – more than I could actually dream of.

First, we had visitors to our school. They were students from the USA and our teacher assigned each one of us to partner with one of them. I got Talia. I could not speak English, not even a word, but I enjoyed her company so much. When the students left, many of them gave gifts to us, but I found a way to tell Talia I only want education.

Talia traveled with Matanya's Hope for 17 1/2 hours to find me.  Here we are just moments after they arrived.  L to R Witness, Talia and Pendo (my best friend)

Talia traveled with Matanya’s Hope for 17 1/2 hours to find me. Here we are just moments after they arrived. L to R Witness, Talia and Pendo (my best friend)

I will never forget the year 2009 – It is the year that God brought His angels in my life. They traveled 17 1/2 hours, across Kenya and into Tanzania, only knowing that I lived in Arusha Tanzania…. and they came to find me. I could not imagine how anyone would do this great thing to another person. When I saw the car arrive at my school, my heart felt as if it was beating outside of my chest! I was really shaking. These angels from Matanya’s Hope had come all that way for me!

Matanya’s Hope has since transformed my life. Erica – my sponsor has proved to be my heaven sent. I honestly do not know where I would be without her support. Being sent home from school for fees was never to be my reality again.

Through Matanya’s Hope, I met many new friends from Kenya and the USA. GG is one who has imprinted my life; each mission, she teaches me poetry that makes me feel love and hope. She has shared stories with me that make me feel so alive.

Yes. I should say this too; Kenya education standards are much higher than in my own country, Tanzania. In Tanzania, the curriculum is purely in Swahili while in Kenya, most of the curriculum is purely in English. I know it sounds funny, but I did not any English words. Not a single one – except for “hello”. It was a foreign language to me, but, I had to master it for the sake of my studies in Kenya. For the first few months, I could only stare at my books and pray and really cry. The entire world was foreign for me. It was not easy. Matanya’s Hope continued to encourage me. They promised me it would be like a flame; once I started to understand English, the whole world would feel brighter. Despite the pain, I believed too much in my dream; I never allowed myself to give up.

The sun will rise and set and each day is a new day filled with the miracle of God's love.

The sun will rise and set and each day is a new day filled with the miracle of God’s love.

Even when last year, God called my precious mum home. Matanya’s Hope surrounded me with love and many traveled with me all those miles to support me during the days of burial. During that heartbreak, my father tried to find me and marry me off, but I refused to entertain such silliness.

I can tell you for sure I am a different Lesariko now….not the one Matanya’s hope found buried deep in the dust because of poverty! I am finding my voice as a girl and I am growing into a strong, determined woman. I will make a difference in this world and I will help others to do so, like Matanya’s Hope is helping me.

I am in my fourth year in High school. As you can see, I can now speak English. I am still learning, but it is true; the flame is lit. I believe I am going to make it.

I want to tell every one reading this that God is not a human being – even if all were to leave us, He will always stick with us.

I wish to thank my sponsor Erica and Matanya’s Hope founder, Michelle Stark, for the incredible work they are doing. In addition, to all those who are sponsoring a child, please know it in your heart that your sacrifice is changing a life somewhere. I could have been married off long ago, and even last year, but now, I am the symbol of Hope through God’s hand and yours, through Matanya’s Hope.

To Erica my sponsor, you are a great gift – my treasure. I adore you.
To my mum, I shall honor you in all my days.

Witness Niini Lesariko

Me today at my high school in Kenya.

Me today at my high school in Kenya.

Pendo (L) and me (R) today.  We are both schooling in Kenya through the generosity of Matanya's Hope sponsors

Pendo (L) and me (R) today. We are both schooling in Kenya through the generosity of Matanya’s Hope sponsors

I Said No to Drugs and YES to HOPE Through Education

Life is good, even in the face of adversity. You just have to hold onto hope.

Matanya's Hope gave me everything : even this wonderful calculator!

Matanya’s Hope gave me everything : even this wonderful calculator!

My name Is Phineas Kaimenyi. I am a Kenyan and I live in in the remote mountains of Meru County in Kenya. I am currently a form three student, known to you in the USA as a Junior. I attend Nanyuki Boys High School and am the first born in a family of three.

