Mission 2018 was a grand success and is now a part of Matanya’s Hope’s 13 year and growing history! Thank you all who sent donations, gifts and financial support. Our blog site: www.journeytohelpafrica.com and our Facebook posts bring so many beautiful stories of this year’s journey to life. Our students were visited and loved on. Plans were made for their futures. We are changing thousands of lives and together, you and I are lifting human beings from feelings of hopelessness and despair to lives filled with hope and a future.
From our porridge program (which feeds 2000+ students daily), to the 10,000 liter rainwater tanks which provide clean safe drinking water vs. polluted, bacteria ridden river water most are forced to drink, we are saving lives.
Today, Matanya’s Hope has 240+ students sponsored in boarding schools (and we just added another today!) including 49 university students who are marching to a much brighter employment future with their education. We have graduates in accounting, engineering, nursing, teaching, business, beauty, information technology, culinary arts, pharmacy and law. Together, we have accomplished all of that and more.
This year our appeal is different. Matanya’s Hope must strengthen our core funding so that we may continue to provide the lifesaving food, water, counseling and other extraordinary programs we have developed – all which bring hope to our kids.
While it is essential to maintain individual student sponsorships and their needs, the need for core financial support has turned critical. This funding supports: the shipping of much needed donations, mailings, and the maintenance and gas for our vehicle during the 3-month mission in Kenya. My time in Kenya is spent gaining new introspective and serving each of our students, visiting their communities, and dispersing the donations where they are needed most. Last year over 3.5 tons of donations were shipped for a little over $13,000. That is 7000 pounds shipped for less than $2.00 lb. Operation Christmas Child does a wonderful job delivering shoe boxes of gifts to needy children and they collect $9.00 for each box. That is 4 times the cost of our delivery method. We operate on two continents and incur related costs in maintaining our position with both Kenya and the United States governments.
As we have grown so has the work load. We have in the past depended solely on a volunteer board and a few volunteers who have done all the paper work of financing and accounting. Matanya’s Hope runs a very streamlined budget to cover necessities, but as our impact on the region expands so does our need to have to have someone oversee the legalities of our 990s and record keeping in a non-profit world. Barring a fully versed volunteer on the regulations of non-profits, I may from time to time need to outsource a few of our critical documents for professional mandate.
Each annual mission includes volunteer participants who pay their own way. In no way do core funds support our mission volunteers.
For our donors who specifically contribute to one of our other programs such as porridge or water tanks, thank you. We appeal to you to continue supporting our efforts by contributing to our core fund. Please help Matanya’s Hope maintain the services provided to so many in need. Our goal is to increase our core fund by $35,000; to operate effectively in the coming year. Thank you for your continued provision.
Simply put, we are asking that each of us who believe in the work Matanya’s Hope is doing to raise competent human beings out of the storms of life, donate to this need. Dig a little deeper and contribute to help Matanya’s Hope grow.
We are near the time of year when we all think of giving and I can’t imagine a better cause to help.
and Ann Thomson, Board V.P.
A child is born into comfort and ease. Her parents love her more than words can say. They sacrifice financially so no opportunity of life passes her by. They pay for her education. New uniforms every year, multiple shirts and skirts in case anything happens. Every schoolbook is bought, and her room is filled with storybooks there just for her enjoyment. Her education throughout every stage is a given, and learning is something she often takes for granted. The opportunity to go to college is a guarantee she looks forward to each passing year. The only question in her mind is which university will she attend. Her family by no means lives a lavish life according to American standards, but she has never had to question anything: food, housing, school, clothing. She does not know these as luxuries but as the basic commodities of life.
A child is born into poverty and hardship. Her parents love her more than words can say. They sacrifice financially, but still the opportunities of life pass this little girl by. They can’t always pay for her education. When they can, they can only afford a few days of school at a time and one uniform sweater. Tattered and torn, she wears it year after year even after she has long outgrown it. Her parents can barely afford her school books, if they can at all, and at night she dreams of what it would be like to have even one story book of her own. Throughout every stage of her life, her education is never a guarantee. She has no way of knowing if her parents will be able to afford sending her to school tomorrow. She dreams of attending college, but that dream is out of reach on her own. She has to question everything in her life: food, housing, school, clothing. She lives everyday not knowing if she will have the basic commodities, which to her are actual necessities, of life.
