Many of us see Africa as a beautiful continent with big national parks and fascinating landscapes, with extraordinary wildlife and colorful cultural traditions. For many people living here, it can be an extremely challenging environment living together, with almost no privacy or a space for themselves or resources to live from. Many live far below the poverty level on less than $1,25 a day.
A mom at my children’s school was confronted with this reality when she spent a year in Nairobi. She saw things you wouldn’t see as a tourist. Right in the middle of this troubling landscape of slums and poverty, there are great individuals who are doing amazing things to help the less fortunate.
She told me: “I have never been so inspired as I was by some of the stories I heard and the people that I met while living in Nairobi. Two of these people are Oliver and Maggie, the directors of the Agape Hope Children’s Centre”. She continues, “Determined, caring, smart and passionate, they built a now well-established orphanage and school with practically nothing that the community depends on”.
Back in 2003 the pastor Oliver C. Chiraba and his wife Margaret C. Kimaiyo started the community-based organization – Agape Hope Centre situated in Dagoretti in the Nairobi province. “The project was founded as an initiative to assist orphans and vulnerable children (OVC’s) in the community, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS”. In terms of number of people living with HIV, Kenya, alongside with Mozambique and Uganda, has the joint fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world. In 2013 1.6 million people were infected and there are approx. 1.1 million children orphaned by AIDS. Oliver and Maggie wanted to give them a special place to call home. Over the years it has expanded from helping 50 children to its current state whereby it is helping 120 children in the orphanage home and 300 needy children in the community. Oliver and Maggie believe that every child should be afforded a healthy, safe childhood with the prospect of a brighter future. They want to facilitate and help these needy children in the slum areas to live a complete life and get a quality education to better their future. For this reason, they have set up different programs: the main project is the education program where they offer school for students in baby class (3 years old) to class 4 (9-10 years old).
The feeding program was established because one of their highest priorities is to ensure that the children are given one solid meal per day. During weekends they also include members of the community and sometimes feed up to 400 people.
The center also serves as the residence for more than 100 orphans and helpless children and is planning to expand to help even more. They also offer guiding, counseling and psychosocial support both to orphans, exposed children and parents.
Through these initiatives, their aim is to ”extend a helping hand to youth, in order to empower them to be self-sufficient throughout their lives, so that future generations may one day benefit”.
Very recently, Agape has undertaken a new initiative to find sponsors for the neediest children at the center.
When I heard this story I was touched by the destinies of many children and how they got out of their miseries and dared to dream of a better future. There is for example the story of Esther and her little sister Monica and the story about Innocent’s Rescue or how Robert got a second chance.
I know there are many individuals and organizations that do amazing jobs to give children a childhood they deserve and by doing this they do not only help the children but future generations and the society as a whole. Do you know of any similar stories please share them with me.
I’d like to end this post with the following tweet from SOWorldwide