When I was in class two my father left home and went away. No one in my family – including my mother has any idea of where he went. Honestly, I miss my dad every minute of my life. This made my life seem hopeless until God proved to me that He could work in a way different from what men think – by the time you are through with reading this, I assure you, you will agree with me that God has been amazing in my life.

Since that time, my life became hectic – my mum could not support us with our basic necessities – I know it pained her to see us suffer but she had no means. Have you ever slept on an empty stomach for a day or two? This was part of our growing up. Two days hungry was normal to us, but it hurt.

My mum went out seeking a job that at least would give her something to put on the table but do you think anyone cared to know what she had been through? The only job available for my dear mum was to sell drugs! Honestly, this pained me so much since, other than just selling the drugs which I knew was not what any one in their right would want their mother to do, it involved associating with people of all sorts – even drunk men! It always pained me to see my mum live such a life but there was nothing I could do – to tell you the truth it just made me feel miserable and so hopeless.

Despite the effort that my mum had in this business, it was not well paying at all. The money she got was not even enough to cater for our food. We could not afford to buy clothes. We felt like we were just shadows of life.

Though I love school and I knew how desperate I was for education, I could not afford the fees. I wanted to study and change my family – I wanted to feel some hope but there was none!

Imagine I had no good shoes and now I have these!  Thank you!

Imagine I had no good shoes and now I have these! Thank you!

I struggled every day to find the coins demanded by school so that I could attend class. I struggled this way until I finished std 8 (8th grade). Many were the days that I failed and had to exchange my desire for books to work in someone’s fields: digging, planting, weeding…from sun up to sun down and yes, hungry. But, no matter my absences, at the end of the year in std 8, I sat for my class eight exams. Here in Kenya, the marks you get on these exams qualify you to join high school. By God’s grace I attained 320 marks! This was a miracle considering the many times I never went to school – and even when I did, it was on an empty stomach. I qualified to join a good school in Kenya but this was not even heard of in my family. Getting to class 8 itself was an achievement. I desperately wanted to join high school but where could I get the fees? How could I even tell my mum that a school principal somewhere demanded that I pay fees? I only made a prayer to God, though by then I didn’t even believe He existed.

I confronted my Primary school head teacher about my trouble in raising the required fees. He was touched by my story and suggested that I go and look for this man who happened to work with an American based organization which sponsored needy students. The man’s name was Julius. I was desperate and would not give up until I found him! Funny enough, success shined during our meeting and he invited me to repeat std 8 in hopes that I might get a sponsor within that year. If we could manage to secure a sponsor, I would have hope to continue my education through their support and love. This I agreed to without much struggle at all. I worked tooth and nail to perform at my level best! I knew where I came from. I needed to believe in change.

Talk of miracles happening!!!!!

I was introduced to Michelle Stark who, since then, has proven to be my heaven sent. She gave me blankets and soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste, pencils and so much I could not believe my eyes. But most important, Michelle believed in my story. She saw something special in me and told my story to Patrick Ormsby, who became my beloved sponsor.

What a miracle!  I am Phineas, standing before you in my High School Uniform made possible by Matanya's Hope and my dad, Pat!

What a miracle! I am Phineas, standing before you in my High School Uniform made possible by Matanya’s Hope and my dad, Pat!

I was happy to be sponsored by Pat. This was a miracle and I could not ask for more. My hopeless life was now transforming before my own eyes. I could now confidently talk of a brighter future – of achieving my dreams – of changing my family status.

My dearest, my Mum Michelle, not only helped me to get a sponsor but also has been my solace and inspiration. She always makes sure that I am comfortable at school and even at home. She has actually found me a better place to live away from my drunken mum. This has increased my concentration in school.

My Loving dad Pat has been so good to me. He is always ready to listen to me. I take him as a special gift given to me by our Heavenly Father. What a wonderful dad!!!

My life experiences are teaching me the importance of giving back to others: helping them when they need help – giving them hope since I believe that there is always hope for us.

I thank God for the good opportunity He gave me. I am using it to my maximum by working hard every day so that I will reach my destination. When I start earning, I will give back to the poor, helping them as Matanya’s Hope is helping me.

