This week I have been in Kenya again with Turning Point. This is probably something like my 6th visit, and yet as I reflect on it I realise that I am coming away even more inspired and humbled than ever before. In this short reflection I will try to capture something of the essence of that.
Malala Yousafzai, the impressive child activist said, ‘let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.’
Today I want to celebrate our excellent teaching team at the Fountains of Hope School and the impact they are having on our pupils in Kibera. As we start the new school year in Kenya, we have been looking back over our pupil’s progress in 2016. At the same time, we’ve been receiving KCPE results from pupils we support in local government primary schools.
Back in 2012 we asked our supporters to help us send David Ombisa to nursing school. We were amazed by the response that covered his fees and in September 2012, we dropped off an excited and nervous young Ombisa to begin the rigorous course.
Last Saturday we had the great honour of attending Ombisa’s graduation. He is now a fully qualified nurse!
When MC Baridi discovered he was HIV+ from birth, he was devastated. He felt the sting of his community looking down on him, it hurt and he turned to drugs to relieve the pain. He left his home in the slums and lived on the streets. He sniffed glue and drank illicit brew and became addicted. He was arrested on several occasions and his life was in ruins.
Yes, the Fountains of Hope school is closing this early for the Christmas Holidays! Today we packed out the school hall with parents, teachers and students to celebrate a great year, to thank the parents for their partnership and congratulate the children on their progress.
Staff from our Community Library first met Vincent hanging around on a large playground just round the corner from the library in Kibera. Vincent would be playing with friends or collecting recyclable items to sell. Our staff took time to say hi and get to know him and invited him to the library. Soon Vincent became a regular visitor to the library, exploring the different storybooks or books about science and nature.
Football is a big deal in Kenya and everyone has their team. It might be in the local Kenyan Premier league, a team from the English Premier league, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga or Italian Serie A. Everyone has their team. Small shacks in Kibera show big matches from all of these leagues for a small entry fee.
For the kids at Fountains of Hope, football is not just a spectator sport thanks to Turning Point Football Club. Three times a week coach Brian trains the TPFC team. They work to develop their individual skills and strengths and learn to work together as a team.
I have heard of stories and read on the blog of women whose lives have turned around. Women who have moved from desperation to independence. Women who once had little hope but are now springs of joy and laughter. I, together with you, have read and will continue to read success stories birthed by the microfinance program and together we will celebrate.