I remember my first trip to Kenya and meeting Pastor Daniel. He picked me up at my hotel and was driving me to Mathare Valley to visit a school in the middle of a massive slum. In his car, I could look between my feet and see the dusty road through a hole in the floor. I wondered to myself, “What have I gotten myself into?”
Once we arrived at the church on the edge of Mathare, we walked to the school through crowds of people and rancid smells that overwhelmed my senses. I weaved between shanties, ducking to miss low-hanging tin roofs and electrical wires, careful of every step I took.
We finally arrived at a metal gate and entered a courtyard overflowing with schoolchildren in uniform. In this sea of poverty, there was a safe, little oasis where kids could have a chance to learn and eat a hot meal.
I wanted to cry — these young kids who grew up in such poverty had a fighting chance, all because a church cared and started to do what they could. I felt a blanket of compassion for these children. I knew we had to do something to help them and improve their chances of getting out. This project became Bright Hope’s first program in Africa, and we are still expanding that work today.
Back then, our first project was providing some kitchen equipment. Not only did that help them feed more children, but it helped them begin a child sponsorship program that was very successful.
Twenty-five years later, Bright Hope is now fully engaged with Mathare Community Outreach school and church, helping provide better schooling for the children, scholarships for those that graduate, as well as savings and loan programs for parents. We have helped so many children and seen them grow up and leave the slums for better parts of Mathare. When they finally leave the slum, they not only have the confidence of skills and talents they have gained in school, but the understanding of grace and Hope in Jesus they have experienced in church.
There will come a day when we are no longer needed in Mathare Valley, but for now these schoolchildren still need our help and your support. Please do all you can to help us continue this great work.
President, Bright Hope