I would love to tell everyone who is making sacrifices to support Matanya’s Hope that their sacrifice is changing the life of an individual who might never have had a way out of hunger, hopelessness and despair. That coin that you donate may be just what someone here in Kenya has been asking God for.

Special thanks to Matanya’ Hope and all who have been supporting this beautiful work that God started in Michelle.

Phineas Kaimenyi
matanya's hope LOGO2

Mikunduri Girls … My School By Kamanga Jane Wangui

This is me in 2007 before I was sponsored.  Matanya's Hope gave me school supplies and shoes.

This is me in 2007 before I was sponsored. Matanya’s Hope gave me school supplies and shoes.

I did not know that I would ever make a step ahead in my life. I lost hope in getting a good education. I lost hope in getting shelter. I lost hope in general. I had given up in life.

Then came Matanya’s Hope. I thank God because of them; they are giving hope to many children who lost hope in life. I being among them. Matanya’s Hope has changed the world for me and my family.

In 2008, my whole life was transformed from hopelessness to hope… one level to another.

I was brought up in a family of six children. My parents were not able to provide us with basic needs such as soap, tissue paper, or even a pencil for school. Sometimes, we had no choice but to go to bed without food. Education was also a tough struggle for my mum and dad who were jobless. Unless they worked for someone doing odd jobs, we did not have money to buy food. My parents did not earn enough money to support our education and therefore, one of my brothers and sisters dropped out of school in class five. During that time, my sister and I were in nursery school. We missed a lot of school because there was no money for our school fees.

This is the bed I slept in with my 3 siblings.  We did not have a mattress.  We used torn clothing to fill the spaces between the wood.

This is the bed I slept in with my 3 siblings. We did not have a mattress. We used torn clothing to fill the spaces between the wood.

In 2003, Kenya announced FREE PRIMARY EDUCATION; I passed the interview well and I joined class one. I had to stay at home for one good year without going to a single day of school because we could not afford the books and pencils. They were not available to me.

The next year, I managed to go to class. My parents struggled to buy me one thin book of a few blank pages which I used to write all the subjects in. I worked very hard and I used to be among the top students. I was given books and pencils as rewards and therefore, I was lucky to get some more supplies through my hard work.

I finally had hope to continue with my education, but in 2005, when I was in class 3, my dad passed away. I was only 10 years old. I wept so much.

Life after his burial became very tough for all of us. We could not support ourselves and when we needed the support of our extended family, they started turning against us. They threatened to grab our land and make it their own. They forced my mum to leave home and she knew that she did not have a choice but to go. She left us behind… we were now on our own. My sister and I had no choice but to abandon school so that we could provide for the rest of our family. Among them was my little brother who was a toddler of two years old. We struggled too much and it was after a lot of suffering that our grandmother started taking care of us. She loved us so much but the same relatives who wanted to grab our land also did not want her to support our family.

Matanya's Hope built us a new home.  They gave us all we needed to be comfortable.

Matanya’s Hope built us a new home. They gave us all we needed to be comfortable.

She provided us with food and took care of my little brother. My sister and I returned to school. The pupils were now very much ahead of us but we tried our best to catch up with them. It was no use; staying at home for that long caused my marks to drop and my position was taken by someone else. This hurt me so much.

I refused to quit. I pulled up my socks until I came back to my position. My teachers were very happy. They helped me by giving me text books.

IN 2007, my sister was introduced to Michelle by Mr. and Mrs. Mugo. Through them, my sister’s life was never to be the same again. She was provided with clothes, shoes, and many items of which I also benefited from. In 2008, she was taken to a boarding school where her education was much better. She was provided with all of the books, uniforms, bedding, supplies, and even the toiletries that she needed. I was elated to see my sister in a good school. I found myself believing that we would make a step ahead and that our lives would never remain the same.

Me standing in front of the Victory Academy sign.  This was like a dream come true!  I was going to boarding school!

Me standing in front of the Victory Academy sign. This was like a dream come true! I was going to boarding school!


I benefited too. Mr. and Mrs. Mugo introduced me to Michelle in 2009. I was taken to the same boarding school where my sister studied. I was so happy and worked hard to ensure that I kept my top position.

