Category Archives: To Our Sponsors

The road towards success does not require that I have the best clothes, but asks only that I have a steadfast dedication towards my dreams.  Thank you Matanya's Hope for believing in me.

Matanya’s Hope: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Children become ill after drinking from stagnant pools when that is all the water available.

Children become ill after drinking from stagnant pools when that is all the water available.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
…the difference between starvation and enough to nourish the body
…the difference between an education and being lost in the cycle of poverty
…the difference between a career and considering yourself fortunate to earn .82 cents a day as a common laborer (not even enough for daily food)
…the difference between having a clean water source and water laiden with bacteria and disease
…the difference between sleeping cold and uncovered on a dirt floor and sleeping contented on a bed with a blanket
…the difference between suffering (or even dying) from malaria and having medication and protection from mosquitos
…the difference between being barefooted and having shoes to protect tender feet from the earth’s challenging conditions

This is considered a lucky child with a pair of shoes...

This is considered a lucky child with a pair of shoes…


Your gifts and donations to Matanya’s Hope make a huge difference in a child’s life.

Here, in the western world, our youth have access to free education K – 12. Most are fed at least twice a day and worry more about the BRAND of shoes they have or about acquiring the latest electronic devise.

But, in impoverished areas of Kenya, students walk miles to school and they long for any pair of shoes. An electronic devise is a novelty that few of these children have seen or even heard of.

Here, students know they must attend High School. Most do their homework and await the arrival of their coveted weekends. Many orphaned and impoverished students in Kenya will be unable to pay the fees for high school; for some of these most brilliant minds, schooling stops as early as 9 years old. Weekends are almost ALWAYS reserved for hard labor, with or without food.

In 2005, as I traveled and met the children of rural Kenya, my perception of “the rights of a child” was overwhelmingly challenged. I met 4 students in a dilapidated classroom. Dirt floors… no electricity… no running water… and bare feet surrounded me. These children were orphaned, malnourished and each one believed they would never walk through the doors to study at any high school.

Children waiting outside of a classroom at Matanya Primary School

Children waiting outside of a classroom at Matanya Primary School

Before I left Kenya, each one of these 4 students were sponsored by 4 of the families on tour with us. They became the first four Matanya’s Hope students (before we ever even had a name). Matanya’s Hope grew from this first act of love through the ongoing gift of Hope being planted in each of these four lives. And though I celebrated these students, I could not erase the faces of the 250+ barefooted children I saw who also deserved the same chance.

The four original students who once had no hope for furthering their academic minds, have now grown. Two are working adults and two are finishing degrees; one in education and the other in food science. Imagine the joy in having a teacher who understands the plight of hunger and abject poverty; what an encouragement she will be!

From a start of 4, Matanya’s Hope now sponsors 250 +- students ranging from nursery to university. We have students studying pharmacology, nursing, education, engineering, accounting, law and more……..We have a plethora of graduates who work in the following areas: teaching, tourism, procurement, chefs, banks, aeronautical engineering, accounting and so much more. Together we are making a difference.

IF EVER YOU FELT COMPELLED TO GIVE, NOW IS THE TIME.
CHILDREN ARE IN NEED OF YOUR HELP.

Soon we will travel back to Kenya for Mission 2017 and again we are going to meet the faces of starvation, malnourishment and hopelessness. Funds are needed to place water tanks in drought stricken villages, schools, homes, medical clinics and orphanages. Medical supplies are needed in the remote clinics (where even an aspirin is often hard to come by).

We are going to see heartbreaking hunger and torn and ragged clothing. We are going to see feet without shoes and students without pencils. We are going to find children who sleep on dirt floors without a single blanket.

Funds are needed now for shipping of over 4000 pounds of donations and supplies so generously provided by you, our donors. Thank you! We need funds to continue our porridge program that feeds over 1000 students (in three different schools) a daily cup of freshly prepared hot, nutritious porridge. For many this cup of porridge is all these hungry children receive daily. HOPE is YOU. It is in all of you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please listen to the song ‘Do Something’ by Mathew West and be the Hope these students and families need. ….

HOPE HAS A NAME. It’s YOU! Life is better for so many children and families, because you care!

Please help us continue this noble work.

