Today we hear from the man heading up the program in Kenya.
I have a whole slew of children in Kenya; Baraka, Brian, Lemayian, Faith, Hillary, Mulwa, Muuo, and Tumbu.
My name is Joel Macharia, country director of Compassion International in Kenya. Compassion has been in Kenya since 1980. We partner with about 375 local churches, serving 108,000 babies, children, and youth.
Joel Macharia with some Compassion Children
Thank you for your support and care for your sponsored children. Though sponsors' support, children attend school, learn to make good health choices, receive medical attention, find a safe place to play, build healthy relationships, gain essential life skills, discover and build their talents, and encounter the life-transforming message of the Bible. Compassion children receive learning materials, desks, school uniforms, and remedial tutoring. At child development centers in their communities, they find caring adults who encourage, support, and guide them. We invest to provide access to safe drinking water, sanitation, solar lighting, and treated bed nets, among other initiatives.
Teenagers Studying at Their Compassion Project
Children are often at risk of emotional, physical, and other forms of abuse or neglect, including early marriages. We work to prevent and deal with abuse through training and establishing robust processes.
Terrible Living Conditions Often Lead to Abuse Situations
About 70 percent of our children live in rural communities that largely depend on small-scale subsistence farming and keeping animals, about 30 percent live in urban slums. In rural areas, families struggle to find enough food and water when rains fail. In impoverished urban areas, people live with poor or nonexistent sanitation, bad housing, high unemployment, predatory pricing, and violent. Often families are dysfunctional, and many people are too absorbed in their own struggles to notice or care for others. Public schools tend to have fewer teachers than needed, inadequate learning materials, inadequate or poorly maintained infrastructure, and high teacher absenteeism.
An Urban Slum in Kenya
We continue to work at changing families' mindset from victims to thinking like empowered Christians. Discipleship is at the heart of forming this worldview. We want people to envision a better future and take the necessary action to overcome the odds and hold them.
Children Sing Worship Songs in Their Compassion Classroom
Recently, we encountered a single mom who had lost both hands in a past abusive marriage. She and her child were in great distress. When the child was registered in the center, she was malnourished and sick. She received needed nutrition and medical support and now shows remarkable improvement. The mom was connected to a local women's group, where she has received needed support, including free legal services.
Our church partners are an important center of community life. They run discipleship programs for different group and teach people how to improve their economic prospects. Some churches run their own school, health clinics, and vocational training. We empower church leaders to collaborate to address issues affecting their communities.
Children Learn in Project-Run School
When a child gets a sponsor, it is a very special cause for celebration. It deeply affirms the child as unique and valued. Children long to connect with the sponsor to express gratitude and build the relationship. Receiving a letter, photo, or car from the sponsor encourages them and reinforces their feeling of being loved. While it's delightful to receive sponsor letters, some don't get them, and they wonder why. We encourage them to keep communicating, but they find it hard when the sponsor is quiet. Please write your children as often as possible.
A Child Reads a Letter from Her Sponsor
Thank you again for your friendship and support for your sponsored children. We say in Africa that it takes a village to raise a child. Our child-raising village is incomplete without you. Please pray that all our children will live to fulfill their God-given potential.
Warm Regards and Every Blessing,