The family was still intending to cause us harm; they were not happy and envied us openly. They refused to be associated with us and separated themselves from us during any family celebration. Though they did this to us, I am very proud of my grandmother who supported us and encouraged us to work hard in school and to put God first in all that we did. She also encouraged us to use the opportunity that Matanya’s Hope and our sponsor Tim had given us. I spent my vacations from school near my grandmother for her good stories. Some made me laugh, some encouraged me never to give up in life; others acted as a warning. Through her, I learned to cope with life. But our time was short. In that same year, she passed away. I got the information when I was at school. I wept too much.

Our director encouraged us. He told us that she passed away from old age. But she was the only one who loved, cared for and supported us. It was during her burial that my mum came back and she took us to live with her.

Matanya’s Hope gave us a better education. It gave me hope for a future life. I know that my dreams will materialize.

Matanya’s Hope provided our family with a shelter which was built for us to live in and to study in. They provided me with clothing, bedding and even sheep which enable us to earn a living. We sell the offspring when we have a need to be fulfilled. Our sponsor and Matanya’s Hope are taking so many people from my community to new heights.

This photo was taken during the most recent mission.   I am holding some of the pens  given to me.  Bless them for all they do!

This photo was taken during the most recent mission. I am holding some of the pens given to me. Bless them for all they do!

I found encouragement through them that it is not all lost; there is still way for a better tomorrow. I pray to The Almighty to bless our program so that it can change other people’s lives too. There is no discrimination here, regardless of status, tribe or colour. Matanya’s Hope supports all kinds of people from Kenya and beyond. I believe that I will make it in life. My dream is to become a teacher. One day, it will be me giving hope to students. I know I will support needy children as I am being helped today. God bless Matanya’s Hope forever and ever.

Yours affectionately,

Kamanga Jane Wangui

PSALMS 23:1-6
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
3 He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of The Lord
forever.

Me and my best friend in High School.  It is a miracle that I am here at such a great institution for learning.

Me and my best friend in High School. It is a miracle that I am here at such a great institution for learning.

Imagine, this is my old school.  Though the floors were dirt, I was happy to be in school.

Imagine, this is my old school. Though the floors were dirt, I was happy to be in school.

My Life Before – The Story of Faith

This is where we cook.  We make a fire on the ground.  I collect water when it rains with the yellow container.

This is where we cook. We make a fire on the ground. I collect water when it rains with the yellow container.


My name is Faith Wanjiru. I come from Nairutia, Kenya. It is a dry place. Crops can’t grow. We lack water for everything, even to drink.

When I was in class 3, in primary school, my father died. We were only left with my mother. We felt as if we had no hope.

To me, my life was very hard. Since we were very poor, we could not afford everything that we wanted, like food and shoes and story books. Our family was 9 in number. The little my mum got, she used to pay school fees. But it was not enough. Sometimes, we were sent away from school to go home and get fees. They did not care that we had to walk long distances to return home. We walked hungry. We cried.

Most of the time, we went without shoes. At church, children would laugh at us. We ate little food because my Mum had no job. We would stay the whole day without eating.

Mr Mugo is tracing my foot so I can get shoes.  It is a very exciting day for me!

Mr Mugo is tracing my foot so I can get shoes. It is a very exciting day for me!

We would work in the shamba (the farm where we tried to grow crops). That made our hands to become rough. I never thought that my life would be better. Our house was made of mud. We would share one bedroom. The house had three small rooms with dirt floors.

We would wear tattered clothes. Children born of rich parents would tease and look down upon us. Hunger threatened to suffocate us. Our villagers feasted on all types of food. We would coil into our mud house.

As days passed, my family members lost all hope and people thought of nothing concerning our future. We were so humiliated each painful moment we saw other children going to school when we were at home. In the morning, we could hardly afford a cup of sugarless millet porridge.