Michelle Stark
Founder, Matanya’s Hope

Matnaya's Hope founder, Michelle Stark with two children from Matanya Primary School.  Photo taken during Mission 2016

Matnaya’s Hope founder, Michelle Stark with two children from Matanya Primary School. Photo taken during Mission 2016

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A Message from Lindsey

Hello, my name is Lindsey; I’m a Junior in high school. Last summer, my family decided to join Matanya’s Hope during the mission trip to be of service however we could. Our family has sponsored Theresa, a girl in Matanya, for many years.

This is me in the center of pure  bliss at Matanya Primary School.

This is me in the center of pure bliss at Matanya Primary School.

This trip moved me and compelled me to bring the joy of helping Matanya’s Hope home. I know first-hand the exhilaration of hearing news about how each one of these students is thriving, or in my case sister, from halfway around the world.

Since I’ve been home I haven’t been able to keep my mouth shut about the mission work and the drastic impact it had on my perception of the world. The dramatically different, and oftentimes tragic, way of life which I was immersed in contrasted with the overall quality of character I experienced in the people. The raw humanity I faced around every corner on this trip birthed a powerful hope inside of me – because now I KNOW that what we do and what we say indeed DOES make a difference.

Little boy in nursery school (baby class) receives school supplies.  He is as happy as the sun is hot!

Little boy in nursery school (baby class) receives school supplies. He is as happy as the sun is hot!

On our first day, (my birthday) we went to Kibera, one of the largest urban slums in all of Africa, whose existence (until very recently) the Kenyan government denied, allowing the leaders to deny these poverty-stricken areas of humanitarian aid. Even with peppermint oil-scented handkerchiefs pressed over our noses, the foul stench of human feces was pungent and grotesquely unmistakable. We were lead through the streets, lined with trash fires and beat-up storefronts which held everything from flip phones to unrefrigerated, raw meat swarmed with flies.

Upon arriving at Raila Primary, the first school we were donating clothing, shoes, school supplies (and more) to, we were welcomed by severely impoverished children singing songs and sharing very strong messages via poetry. Many were barefooted and dirty. They spoke longingly of their dreams to become journalists and teachers, as well as their literal sleeping dreams from which they beg their mothers not to wake them. The speeches exhibited the darkness that children in Kibera face – when a girl of maybe 10, warned girls and women to be cautious. “The men have lost control”, she said. “Fathers have turned against daughters, even animals are unsafe.” They sang the national anthem, and small high voices rose with pride, drowning out the ruckus of car horns, shouts, and the hustling of people walking on the tier of roads above the slum.

Young boy at Jamii children's center (orphanage) cooks beans and maize.  Well wishers make the food possible.

Young boy at Jamii children’s center (orphanage) cooks beans and maize. Well wishers make the food possible.

After our welcome, we were given a tour of the school. Narrow outdoor alleyways were noisy and cramped with dilapidated classrooms holding as many as 120 students each on either side. The odor of urine from the waste-filled, doorless pit latrines added to an almost unbearable, stifling effect. Still, the claustrophobia I experienced paled in comparison to that of the children packed like sardines in their classrooms, in a room the size of an average middle class American child’s bedroom. Perhaps the paint was fresh a decade ago, but now, it was grim and peeling. Chunks of the plaster walls were missing. Window frames were void of panes in some and complete with shards of glass in others. The ceiling, now filled with gaping holes, showed evidence of a missing barrier between roof and sky.

We later organized the kids into two separate lines where they would wait to receive a cookie and a pencil, clothes, shoes, toothbrush & toothpaste, school supplies, blankets and more. I was working with my father in the cookie and pencil department. Most of the children, we soon realized, would go through the line twice and receive double the cookies and pencils, which created a fair distribution problem when serving over 800 children. We informed the principal of this situation and once we all gathered again in the outside grounds for assembly, she instructed the children, with great authority, to pass up all the extra pencils. “If you have many, others have none,” she said. To my surprise, a murmur ran through the crowd and pencils began flowing to the front, flying out of hidden pockets and into the hand of the principal to be evenly circulated. I wish you could all experience this impact of raw honesty and respect from the young people at Raila Primary, in the middle of one of the world’s largest slums! It encompasses the immeasurable character that many of the students possess, despite the lack of good example displayed in their world. This learned respect and comradery puts them on a track to help their country flip the norm of corruption, and will help create a society fueled by honesty and hard work, one that pushes the invisible, of which there are so many of in Kibera, out of the darkness and into the light to be encouraged, educated, and accounted for.

