‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’. Jeremiah 29:11
This was one of the memory verses earnestly recited to us by the children at the transition school in Kibera. It is hard to imagine “hope’ and “a future”, when faced with the reality of what life is like for so many children who attend the Foundations of Hope and Transition schools.
As well as visiting the schools and the community library, the UK team had the privilege of going with the social workers into the homes of some of the children who currently attend the Foundations of Hope School.
Life in Kibera is hard. The streets are narrow, winding between tightly packed structures. The ground beneath our feet was buried under several layers of rubbish. Most of the houses are rudimentary, 10ft by 10ft shacks made from mud and wood, or corrugated iron. Living conditions are such that in-house plumbing is non-existent. Yet the people whose homes we visited were incredible – rarely complaining about their situation – and determined to provide a better life for their dependants.
Like Philip, a single father who has spent the large part of his life doing masonry work to support and educate his 5 children. For the most part he has been successful, with his 2 eldest children at University, 2 children at Secondary School, and his youngest daughter currently in Grade 6. However the onset of insulin dependent diabetes means he is no longer able to work, resulting in no means of income with which to cover the tuition fees, let alone feed his family.
Or Robert, an uncle who has moved to Kibera to look after his 2 nieces and 2 nephews whilst their father travels to seek work. The 6 family members share 2 single beds. They have a small table, and one paraffin lamp as their sole source of light. These are the conditions within which the 4 children have to do their homework.
It was an immensely humbling experience to have such insight into the extreme conditions within which the children live. Whilst difficult to digest at times – we left Kibera with a sense of the “hope” which we witnessed through the work of Turning Point. The passion and dedication of the entire staff involved in the projects was palpable, and God’s love evident within them. They are providing an education, food, space and a Godly community to enable vulnerable families to encounter the promise declared in Jeremiah.
May we continue to support and grow the work of Turing Point, so that many more lives can be touched, and that sense of hope spread.