During my first term of class four, we were in the play ground at school. It was a dry field with wild brush and thorns. My mom came running. She could hardly breathe. She was calling our names, “Francis. Faith.” We also started running and we followed her for a long distance to Father Maina’s house. Michelle was there with Mr Mugo. I never saw her before. She was a mzungu. I stood with Francis. We were breathing hard and sweating. We always felt ashamed for our bare feet and tattered clothes. Michelle did not mind them. She was kind and loving. She asked me a lot of questions.

Her good friends were there too.

Here I am with my very own glue and a beautiful school uniform.  I could never imagine this was possible!

Here I am with my very own glue and a beautiful school uniform. I could never imagine this was possible!

This is when my life changed. I was helped by Matanya’s Hope. I got a sponsor named Lisa. Francis got a sponsor named Tina. We were helped a lot since then! They bought us uniforms and shoes. They took us to a good school. They love us. I really thank God for that. It was like a miracle happened in my life through God’s grace.

Thank you Matanya’s Hope for your kindness and your love. Now I am in class 8. I will not let you down. I will learn well so I can become somebody and help others as you have helped me. You have lifted me from nowhere to somewhere.

Faith Wanjiru Kimingi

This is me and my best friend Rose.  Matanya's Hope has changed our lives!

This is me and my best friend Rose. Matanya’s Hope has changed our lives!

Patrick – A Matanya’s Hope Student Who Shares His Lessons

Patrick Muriuki in one of his many school uniforms.

Patrick Muriuki in one of his many school uniforms.

Though labeled the smiling boy, Patrick is one of those students who never had it easy. He excelled in his academics throughout primary school and into high school. As a freshman (form 1) he was even promoted to school prefect. This is a very serious role. A prefect takes the responsibility of making sure all other students are in line. They make sure the dorms are well cleaned and students are well behaved. In the USA, this role would be considered an asset. Students could use it on their college and university applications to heighten their appeal to the school intake board. But this is far from the case in Kenya.

Though an esteemed role, the students often dislike the prefect (if the prefect is doing their job). And it’s not fun and games with school management either. When something goes wrong in the school, not only do the students responsible suffer, but the prefect suffers as well. The school often believes that it was because of poor management on the prefect’s part that the offense occurred.

And so begins Patrick’s academic battle.

As a freshman, Patrick agreed to attend a school in a remote region far from home. The school lacked water and was populated by members of a foreign tribe. In his time there, Patrick came to love the tribe, forging unique and wonderful friendships. He was quickly voted prefect… and trouble knocked the door to his perfect world down in a thunderous crash!

Since discovering wrong doing in the school, the students accused were expelled…
…along with Patrick, our A student and class prefect. He was shocked. “How can this be happening to me?”, he asked me repeatedly, his voice hardly audible. “Surely there is no hope for me to go on.” But with reassurance, we built this incredible guy back up and found him a new school.

Problem? Once you wear the “expelled” label in Kenya, you might as well be marked forever. Patrick did all he could to rise above the challenges. He knew he had to keep clean: VERY CLEAN. Though the curriculum was ahead of his old school, he worked hard… staying awake late and waking earlier than anyone else so he could study. He caught up with the class and was soon back to achieving the “A”s he was used to. Patrick was admired and voted class prefect. He could not believe how good it felt to be appreciated for his integrity and hard work. Life was getting better.

Within a few months, Patrick was further encouraged for his role as a model student and his academic excellence. He was warded a field trip. And just when life felt as sweet as the juice from a pomegranate, darkness struck. Students misbehaved.
They were reprimanded…
and Patrick
was dismissed
from another school.

His heard sank lower than before. No one wanted to hear anything. With two expulsions, it would be hard if not impossible to find another school. We went to everyone we knew and told them this remarkable student’s story. We got a lot of “no’s” but we got a “yes”! A miracle occurred.

Patrick was accepted to his THIRD school in a very short time period. This was a mixed boarding school and he was used to being with all boys. He did not want to go, but, grateful for the chance to be educated, he was fitted for his new uniforms and a new journey began. Patrick’s academic excellence elevated him to the top of the class almost instantly. Teachers applauded him for his work and soon, they saw the integrity in this model student. He was appointed class prefect.

A group from another boy’s boarding school broke into Patrick’s school while others were in class. They tried to set fire to the boys dorm. Who got expelled? Patrick. You don’t even have to ask anymore, right?

