Friday, October 18, 2013

School Days

Greetings friends,
During the month of October, we thought we would highlight some of the other outreach activities that take place at Hope Anew Child Friendly Space (HACFS) besides the Hope club which is held regularly. Activities such as providing schools within the slum access to our facility for recreation, study, and library services.  Also this month, we would like to profile our current staff of three besides Kimberly and Kamau. Hopefully this will enable you to meet them virtually and also to know how to pray for them specifically.   Karibuni! (Welcome!)

Our hosts in a one room school class. The teacher was nowhere to be seen!  The children busied themselves with boiling rice on an  open fire inside the classroom using tin cans. No wonder fires are frequent in the slum!
This is one of the many schools from the slum which access our play area on a weekly basis

HACFS is sandwiched between two neighborhoods in the city of Nairobi. On the western side, we share common wall with a middle class neighborhood which consist of one to three bedroom flats and four bedroom stand-alone homes.  On the eastern side, we have Mukuru Kayaba, one of the other larger slums in the city.
In the middle class neighborhood, the parents are mainly professionals who work for the various companies, government or self-employed business people.   Their children are mainly dropped off to school or bused back and forth.
Now the slum is a different story all together; here anything and everything goes!  In the midst of the usual muck and slime of poor living conditions, there are hardworking people who actually do an honest day work in factories as laborers, others as causal employees, while others are involved in self-employment.  This includes a variety of businesses such as selling groceries, scrap metal and pastries.  There is also a thriving criminal element that engages in petty to serious theft and the brewing and selling of illegal local liquor which contributes to all manner of social ills. 
On a visit to the various schools last week, it was very sad to see these children foraging for trinkets to sell or play with in this dirty river where raw human waste from the slum is emptied.

The children in the slums who are fortunate, attend overcrowded government schools. Competition for admission is very stiff due to high number of school age children. The rest of the children attend non-formal schools in the slums. These are also overcrowded and meet mainly in rented 10 X 10 rooms in the slum. The typical number of students may vary from less than a 100 to over 350.

There was no space to stand when we visited this one room school.  The one room was partitioned into two classrooms with a curtain in the middle,
The teachers are mainly untrained, poorly paid and unmotivated. The schools also lack curriculum books for their pupils.  Due to heavy congestion in the slum, play space for children in these schools is almost always non-existent. 
Snack time at the school

This is where Hope Anew comes in to meet this real need for play space and library in a practical way. Eleven schools from the slum visit our center to access our play space and library services on a weekly basis.

Desperate times calls for desperate measures or perhaps creativity! A cardboard box transformed into a blackboard 
When the children visit the center, these bundles of energy are able to unwind and have fun. They swing, slide or push tires.  Some teachers and their pupils may decide to utilize our library to catch up on lessons they would otherwise have missed due to lack of the text books in their school.
Others choose to visit our video room to watch a child appropriate movie.

In another school ,several grade classes all meet in the same room for lessons

Art time after school under  Kimberly's watchful eye.

Children showing off their art and craft at Hope Anew children center

One of the 11 schools which access the center either  for play or library services.
Race time for the swings and seesaw bars!
It was challenging to witness the deplorable conditions in some of these schools, I was left wondering what future these kids have without basic literacy. Most of these schools have preschool through 4th/5th grade.  When children reach this level, their parents are expected to place them in others schools within the city which offer higher grades.  Many children drop out of school at this stage for any number of reasons; even though primary school education in Kenya is technically “free’’, teachers usually ask parents to pay a desk fee, firewood fee (for cooking lunch), text book fee, tuition fee, uniforms/shoes etc. When this amount is added up, it becomes exorbitantly high and many parents who are already struggling to put a meal on the table just give up. Hence, the future of these kids is compromised and the vicious cycle of destitution continues. 

Meet the Staff

Our Activity Coordinators, Edwin and Chris play a key role in organizing play and providing reading materials at the library.  They work together with the teachers to insure that safety is observed and that all the children have access to the play equipment.  Kelvin provides security services at the gate and monitors the activity within the center.

Edwin:  A cheerful yet thoughtful young man. He is a college student studying community development and social services. He became a committed Christian at the age of 17. His favorite verses of scripture are Galatians 3:28, Jeremiah 29:11.  His hobbies are soccer, indoor games and socializing. His goals and prayer request are that he would succeed professionally in his field of study.