2018, Matanya Primary School
I am the girl in the first description, and yesterday I met countless students who fit the second. As I looked into their eyes, the thought running through my mind endlessly was why? Why was I born into the life I have; why they theirs? What have I done to deserve anything I have? And the answer is nothing. I did not choose my parents, nor did I choose where I was to be born. Everything I enjoy in my life of luxury has been provided for me. As I returned the student’s shy smiles, and held their little hands, the truth of human equality hit me like never before. The students were so smart, so gentle, so beautiful, so driven, and so joyful. We played in the dirt and laughed and danced and we were the same. We were human. We were from different sides of the world, different cultures and families, but united by our humanity. And it was the students who changed me, not I them. They touched my soul in a way words fail to describe. I hope that these came close. If you are reading this, I hope it caused you to recognize the blessings in your life. I hope you paused for a moment to consider the people to whom those blessings are not attainable. I hope you will consider this question that has now become a part of my heart: for what other reason have I been blessed than to pour out my life in service to help my fellow man?
We are all the same; we are all worthy of love.
Matanya’s Hope Mission Participant, 2018
Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Matanya’s Hope!
In rural East Africa, mothers love their children.
They want to see their children prosper, just like we do here. But, the challenges these children and their families face are overwhelming. Mother’s often forage in the fields for mere pennies, hoping to feed their family a single meal. Cost of a solitary pencil is often prohibitive.
This Mother’s Day, you can bless your mother by giving the gift of HOPE. Kenyan mothers pray for the opportunity to send their children to school.
Say YES and give a mother in Kenya reason to smile!
Educate a child and you have helped a village.
Click the DONATE button at the top of this page.
DONATE through VENMO. Select Matanya’s Hope.
The Matanya’s Hope 2018 mission team will be building a home for this mama who is fighting all odds to provide a stable environment for her family! We thank Jennifer Oliak and Oz of Salt for raising every coin to make this gift possible!
These are the kinds of blessings that your donations to Matanya’s Hope make possible.
This Mother’s Day, SHOP Amazon Smile and give to mothers in need!
Choose Matanya’s Hope as your beneficiary; make an impact on our mother’s in Kenya.
First Ever Opportunity to Purchase a Matanya’s Hope Official Mission Shirt
This summer, seven students from Troy University will be traveling with Matanya’s Hope during the month of June. They will be visiting with many of our sponsored students, helping us to distribute much needed clothing, shoes, school supplies, etc. This is a great opportunity for you to purchase a Matanya’s Hope t-shirt and have it gifted to your student during the mission.
The Troy students are so excited to share love and encouragement with our Kenyan family.
In an effort to help raise funds for their own trip, the Troy students are selling these wonderfully soft, cotton t-shirts. What a win win!
Place your order by April 15.
You can pay via VENMO or by sending a check to Matanya’s Hope.
PO Box 562
Homewood, IL 60430
These shirts are only $15
Sizes available: S, M, L, XL
Color: Dark Grey (as pictured)
Bella & Canvas Tee
There are so many reasons to thank you! Hundreds of Matanya’s Hope students are eagerly awaiting their new academic year. Countless young lives have been forever changed through your sponsorships and love. Just last year, Wafula (pictured above) was sponsored. His life of hunger and despair was changed through hope; he was granted the gift of a continuing education. Today, Wafula is a top performing student. His motto is “I am a future star, not a scar.” He is focused on becoming a doctor. He told me, “I want to be in a position to help others in life.” Wafula’s story is a reflection of your heartfelt donations! It’s because of you, our sponsors and donors, that he now attends school!
As you may know, for 13 years we have been reaching out in a wide variety of ways to those in need. We are personally seeing the incredible impact our support has made in their lives. We know that there is still much more to do.
In 2007, we humbly started Matanya’s Hope when 4 children were sponsored. Who knew that this one small act of kindness would soon translate to hundreds of students gaining an education and forever changing their lives. Today, Matanya’s Hope highlights university graduates in law, nursing, pharmacy, teaching, culinary arts and so much more! And our programs are ongoing. We currently have 250 students ranging from primary through university, who continue to embrace education through your sponsorships.