I was in Kenya at the time this happened. I have to say, it was getting hard to believe that this kid was as good as I believed he was.. I mean, how could this keep happening?

I rushed to the school and Patrick arrived with his head bowed low…eyes fixated on the ground. He could not address me. He could not look at my face. After some emotionally painful hours, he revealed that he was breaking under all of these pressures. “Surely”, he cried, “there will not be a way for me to be educated now. What am I doing wrong?”

We felt as if we were running out of network – but God is never short of resources! We had to get to work immediately so that we could help this young man on his journey ahead. Schools closed their doors. But one boarding school of average performance agreed to take Patrick in. We knew a teacher at the school who promised to keep a close watch on him for us. Patrick assured us, “I will stay focused on my studies this time.”. Finally, a year passed. Time neared for the end of high school exams: KCSE. (Here it is our SAT’S) Patrick was shocked to learn that he did not perform as expected. His heart sank. Universities give scholarships to A to B+ students and he missed the mark. All of the weight for University acceptance rests solely on the KCSE scores.

We talked to Patrick and after much deliberation, suggested that he repeat his final year in high school at – yes – yet one more school. He almost could not stomach the thought… but after careful prayer and consideration, he released the control he was trying to foster on his own life. “I know what I want and the only place to get that is through education.” he told me. “I will go.” So Patrick spent this last year repeating his final year of high school. Again.

But what Patrick got out of school was far more than his academic excellence. Patrick was molded into a man. He was brought low and hard and to his knees. He was stripped of his ego and served heavy doses of humility. And he pressed on. The smiling boy won… Though today he is a smiling man.

I received this message from Patrick today.
“We must realize that leadership believes that nothing is impossible and that there is not just one way to solve problems. Leaders never surrender to limitations and are not afraid to fail. You will never do anything great unless you are willing to fail. People who are afraid of failure never accomplish success. Leaders are willing to try anything once. People who do not venture, never have an adventure. God is a God of adventure. He told Abraham that He would take him to a place that he did not know. Leaders engage the unknown with faith and courage. You have to be courageous to be innovative. This really blesses my heart. It challenges me to fight more and more – it reminds me that champions fight more than once…..it also reminds me that defeat never happens to me until I confess defeat.”

Matanya’s Hope is proud to be walking on this earth with Patrick. We are honored to stand by his side. To his sponsors, we salute you – for we could not carry this torch on our own. To Don and Karen, thank you much! To Patrick, you just keep going. God is not done with you yet – but what He is doing in you is breath taking, simply breath taking! I am so excited for you to begin University Patrick!

He had to Lose a Finger to Gain Education.

Wilfed Mutegi Mworia. Poverty tried to swaddle him like a black cloak on the wings of a storm. From the get go, Wilfred wanted education. He wanted to learn, to become someone useful and to lift his family out of the abject poverty the faced every day.

Once Wilfred reached high school, the cost of education was too much for his family to bare. The choice became clear. Either Wilfred’s family would buy him a single pencil or they would provide a simple meal of cooked maize flour and water for the family. There were no other options. Wilfred prayed for a way to free himself from the oppression that was suffocating his dreams. He knew he had to find a job.

With no skills beyond a rural 8th grade education, Wilfred took a job in a rock quarry. There, casual laborers hand carved 2 foot long bricks from the stone surrounding them. Their only tools were chisel and mallet. They did all of this for less than $1 a day. Wilfred joined others in carrying the heavy carved building rocks 3 stories up to the quarry’s surface, using hand made steep ladders. One slip could end his life.

3 of these rocks equal the size of one brick carried by Wilfred to the quarry surface.

3 of these rocks equal the size of one brick carried by Wilfred to the quarry surface.

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Wilfred revisits the quarry and shows Matanya's Hope what his work entailed.

Wilfred revisits the quarry and shows Matanya’s Hope what his work entailed.

Donations “Save and Change my Life” by Wilfred Mutegi Mworia

“I’m very grateful for your unselfish donations you have ever made to save and change my life. You have really played a great role in my education more so, by financing my studies. May almighty GOD bless you. Actually, you came into my life at the right time. Before I met Michelle, my life was miserable and hopeless where poverty hindered me to think about a future. My dad was a drunkard who neither bothered nor cared about anything but getting a penny for his illicit beer.”