Chris: This young man has experienced a lot of hardship in his early years.  He has lived in a slum and at one point ran the streets before being rescued and committed to a Christian orphanage where he grew up and went to school.  It was also during this time that he was introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ.  After high school, he had to leave the orphanage since at that level, he was considered to have aged out. He started working some temporary jobs and living with relatives. He later enrolled in a college where he is presently pursuing a degree in community development and social services. His desire is to reach out and assist many children and families in a similarly difficult background that he himself came from.  His favorite scriptures are 11Tim 4, Ecclesiastes 12. and his hobby is making graphic designs with inspirational quotes. His prayer requests are for continued provision of his college fees.

Kelvin: Of the three Hope Anew staff, Kelvin is the only one who is married.  He has a wife and one child and another on the way.  He loves serving at Hope Anew and when not very busy at the gate, he can be found jumping rope, doing hoola hops and pushing tires with the children.  He also is a committed Christian.  He desires to see Hope Anew grow and impact the lives of many children in the community we serve.

His favorite Scripture verse is John 3:16.  His prayer requests are for his wife who is expecting, that both she and the little one will be good health and the birthing period devoid of complications.

Please join us in giving thanks to God for bringing these godly young men to become part of the Hope Anew staff.  We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with them.

Prayer Requests
  • Pray for a fruitful outreach and time of fellowship with a team visiting next week from Maryland.
  • For save travel for Kimberly's mother and sister who will also arrive next week from Delaware.
  • Healing for Kimberly whose legs have been paining. Pray that the Lord will heal her legs and feet wholly and beautifully so that she is able to take the good news to the many children who need to hear!
  • Praise God for Kamau's healing
  • Praise God for providing health insurance coverage locally.
Thank you very much and please let us know how we too can pray for you!

The Kamaus

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hope Anew Child Friendly Space

From June of this year until this present day, there has been a whirlwind of events that have overwhelmed us as we witnessed the provision of the Lord in our ministry.   If you may recall, we had being trying to raise $30,000 dollars beginning in April to buy a collection of shacks, tear them down and rebuild them in order to have a children’s center in the slum. However, our fundraising efforts yielded only about $3,000, but unbeknownst to us, God had already gone ahead of us and answered our prayers in a most remarkable way!

 He did not provide the $30,000, but He did even better; He provided a completely stocked children center!  This included buildings, play equipment, office and classroom supplies such as a desktop computer, printer, tables, chairs, desks, tables, etc.! And more importantly, an abundance of children who regularly patronize the facility! In each of the months of July and August alone, over 1000 children accessed the center.
The Irish based agency that had been operating the space, GOAL Kenya, was looking for a local organization to take over their Child Friendly Space and God orchestrated the whole undertaking to work in our favor. I have heard of such miraculous provision happening to other people or ministries, but I never thought I would live to actually witness this happen to us! Oh what joy and gratitude fills our hearts!
The Lord used this agency as a channel to bring great blessing upon Hope Anew Ministries as we seek to evangelize and disciple children.  We will be calling the center Hope Anew Child Friendly Space (HACFS).  GOAL Kenya asked us to keep the “Child Friendly Space” in the name so that it can be very clear to the community that the center is designated for children to have their very own space and we agreed.

Hope Anew Staff from left:  The Kamaus, Christopher, Kelvin, and Edwin

 We now have three staff members, one is a security guard for the daytime and the other two are activity coordinators. God has worked another miracle in that GOAL Kenya has agreed to pay the utilities and pay the salaries of the night guards until the end of December.  In January however, we will need to hire a lady activity coordinator, a teacher’s assistant and engage the services of a security company to provide two guards at night.
We are confident that the Lord will meet the needs that have come about as a result of this great blessing, like the children of Israel, He did not bring us into the land in order to abandon us.  He knows the plans he has for His work in Murkuru Kayaba and it is to give the children that live there a future not plans for harm. 

On behalf of the children who are not able to speak for themselves, we are sharing this information with you so that you can share in our rejoicing and hoping that God will move in your hearts to begin partnering with us if you have not already begun to do so. Any amount given is greatly appreciated and will go a long way in reaching the many children who frequent the center.  If you would like to know what the ministry needs are and how to give, please contact us through our email: or

 Praise & Prayer
  •  Praise for answered prayer regarding God’s provision of Hope Anew Child Friendly Space.
  •  Praise for the provision of staff that are professing believers and work well with children.                         
  •  P lease pray for continued unity among us as staff and board members of Hope Anew.
  •   Pray for God to provide a godly young woman to be an addition to our staff as another activity coordinator.
  •  Pray fervently for the children that attend HACFS and that their hearts would be prepared to receive God’s Word.  Pray that many will come to know Him.
  •  Pray for wisdom in which activities to implement in the next few months, effective scheduling and resources to carry them out.
  •  Pray for godly volunteers from local and international churches to get involved with our ministry.

Blessings upon you….The Kamaus