In the USA, the annual (or even a semester’s) cost of student books is often higher than the cost of a full academic year of education in Kenya! $125 per month can send a student to school for an entire year and this also includes uniform, supplies, transport, life changing conferences, minor medical & counseling, room & board, academic support and so much more!
Your special gift to Matanya’s Hope can help a child go back to school. Invest in the gift of hope through education.
We could not do this without you. As my father says, “If a single day goes by where someone else doesn’t benefit from your being alive, you’ve wasted your day.” He got that from his grandfather, Harry Berman. It’s powerful stuff… I invite you to stand with me as we continue learning and growing… making this world a better place for all.
Founder, Matanya’s Hope
But, that is the technical side of mission and technicalities are far from the heart of what this mission is all about.
We are about giving the gift of hope to some of the most precious people who might otherwise never have had the chance to go to school beyond 8th grade.
3 days into the mission, our vehicle transcended from Nairobi’s tarmac to the dusty dirt and rock roads of Nanyuki. Henry and Vincent had been busy offloading the donations throughout the night and our rented home was ready for occupation.
None of this could have happened without the tireless dedication of one young man who balanced his pending exams with the leadership of Matanya’s Hope in Kenya. Thank you Patrick for emulating the heart of giving service beyond self.
As the mission begins, I have the honor to spend our beginning days with a current University Economics student, Vincent Murithi. Sometimes, when I only have my own vantage point to reflect upon, I can’t see the fullness of the impact that Matanya’s Hope has on those we reach out to.
This morning, Vincent shared: “It has been an incredible journey as I sit here and reflect way back, 10 years ago. I am overwhelmed regarding what Matanya’s Hope has done unto my life. It has been a long way coming and I am grateful for this opportunity. I am scheduled to graduate next year and I want to appeal to other Matanya’s Hope students to take this opportunity that you are given and to utilize it well, knowing that one day someone else will look upon them. It is about giving back to society. You can only do that when we have a clear plan or vision of what you want to do – of where you want to see yourself in coming years. It keeps you on track. At this age, we should stop dreaming and start working on those dreams. It is a way to becoming responsible and dependable.
I have a plan, in 3 or 4 years to come, to sponsor kids throughout their school life, throughout their education, just as Matanya’s Hope has done for me. It is quite fulfilling experience when you can give back to others in need. I can never forget where I came from.
To everyone who is a sponsor, I want to thank you for what you are doing. I promise you, your gift of hope will not go in vain. To each sponsor and mission participant who I met, thank you for being a part of my life. Jonah, Quincy, Ariel, Ann…. the list is endless. You have all impacted my life and helped me to believe in my dreams.
To my sponsor, Brogan, thank you so much for being my brother and my dear friend. You have walked by my side since I was 12 years old. No words can possibly express all I feel.
Today, I received gifts of clothing and shoes from Matanya’s Hope. I humbly thank each of you who made these much needed items possible.”
I can just now look back to that day when I first met with Michelle with a smile on my face. This day changed my life.
I first saw her in my old school “Chuma Primary School”, where she and Mr. Mugo came to interview the top performing, humble pupils. I was very glad when I was chosen among the six pupils to be interviewed. I was wearing a green, tattered dress which was no longer the school uniform, but it was all I had. My toes peeped out of the shoes but none of this killed my determination or ambitions. I followed my mother’s advice to believe that “God will always have a way.”
Most of the time, my mother falls sick and is unable to work, but when able, she works at a neighbor’s farm to provide food on our table. We don’t have our own home. We reside in a place owned by a good Samaritan who left his house when he moved to Nairobi. I hope I will be able to build a house for my mother.
My sister and I must wake up very early to arrive in school on time. We walk a kilometer from home to school every day. We are often hungry and have only tattered clothes. When I shared some of these problems with Matanya’s Hope, Michelle bought me a full school uniform and decided to look for a sponsor for me. I really thank her for this.
Michelle told me that I got a sponsor and I would now be able to go to a new school where I would board and would have plenty of food and water. There was a lot of competition compared to my first school, where I was always the top student. Although the students were far ahead of me, the boarding school environment gave me much more time to read. I no longer had to walk to school every day and I could attend extra studies until 11 P.M.