The children play with Julia's hair.  They are fascinated by the different texture.

The children play with Julia’s hair. They are fascinated by the different texture.

At Raila Primary and other schools throughout Kenya, I was bombarded with questions from curious voices. “Do you eat “Omena fish?” was a constant. Initially confused, I was later told that it’s an old myth that Omena fish have eyes like the sea, and turn your eyes blue if you eat them. Yes, I have blue eyes but I don’t eat Omena fish. My hair was braided by countless hands, all eager to feel my long locks. It was a culture shock to be asked what tribe I was in, as I come from such an ethnically homogenous area like Northbrook. Overall, this incredible experience made my birthday one that I will never forget! I experienced beauty and love in a place where I would never have expected to find it – but where it changed my life forever.

Another over the top experience for me was meeting Theresa, the 17-year-old-girl that my family sponsors. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend a day with her, pulling her from studying for exams, something that she seemed pretty happy about. Apparently the chance to escape the monotony of studying is universally celebrated by teenagers worldwide. We showed Theresa photos of our family at ice hockey games, my school’s homecoming and at Thanksgiving dinner. We smiled, laughed and compared stories. Michelle, Matanya’s Hope founder told my family many times about Theresa’s home but nothing could prepare us for when we visited the one room dirt floor shack. It was carpeted with fleas visible a foot high and walled by rickety boards that were nearly eaten through by maggots. There was a small cot that Theresa and her mother shared which was permanently soggy, moldy, and bug-infested due to the rainfall that poured onto it through the nearly shredded plastic bag roof.

My dad playing soccer (football) here with kids at one of the orphanages we visited.  My eyes teared as I wondered if Theresa had ever played anything with her father.

My dad playing soccer (football) here with kids at one of the orphanages we visited. My eyes teared as I wondered if Theresa had ever played anything with her father.

Theresa regaled us with stories of Mrs. Mugo, both our hostess and Theresa’s old teacher. She warned us to watch our fingers later that night when Mrs. Mugo would be teaching us to make the traditional African flatbread called Chapati. She joked, “You might get whacked with a ruler if you do poorly!”

Our trip together took us for milkshakes and more giggles. Theresa had to sit through my dad’s business models (as all Masterman children must) and she pretended like the rest of us to be interested. Theresa was officially a part of our family. Our day ended idyllically with a game of catch: a father daughter luxury that, with a choked throat, I realized Theresa had probably never experienced. After sending Theresa back to school with a few gifts, I wished my new sister realized how many she had given me.

My mom and Wangechi.  It is just so easy to love these kids!

My mom and Wangechi. It is just so easy to love these kids!

I am so glad that you are sponsoring a child(ren). It is my hope that you will also experience the love, joy, emotional and academic gifts that Matanya’s Hope cultivates, first hand. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about my experience with Matanya’s Hope.

Lindsey

A Tribute of Thanks

5.10.11 Photos from Iphone 126

One year ago, I sat on the plane en route to Kenya and wrote the following:
Tribute to my wonderful Mom.

As you read these words, you are beautiful mom. In you I have a guiding spirit and friend. Your unselfish ways cradled me as I spent otherwise sleepless nights preparing for the mission. You drove, shopped, called and endured the onslaught of demands. You never complained but instead, rose to the occasion by tackling the ever changing list of to do’s.

Storms threw umbrellas to the fields and tore branches from trees, all the while, you told me you were not afraid because you want to live life to the fullest.

I did not know how it would be, mom, having you stay with me while I was in the throws of preparing documents and financial reports for hundreds of children. I was afraid I’d disappoint you. But, these past 7 days have been filled with a gift I shall carry with me always. You are my hero… my friend and my treasure.

Thank you dad for sharing your wife with me – for giving her up to make sure that this mission and I have the support I need to trumpet success. Thank you Dad for believing in me – in my dreams and my calling – and for believing in the lives of each child we are helping through Matanya’s Hope. You are my greatest spokesperson!

