Monday, September 01, 2014

Back to Mathare: How Francis Inspire's Hope

An orphan at 12 years old, Francis quickly learned how to fend for himself in the Mathare Valley Slums. He was able to complete primary school, but could not afford secondary school. He and his sister had hoped that she would be able to send him to school, but her untimely death prevented that.

Fortunately, Francis’s sister had worked at Mathare Community Outreach (MCO), Bright Hope’s partner in Mathare Valley. Through her relationship, Francis was able to secure a scholarship at MCO that brought him through high school, but life was still difficult for Francis and his brother. They often went hungry for days and Francis was sure that he would soon die.

Even though Francis thought all Hope had been lost, God was making a way for him. A pastor from MCO heard about his struggles and invited him to attend a program at the Outreach Community Church. It was during this time that he developed a close personal relationship with God. After graduating with a certificate in missions, life skills, and discipleship, Francis was certain that he wanted to continue his education; however, he had no idea how that would ever happen.

He continued to struggle with doubts, thinking that his future was bleak. Despite this struggle though, he followed God’s prompting and headed back to MCO to volunteer with the primary school. In 2012, much to Francis’ surprise, the pastor of MCO announced a post-secondary scholarship for which Francis applied. He received the scholarship and is adamant that it is by God’s grace that he was able to continue his education.

After completing a degree in community development and social work, Francis decided to help his community in the same way that they helped him. He is now employed as a Field Officer in the MCO Savings for Life program, which began in July and gives the poor of Mathare Valley access to a reliable savings and loan program. As a Field Officer, he trains groups in the intricacies of personal finances, so they can be good stewards of their money. In regards to his education and new position, he says, “I am passionate to see my community grow and be empowered. I desire to be a testimony to those who live in Mathare and have no hope for the future. Some are orphans like me and I would like to help them discover their future and hope in God.

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