I sat for my KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) and I was admitted to one of the top high schools in the Central Province of Kenya. Matanya’s Hope was always there to encourage me. They gave each and every student moral support and when Michelle came to Kenya, she always spent time with me at my school. Her visits encouraged me to work hard. I set my goal on being a blessing to my family and on motivating my new Matanya’s Hope family.
My sponsor, Patsy, gave me financial support by paying my school fees, but she also encouraged me with her frequent letters, cards and gifts. I treasure them to this day! I could not forget to pray for my sponsor, Michelle and the Matanya’s Hope Board of Directors in Kenya. Mr. and Mrs. Mugo encouraged me to work hard and to remain humble before God.
In school, I was elected as the class student leader as well as the agricultural representative. This brought me close to the teachers who were of great help to me academically. They encouraged me to work hard and finally, in high school, I saw myself getting closer to my goals.
2014 to Present:
This is the year that I sat for my KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education). I scored a strong B which qualified me for University. Patsy and Matanya’s Hope gave me the encouragement and support I needed to make my dreams valid. It is hard to believe that a hungry little girl with barely a piece of cloth to cover her body can get this far! May God bless all of you. Truly, Matanya’s Hope is the light in a dark tunnel for me and for every other student they support in Kenya and in Tanzania.
Joyce Wanjiku Ndirangu
On May, 21 2016, Glenbrook North High School’s Global Citizen’s Club, a club that raises money for an international charity each school semester, hosted a “Colour Rush 5k” to raise money for Matanya’s Hope.
Students and their families jogged through the 5k course in the back fields of the high school as they were sprinkled, splattered, and stuffed with handfuls of vibrant colored powder. Despite the challenge of the run, each flying burst of color kept the mood of the race energetic, even when the participants were a few miles in. Smiles decorated the faces of each panted runner as they dodged, embraced and ran through the powder. Runners raised their arms like they were finishing a marathon as volunteers smattered powder all over them, tye-dyeing the runners’ white shirts. Pop-music and shouts of excitement followed while a light breeze cooled off the runners and the heat of the day. It carried extra powder particles, making the waves and whirls of its path visible.
Students came out of the course resembling something closer to a smurf or Shrek than themselves; powder color coating adorned their faces and clothes! As runners took photographs, grabbed a banana to eat, and socialized after the race, their camaraderie seemed to idealize the meaning that the different colors were meant to represent.
All different types of people came together and cultivated new friendships built on the common goal of supporting Matanya’s Hope, just as the different colors came together and created their own masterpiece.
The day was hot and dry. Our mission team spent the night with a Kenyan family near the base of Mount Kenya (Kenya’s largest mountain). The roosters and cows announced the rising sun, jolting us from our peaceful slumber. Suitcases had been packed the night before and were settled by the door. It was time to go.
The outdoor air was brisk; we each carried a bag and headed towards Matanya Primary school.
The children who attend Matanya Primary come from deeply impoverished families. Some are orphaned. Most are barefooted; their clothing bares the telltale signs of a difficult life. It is not uncommon for some of these children to go as long as 4 days without food. Mary, having already gone through her primary years, joined us. “I want them to feel encouraged to work hard and to never stop believing that they can make it” she said. “Hope and hard work can see them through to brighter days.”
A barefooted child stood outside of the classrooms with a metal rod and a piece of rusted steel clutched between his fingers. THIS was the school bell. The rod hit the steel, sending an urgent rhythm through the air; children poured from their dirt floored classrooms.
PORRIDGE TIME! Every year, Matanya’s Hope raises money to feed children from 3 rural, impoverished primary schools. This cup of hot porridge is often the only nourishment a child may have for the entire day. This year, Jonah, a Brown University student raised funds to feed the 250 children from Matanya Primary a nutritious meal of porridge every day of school.
After Mary and the rest of the Matanya’s Hope team served porridge to the children, we met with those most needy. Bare footed children lined up outside of the dark stone hallway where we spread out donations of shoes, clothing, blankets, school supplies, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, nutrition bars and more. Children in torn and tattered clothes waited with anticipation for a pair of trousers, a shirt, underwear, or a jacket. Many needed book bags, blankets… pencils, pens… soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The need was great. Mary understood this better than anyone! Just years before, in 2007, she too, had nothing. Her parents’ home was burned and her family lost everything. Broken and desperate, they came to live with an uncle in Matanya. Within weeks, he abused them and forced them out.