I missed having you here this year Mom! I missed you every day! But I am so glad that you and Dad are enjoying Israel!
Mom and Dad Israel 2016

To our sponsors:
I thank each one of you for your continued support. Together, we are making this world a better place and that is the magic. Never Stop Believing. If you ever doubt your effect on the child you sponsor, just ask them what life was like before you entered their world. Through your student’s eyes, you are their angel and with your gift of sponsorship, hopelessness gives way to hope more every day!

Together, we are helping pave the way for a better life for some of the world’s orphans and vulnerable children.

I can't wait to serve these precious children porridge and love!

I can’t wait to serve these precious children porridge and love!

To George, thank you for coming through and organizing us, even when I am in Kenya. Shana, thank you for your time helping me navigate through documents and to do’s…and for the laughter we shared. Jeannette, Ann, Bob, Heidi, Xuan, Susan, Christian… thank you! Matanya’s Hope USA is finally a family! You are each so important and valued in my heart! I could write a book on answered prayers! To Adrienne and Cody, thank you from me and Tiger. Without your welcoming arms, this precious life may not have made it. To Carla, thank you for your countless hours of prayer and friendship. I could not do this without my own faith and dependency on God. And to our neighbors, thank you for your kind help during this time of service.

You are all part of what makes this light of hope shine!

Michelle Stark
Founder, Matanya’s Hope

Your donations are still very much needed.
Please donate at the top of this page or send your tax deductible donation to:
Matanya’s Hope
PO Box 562
Homewood, IL 60430

knowledge is like a garden.  If it is not cultivated it can not be harvested   proverb

A Message from Thomas

The road towards success does not require that I have the best clothes, but asks only that I have a steadfast dedication towards my dreams.  Thank you Matanya's Hope for believing in me.

The road towards success does not require that I have the best clothes, but asks only that I have a steadfast dedication towards my dreams. Thank you Matanya’s Hope for believing in me.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness but even the smallest flicker of light will always find a way to shine.
Hate cannot drive out hate but love will encourage the greatest joy.
Your donations have given us hope in life.

Surely I lack words to thank you for your love and for your overwhelming support towards me.
Your kindness has no measure. It comes as a gift from heaven granting us peace which the world can not give.

Thank you, Matanya’s Hope for positively impacting so many from my generation. We were hopeless and now we have hope. Thank you for investing in our education.

Thomas Muriithi

Help our mission continue to reach those in need.
DONATE at the top of this page

or
Send check to: Matanya’s Hope PO Box 562 Homewood, IL 60430

Every dollar makes a difference in the life of a child in need.

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Sponsorship is my Hope by Edna Karwitha

MATANYAS HOPE SPONSORSHIP

This is me, Edna Karwitha.  I thank Matanya's Hope and my dear sponsor for every provision you have made possible.

This is me, Edna Karwitha. I thank Matanya’s Hope and my dear sponsor for every provision you have made possible.

Today is my sponsor’s birthday. Happy birthday Bonnie! I am writing this blog to you, and to all of those who sponsor us students through Matanya’s Hope. Just as the name indicates Matanya’s Hope is a programme that has restored hope to many people when situations of life dictated otherwise. Matanya’s Hope restores love and comfort to many children who often lost all hope for life.

I believe with all of my heart that our God who created us brought us to these obstacles we face, but I also believe that He brought us through them. To my fellow students, especially those who are still so much in need of a sponsor; do not lose hope. The answer is near.

I am Edna Karwitha and I am one of the beneficiaries of the Matanya’s Hope sponsorship program in Kenya. I joined the programme in my primary school after I meet with our loving mum Michelle. Being a part of Matanya’s Hope is like being a part of this wonderful family where people come from all places and unite to do good!

When I completed primary school, I scored very good grades and I was admitted to one of the best high schools in Kenya. Matanya’s Hope paid my school fees and bought my books and materials all though my secondary school years. I could never have remained in school without this help. In fact, most students are sent home for weeks at a time to collect fees. I was able to remain in class throughout. The support Matanya’s Hope offered, enabled me to continually work hard towards my goals.

My sponsor, Bonnie, makes sure I have all of the supplies I need.

