In March, we hosted 50 students we support in high school in a 3-day retreat. On the first day, the students came full of anticipation for what we had in store. All smiles, they greeted each other with fist bumps and high fives as they resisted the urge to hug one another in excitement. It was an opportunity for the students to take a break from their busy school life, take a step back and look at where they are now and where they want to be in the future.
Meet Delina, a fun-loving and happy young girl. She’s the firstborn of three children and lives with her mother. Delina’s father left home during the COVID-19 outbreak, deserting the family when her mother was expecting a baby. During the Christmas holidays, Delina’s mother gave birth then later began experiencing complications. This left Delina no choice but to care for her sick mother, younger sibling, and newborn baby.
The coronavirus being a completely new disease, we’ve all had to learn about the sickness itself, how it spreads and how to keep ourselves safe. Many of us have google at our fingertips or receive public health messages through our TVs and radios. In Kibera, this is more of a challenge. One of our first responses to coronavirus was to start printing posters about the virus from trusted sources – the Centre for Disease Control and the Kenyan Ministry of Health – to put up around Kibera.
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.
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.
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.
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.