“Afterwards, my lovely mum took the burden of the entire family whereby she engaged in casual labor in order to feed us and cater for school expenses, but this did not go far since our first born dropped from school and got married as a teen. Later on she was also joined by my second sister.”

“Suddenly, life turned unfair where committing suicide was my next idea. This was due to the separation of my mum and dad. Together with my younger brother, we were left with my drunkard dad. This forced my brother to drop out of school and engage in casual labor to cater for me since I was near to sit for my primary national examinations which I passed well. I had to join high school.”

“Afterwards, I became more desperate because I had no one to help. I joined my brother who had by then indulged in drug abuse. I was determined to get back to school. I took a job (to raise my own money for school fees) at a nearby place and worked for many months. In the final week, I accidentally cut my finger off with a machete and had to be rushed to the hospital. They could not save my finger. The owner refused to pay me a single coin. He was holding all of my money since the time I started. Now I had nothing but the few coins I had saved earlier. I joined a rural secondary day school but I was unable even to pay those fees. Luckily, Michelle came to our school and she cleared my fees arrears, moved me to a better school and promised to find me a sponsor.”

Wilfred Mutegi Mworia showing Matanya's Hope the finger stub as a result of his accident at work.

Wilfred Mutegi Mworia showing Matanya’s Hope the finger stub as a result of his accident at work.

“I am so grateful for Matanya’s Hope accepted to relieve my burden and I am hoping for good results in my exams. I wish I may meet all of you who work so tirelessly to change the lives of the poor like me. One day, I will also help a needy child as you have helped me.”

Yours lovingly,

Mutegi Wilfred

STUDENTS HELPING STUDENTS

For 9 years Matanya’s Hope has ministered to our children – loving them, encouraging them and breathing HOPE into their hearts and souls.

Today, the gift was returned to us tenfold when graduate Charles Maina shared his own heart and experience with Mark Maina as they discussed university curriculums and life paths.
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As a small boy, Charles and his brother were left to fend for themselves. Surrounded by drunks and drug lords, Charles always knew that he would make it out of that place and would get educated. He just did not know how.

When Matanya’s Hope presented Charles with a full academic scholarship to a boarding school, he could hardly believe his ears! He welcomed 3 warm meals a day in replacement for the hunger he once knew and learning became exciting for the first time.

After graduating high school, Charles was accepted to a college program whereby he studied procurement and after graduation, he secured employment within the banking industry.
Charles Maina IMG_9569
During our conversations – and With a smile from ear to ear, Charles told me, “I never knew this could happen to me: Charles. But here I am. I have a good job. I am happy. I live well”….”After I help my brother, I will help another child who is like I was. Surely, I must do that.”

Mark Maina soon joined me at the table – eager to share stories after our 9 months apart. This gentle and kind man reminded me of the times he was lost and hopeless. But a newborn gentleness and faith flowed in our conversation. “I am a patient man”, he told me. “I must join university but God knows the right time.” “I want to study well and become a CPA. I know I can do it. I will do something to help this country of mine.”

Mark Maina expresses to mentor, friend and Matanya's Hope colleague that he is determined to become a CPA and to help another needy child.

Mark Maina expresses to mentor, friend and Matanya’s Hope colleague, Charles Maina, that he is determined to become a CPA and to help another needy child.

I knew that Charles and Mark had to talk. It was as if their stories were woven from the same tapestry. Within moments They forged a mentorship that will probably carry them far into the next chapters of their lives. But for now – we at Matanya’s Hope are humbled by the graces that God continues to shower on our students. Hope is something that so many of us take for granted…. but to be born poor – unwanted – hungry and alone is no joke.

Our children in Matanya’s Hope are blessed by your participation in this program. Whatever walk of life they come from, one thing is for sure… they know now that God has a purpose for them – and they know that they are loved.

Much thanks to every sponsor and donor – and to everyone who prays for our mission and our kids! Together, we are changing the world. Just ask Mark and Charles!

From Kenya –
Michelle