My sponsor, Bonnie, makes sure I have all of the supplies I need.

I thank God for our mum Michelle. She travels every year to spend time with us, encourage us and visit us in school. She challenges us to work hard and do our best so as to be people of help in our societies in time to come. Michelle’s encouragement continually kept me motivated to achieve my goals.
Matanya’s Hope has assisted me up to today. I am a third year university student pursuing a bachelor of commerce in accounting. I have been able to learn many virtues and important values by experiencing life in this advanced academic environment. I am continually empowered to work hard and to become a better person. One day, I pray that I will be in the position to selflessly invest in somebody else’s life just as Matanya’s Hope and my sponsor Bonnie have done for me. If I can do this, I know that I can also be a part of making a difference in our society.

Matanya’s Hope teaches me the importance of sharing every day. I am grateful and I have learnt to share the little that God has entrusted to me. I also appreciate whatever people contribute towards my life out of their unselfish, personal sacrifice. Sponsorship has been full of so many rich experiences. Through my first sponsor, Alfonso, and now through my beautiful Bonnie, I can’t help but think of the miracles that have taken place in my life. Someone so far away … someone who never met me… has taken up the responsibility of loving me like a friend and parent.

When I went to university, Matanya's Hope even helped me with bags to carry my belongings.  To all of you who donate, I want to thank you for helping so many of us who might never have known life outside of poverty.

When I went to university, Matanya’s Hope even helped me with bags to carry my belongings. To all of you who donate, I want to thank you for helping so many of us who might never have known life outside of poverty.

Without sponsorship my life would be filled with a sense of hopelessness because poverty just has a way of claiming so many dreams. My parents are often not able to help us meet our basic needs. This means that buying items even like soap or toothpaste can be great challenge for us. My sponsors and Matanya’s Hope have made sure I don’t suffer. They have taken my well-being as their responsibility. They help me (and hundreds like me) by making sure we have clothing, shoes, school supplies and items to support good hygiene. All of this love and care helps us to achieve our goals.

Matanya’s Hope and our precious sponsors find value in us no matter our situation. Thank you! For me, Matanya’s Hope has helped me understand that finding value in others and assisting someone achieve something that will change their lives and those related to them is one of the biggest achievement in the world. The impact Matanya’s Hope has had in my life will forever be of importance unto my family and to all generations that will arise after me. As I see it,it takes the love of God in our lives to do such things as Matanya’s Hope sponsors and donors do for us.

There is always a better life outside of poverty. Sponsorship has made a difference in my family, my village and of course, in me! I will give back and will assist others get to the level that I am today. Thank you Matanya’s Hope for the light and the hope you brought in my life.

This is me in a coat donated by Sue Wolf.  Thank you Sue.  I am honored to receive such a gift.

This is me in a coat donated by Sue Wolf. Thank you Sue. I am honored to receive such a gift.

To our dear loving mum, you have been so concerned and determined to see us grow to become great men and women in this nation. I assure each sponsor and donor that your efforts will not be in vain. We, your students, are growing in all areas of life to make the world a better place to live in. You have shown us how to walk on the path of hope and how to shine in all dimensions of Life.
Much love and thank you.

Edna Karwitha

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Caroline Gakii – A Story of HOPE

It is with great joy and happiness that I write this to you. I am 16 years old but will be turning 17 come November 27. My parents are farmers. they work on other people’s farms in order for us to at least get something to eat.

We don’t have a house of our own but we have rented and we usually pay seven hundred per month. Sometimes when we don’t pay in good time, we are always chased out of the house and accommodated by our neighbors until we get money to pay back. That is when we are allowed to get into the house.

Before I went into a boarding school, I always helped my mother in the farm so that she could get double what she usually gets when she works alone. Sometimes, especially in August, we spend most of our time without eating because there are not enough rains and therefore there is inadequate food.

Before I got a sponsor, Michelle bought me some of the school supplies I required because my parents could not manage.

Before I got a sponsor, Michelle bought me some of the school supplies I required because my parents could not manage.

