Kenya – Hannington, a thirteen-year-old boy with an easy smile and a confident demeanor, lives in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi with his mother and younger brother. His mother works selling secondhand clothes and shoes at a large open-air market nearby. Hannington’s family lives in a rented, single room, tin-roofed house with mud walls and floors. 

Last December, Hannington’s mom suffered debilitating injuries in a boda-boda (motorbike taxi) accident. Since then, she has not been able to work. Because she provides most of the family’s income, they started sinking deeper into poverty. 

And to top it all off, Hannington hasn’t seen his father since the morning after his mom’s accident.

Hannington laments: “It has been difficult for us. Many nights we fall asleep hungry since my mom can’t work. Getting food is a challenge, but it’s better when schools are open.” 

When Hannington and his brother attend Mathare Community Outreach (MCO) School, they receive two healthy meals each day—a cup of porridge at mid-morning recess and a hot lunch. Through generous Allies like you, Bright Hope has faithfully provided these meals for years. 

Hannington shared: “I was very happy when schools re-opened because, at school, we can eat even if we cannot get dinner at home. Now my mom’s burden for providing food for our family is reduced.”

During the pandemic shutdown, however, kids like Hannington lost this lifeline of consistent nutrition. And due to recent lockdowns, MCO schools have closed down again.

Hannington loves school and his teachers and can’t wait for when schools will re-open: “I look forward to the computer lab lesson where we learn with Reading Eggs, which help me learn English and master math.” 

Bright Hope funds the computer lab and the Reading Eggs phonics program to equip the kids with the tools they need to break out of extreme poverty. Hannington would like to be an engineer when he grows up so he can build a house for his mom.

Despite tough challenges that would knock down most adults, young Hannington has faced trials with wisdom, gratitude, an unshakeable confidence in God, and a smile. He shares how his faith has grown during this past year: “Last year was a very difficult year! It taught me to depend on God and not on people, because people can fail us. But God is always with us, and He never fails. He kept our mom from dying in that accident, and I believe He will help her to work again.” 

Hannington’s favorite Bible verse, Jeremiah 33:3, should encourage us all: “Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you know nothing about.”