Imagine having to watch your peers go to school every morning and listen to them sharing stories of their day in the evening yet you have spent your day fetching water for people because your guardian cannot afford to take you to school. It’s not an easy picture to paint yet this was the life of Leo for two years before he joined the transition program.
On your mark, get set, go! This year’s summer camp, our first since 2016, was new for a lot of people. A new bunch of energetic youth ready to fellowship together and learn from God; a dedicated group of teachers ready to get in the groove and a team of coaches ready to stretch everyone’s fitness.
Peter joined our Transition Class in 2018. He had dropped out of his previous school because his mum couldn’t afford the fees. Unfortunately, the small private school in Kibera he had been attending had not paid attention to whether he was actually learning. When he joined Transition, he had to go back three school years to learn at the right level. This was definitely a setback for him. He took some time to settle in and open up.
Every other Monday, 12-year-old Jered joins his friends at the library after school. They meet for a joint mentor session with Coach Brian. Jered loves talking about football with his friends. He never thought about how he could apply what he learned on the pitch to the rest of his life. Like on the pitch, he’s responsible for protecting the goal, if he neglects his post the team will lose the game. In life he has responsibilities too and if he neglects them, he will lose out.
This question was our starting point as we talked about our vision for the kids we work with in Kibera. We had gathered the team at our School Transition Programme who prepare children to return to school.
We talked about wanting our children to be healthy and happy, to be confident, to be kind to others and have friends. We talked about our dreams for them to go to university and get degrees and good jobs. Maybe you have similar dreams for the children in your life.
Just as we have dreams for our own children, our father God has dreams for each of us. He has dreams for each of the children who come to our centres in Kibera every day.
Like Joash*, who is eleven years old and lives with his mum in Kibera. Joash dropped out of school 4 years ago because his mum could not get the money together to enrol him. For four years, he’s been out of education, he is so far behind his classmates but he is also so eager to learn.
We talked with our team of teachers, cooks and social workers about our mission to demonstrate God’s love to vulnerable children in Kibera. As we work with Joash to get him ready to return to school, we show God’s love and point him to the hope that God holds out to him.
So when Mary, our cook, wakes early to prepare breakfast for 25 kids. It might look like she’s just cooking another meal but actually she is taking part in God’s great work in Joash’s life.
(Pictured above: Kids in our School Transition Programme showing off their new pencil cases)
*We have changed the name to protect the child’s identity
Three strangers who became friends and now partners in serving women and youth in Kibera. Here’s the story of Masungula Krafts Foundation…
Janet started a business selling crafts in local markets, she worked with different tailors to make the products and had a dream to empower women and youth from Kibera with art and design skills. Monica set up a tailoring school in Langata, an area that borders Kibera. She has a heart to share her skills and was looking for students to teach. Turning Point’s vision is to see not just children, but the whole family, achieving their potential. We were searching for more opportunities to empower the parents of the children we serve.
‘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.
“Welcome, welcome! Please have a seat!” the mother excitedly greeted us as we squeezed through her half-open doorway. If we had opened it any further, it would have fallen off its hinges. I squashed onto a seat next to social worker Margaret, our knees touching the bed in front of us.
Once a year, Margaret and Daniel, our social workers, visit the home of every child in our programmes to conduct a home study. It is a chance to catch up on how the family are doing and see first-hand their home situation. Last week I joined them as they went house to house in Laini Saba.