My parents managed to take me to a boarding school when I was in class five. I will always recall when that day for me to go into a boarding school finally reached. I woke up earlier than usual, prepared the breakfast and went to have a shower. (We use a small basin with river water). Within a twinkle of an eye, we had all finished dressing and taking our breakfast. My parents took the metal box filled with my supplies and we headed to the bus station. As we were traveling, questions started flowing in my mind like a wind. How will life be in boarding school? How will I live without seeing my parents and siblings? Will my parents be getting enough money to pay for my school fees? We reached school by 2:00 pm. I was admitted and my box was carried by other students into the dorm. I could not eat that day because of the happiness that I felt.

I stayed in school for two weeks and I was chased back home because I had not paid all of the school fees. I was happy because I had really missed my parents and siblings. When I reached home, I met my mother sitting outside of the house. When she saw me, she was astonished. She asked “What have you come to do and the schools are not yet closed?” I told her happily “Mum, I have been chased to collect the fees.” Before I had finished the word fees, tears started rolling down her cheeks. I felt pain in my heart and I started crying like a little toddler. What she told me made me wish that the earth would open and swallow me alive. “My daughter, I have nothing right now. You have to stay with me here at home and help me so that you can get money to go back to school.”

I was always being chased from school due to lack of fees.

I was always being chased from school due to lack of fees.

I entered the house, knelt down and started crying to God to deliver us from living a life of poverty. After one week, the money was enough for me to go back to school. Life continued like that. One day I am in school and another day, I am being sent home to collect more fees. It became a monotony. Whenever the director would come to read who is being sent home for fees, I was always the first name to be read because I had always remained with a large amount of money owed. Sometimes, I would be the only person who would be sent home from the whole school! I would cry until my head would start aching. People at home know that I always go home after two or three weeks. Some even manage to ask me where I usually work because I always appear to be home.

My parents could not keep me in boarding school any longer. They decided to take me back into the small rural day school I attended before. It was 2009, in the third term, when my father and I went to clear what we could from the huge balance at school. We were told that they could not give us clearance and we had to wait for the director. When he came, he told us to go. Although Matanya’s Hope was helping some of the needy students at our school, there was not yet a sponsor for me.

This is me, Caroline Gakii, and my father during our interview with Michelle.  This day changed my life.

This is me, Caroline Gakii, and my father during our interview with Michelle. This day changed my life.

I had no option but to take my box and leave the school. I followed behind my father. Michelle had just arrived as we were leaving. She saw us and called us to come back from the long path. Michelle and my father entered a room; I was left outside. I did not know what they were talking about but Michelle soon explained that she would pray hard to find me a sponsor. Tears of joy were rolling down my cheeks. I took my box back into the dorm and went back to class.

When I was in class 8, all of the pupils were asked to pay six thousand shillings for a trip to Mombasa. My parents could not manage to pay for me and no one notified Michelle, so all those who had not paid were chased home for the money. I was one of those who were chased.

My parents said that they could not manage to pay. My mother took me back to school the following day. Director was harsh and would not allow me to go into the classroom without paying for the trip. I was asked to take my box and leave the school. But as I was waiting for my mother to come out of the office, Michelle appeared again. I don’t know how it is that every time I am told to leave with my box, somehow she is there! Michelle saw me with the box beside me and I was crying. She came and asked me what the problem was and I told her that I was not able to pay six thousand for the trip. She went and told the director that Matanya’s Hope will pay those fees. I was allowed to go to class.

I wish you could tell me how your life was when you were in school.

Today I am in high school. Matanya’s Hope has catered for my needs and life has been smooth. I have a wonderful sponsor who has made me to feel like life really will be ok after all!

God bless all of you who help someone in need. I don’t know where I could be without Matanya’s Hope.

Caroline Gakii

DONATE NOW
www.journeytohelpafrica.com
www.matanyashope.org
or send check to:
Matanya’s Hope PO Box 562 Homewood, IL 60430

All donations are tax deductible.

A Matanya’s Hope Student Shares A Plea For Others

I don't know how my story will end but it will never read....I gave up

Matanya’s Hope has sponsored me since I was young. You have given me the chance to go to school. Now I am in University, studying agribusiness management, a very good field for our farming country. I am not writing to you today about me.

I have had something in my heart, a burden, that is two years old now. I felt I should mention it to you.