Minutes passed into hours and an exhaustion spread throughout our team. Water (a very precious commodity) and a bite of Ellen’s Quest bars helped us press on. Donations came to a bitter sweet end. A few new soccer balls flew from feet to heads to air. Cameras clicked. We played with the kids and could not have asked for a better day!
Later that night, I sat cross legged on my bed preparing to listen to Mary’s story. I could not help but notice that she was dressed well. Her hair framed her youthful face in plump, fresh braids revealing the majesty of the setting sun reflected on her high cheek bones. The nice looking tablet she was using was nearby.
Mary sat on the floor against the wall. Her knees were drawn up to her chest.
I knew I would hear Mary’s story, but I was prepared to confirm my inclination that she was ok. That perhaps she needed little help outside of school fees for college. Mary spoke; I filled with shame as her story unfolded. I cried with her as she spoke about being displaced, losing every thing and being emotionally abused.
“It was back in the year 2008 when life gave me a hard blow that until today I have not been able to let go of it in my mind. We had just celebrated the Christmas festivities with my grandparents and we were on our way back home when chaos broke out in our country along tribal lines. We were informed that our home town was very unsafe and hence my uncle offered us shelter. We hoped that all would be well soon. After two weeks of continued violence, we received terrible news that our belongings had been looted and our home was burnt down to ashes. This was the most painful time of my life.
We remained at my uncles place for two more weeks; he felt that we were a burden to him. My uncle’s became rude and really abused us. We had to move. My dad tirelessly looked for a job; he was without a single coin but he found a small, single room nearby. His only choice was to now go daily to search for employment on people’s farms, where he would work from sun up to sun down for less than $1 a day. Through God’s mercy, he later found a better job at a hardware shop. The lady owning the hardware place offered me and my younger brother school uniforms and stationaries and we joined school.
By that time, we had been out of school for more than half of a term and this meant that we were so much behind in terms of our studies. I felt so discouraged, as if I would never make my dreams of being a lawyer true due to the situation back at home.
My mother had been adversely affected by the turn of events and would often suffer from asthma attacks. She depended entirely on inhalers and other prescribed medicine. When she could, she would work as a casual laborer at the same farms my father worked on – from sun up to sun down – and would bring home $1 a day.
Life was very painful. I remember sometimes, especially before my dad got the job, we would miss meals. We slept hungry, on a very thin layer of foam with a very thin blanket. We would anxiously wait for the day to dawn because the place was so cold.
Back in school, I worked tirelessly and was able to catch up with my studies. I was blessed with massive support from the teachers who made me see the need to work even harder so I could raise my family out of the state of poverty. After I changed my attitude, I saw my background state as my greatest inspiration to work extra hard. God did make way for me out of nowhere. I met Matanya’s Hope and I got sponsored for my studies.
Being sponsored by Matanya’s Hope is what changed my life and made me believe that nothing is impossible with God.
I took this blessed chance to do my best; every moment I knew that I was the hope for my family. I pray that I may never let my family or Matanya’s Hope down. One day, I hope they will all be proud of me after achieving my dreams of becoming a lawyer.”
Mary’s facade melted away as we continued to speak.
“Is it difficult for your parents to provide food?”, I asked.
“Yes”. Tears followed.
She buried her face in her arms.
Are your parents educated, I asked.
So, you will be the first?
“Yes, I am their hope.”
I was still confused about something. “Your tablet is nice”, I told Mary.
“That was a prize I was given in high school for having an A”, she shared. “I had nothing. Not a phone or any way to research. This has really blessed me.”
What do you want for your future, I asked Mary.
“I want to be the voice for the poor. That is why I want to become a lawyer. I will be able to help.”
Sponsorship has given Mary a promise of hope as she continues her education. It goes far beyond any financial commitment or gift; it offers our children a chance to dream again.
Hope through education.
Mary is now settled in university, officially admitted into the school of law. “I just want to do something to give back to my society” Mary told me. “I want to be able to sponsor a child in need, the way I was sponsored by Matanya’s Hope. And I really want to help the oppressed by becoming a lawyer who cares about the people, someone who can be the voice of those who are not otherwise heard.”