I have a classmate who opened up to me about his life. He has faced hard times since he can remember and he is thinking of dropping out of school because he can’t see himself finishing the line with all of the struggles. We are taking the same course. Since my first year, I have been encouraging him.

He would sometimes come to school without a single items of shopping (soap, toothpaste, pens, pencils, notebooks, socks…), no fees to pay the tuition, not even clothes or shoes. He mostly attends classes with slippers. I would assist him with pens and share my copies of handout notes we get from lecturers which I printed with the money you provide.

The young man goes without food and when he gets it, it is really a miracle. Since the second year, second semester, he has never gone home during school breaks. He can’t because fees for transport are really a problem for him. I remember him telling me last year, “Lisper, if you see that I am doing this exam, God is great”. He said this because he had a fee balance that the parents could not afford. the father struggled and managed to send half of it. Then he approached the Dean of Students with a written letter to request to do the exams. He promised to pay the balance after the exam.

I asked him if he managed to pay it and he said that his father sold some trees and sent the fees after. Now we are in a new semester. the student got permission (a kibarua) to distribute mandazi (Kenyan donuts) from a small food kiosk which other kiosk owners use for a quick bite. He hoped that he would at least get food for supper. He did this with our without classes and he would rush quickly to class for every lecture.

This  is me, Lisper Muthoni.  Thank you Matanya's Hope for making it possible for me to go to school.  I can not imagine the harshness of life without education.

This is me, Lisper Muthoni. Thank you Matanya’s Hope for making it possible for me to go to school. I can not imagine the harshness of life without education.

The amazing thing is that no one is bright like him in class.

One day, the lecturer wanted to hear everyone shout what he or she would want to be in the future. I heard him saying “a researcher”. the lecturer talked about it. What pained me is that the guy was struggling to get food through getting permission to sell mandazi when I was doing my end of semester exams. I heard others saying that he can’t do the exam. the reason is because of the same fees he owes for this term. The parents have nothing more to sell. They can not manage to get food money for him and at the same time money to pay fees.

Since it has been a routine for him to have almost impossible balances due, the Dean refused to admit him to school this term. He told him “you either drop out of school or pay the fees.” The student was so stressed during exam time and after the exams I called him. I wanted to know what happened but he was in tears. He told me that he has been praying to get the fees but now he sees that he can’t make life through education but only away from education.

I encouraged him. I know you don’t know this person. You have never seen him either.

I wanted to open up this issue to you last year, but it was hard to do it. You know I am a quiet girl. I did not know how you would take it. But let me tell you, I don’t know why I feel bad about this. Every time I pray, I tell God to help that friend. We have given nothing to God yet we are getting our fees paid. It is God who provides.

This student is seeing that his dreams will be shattered by all means. I went home and I left him in school saying he can’t go home because he has no fare. And if he goes home, he will be frustrated to return without money for the old and new fees. He remains in the empty hostels with no shopping and no food. Fare to come back is still a problem. Still, he can study for the semester, but he can not do exams without clearing his fees. I really feel like God is calling me to see and feel deeply for what this guy is passing through.

I humbly approach you for your help. Everything is God who give. We are helping kids. This thing is serious. I have observed it for long. I have taken time to ask questions and want to know more. I at times wish I would have money to lend a hand. He comes from a very poor village called Kuria, bordering Tanzania.

The story of this student touched my heart. His name is Meremo Samwel Nyangi. He is in his 3rd year like me, taking Bsc (agribusiness management). the terms left are only 3 plus the one we finished on Friday though he has not paid for it and he has not done the exams for it.

Since my first year I have been encouraging him.  He would sometimes come to school without shopping, no fees, even clothes and shoes.

Since my first year I have been encouraging him. He would sometimes come to school without shopping, no fees, even clothes and shoes.

His fees for this new term are 14,350 ($145.00).
He also needs food for 5,000 a month times 4 months ($50 x 4 = $200)
and transport: 5,000 ($50)

I am a student who has been helped.
Now I pray you hear my request for this boy Samwel.

Thank you.
Lisper Muthoni

a persons most useful asset is love

Thank You – from Patrick – a Matanya’s Hope Student

Dear sponsors, donors and friends of Matanya`s Hope,

My name is Patrick. I know this might not be the first blog entry some of you are reading from me – I have written several, but this one is distinctive in that it reveals insights I could only gather after spending time serving with Matanya’s Hope. It is SPECIAL to me and I invite you to read and share with a friend. This would mean a lot to me.

Two years ago, Michelle Stark visited me at school – I was still in High school. She asked me to describe MH in three words and I said, `MH is Hope’. Honestly, I meant it…….and I still do! But if someone asked me the question again today, I would have a totally different answer. To me today, MH is ‘DOING LIFE TOGETHER’. It is being a blessing to other peoples` lives – making the world a better place to live in, not just for ourselves, but for others. It is being sensitive enough and courageous enough to raise awareness so that we can become blessings to those same others that so many in this world close their eyes to – turn their backs on – ignore – and let rot in their own hunger, homelessness and hopelessness. Matanya’s Hope is different and I am different because of Matanya’s Hope.

This photo of me was taken a few years ago.  I was a high school student sponsored by Matanya's Hope.  Without this support, I can not imagine where my life might be today.

This photo of me was taken a few years ago. I was a high school student sponsored by Matanya’s Hope. Without this support, I can not imagine where my life might be today.

I spent my December holiday (I am now a first year economics student at TUK – Technical University of Nairobi) delivering donations….food stuffs, chickens, blankets, clothes and mattresses to needy families in Kenya. It was tiring. That I won’t lie, but as days went by, I got to like the idea of giving people a reason to smile. It was amazing to see a person’s eyes sparkle for one of the few times in their lives they may have felt relief, loved or valued by others. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to watch the recipients of MH gifts receive something even more than the gift itself; love. Its awesome. I want to do this over and over again – as far as God wants me to.

Cucu (Grandmother to Matanay's Hope student Jackline Gachohie) takes care of her 8 orphaned grandchildren. When Matanya's Hope donated 2 mattresses to her several years ago, she gave them to her grandchildren while she continued to sleep on the floor.  Your donations helped us bring the blessing of a new mattress to cucu this Christmas.

Cucu (Grandmother to Matanay’s Hope student Jackline Gachohie) takes care of her 8 orphaned grandchildren. When Matanya’s Hope donated 2 mattresses to her several years ago, she gave them to her grandchildren while she continued to sleep on the floor. Your donations helped us bring the blessing of a new mattress to cucu this Christmas.

There are so many scriptural references to God instructing us to love one another. Isaiah 58:7 is a perfect example. He instructs us to feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked…to help those in need. At times, we feel like we don’t have a lot to give out. This is when we think of life in terms of material possessions. But material possessions do not define life. There is more to the human experience than just material possessions………. Someone somewhere is dying for love….all they need is someone who can smile, laugh, hug or even pray with them. Be that person. Be that blessing. Be that miracle. If someone is hungry, share what you have. That’s what I have learned. One day it could be me – or my mother – or my child. I can’t even imagine the hurt I would feel if I watched people turn their backs on my own family. But each time we turn our own backs, we are shunning someone’s child, someone’s parent, someones sister or brother…and in some ways, even ourselves. And each time we help, we are helping to heal the world.

I want to thank all of those who donated toward the Matanya’s Hope Christmas outreach. To those who donated to the chicken project, the mattress project, the blanket project and the food project, thank you for standing with us! I can`t mention all of you by name – you are so many………Michelle Stark – MY ANGEL, The entire MH family, The accounting firm: CJBS LLC, Kelly and Dave Golding, Kaitlin and Bill Bell……gosh, I want to mention every one. Thank you so much for being a blessing – a miracle.

8 orphaned children live with their one widowed grandmother.  Food has been a constant issue in their lives, but today, Matanya's Hope donors make more than a Christmas meal possible!  Thank you to Kelly and Dave Golding who made this food possible as a Christmas gift honoring their daughter Jackline!

8 orphaned children live with their one widowed grandmother. Food has been a constant issue in their lives, but today, Matanya’s Hope donors make more than a Christmas meal possible! Thank you to Kelly and Dave Golding who made this food possible as a Christmas gift honoring their daughter Jackline!

Thank you for making love happen.

Patrick Muriuki Wambui
Matanya’s Hope

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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