For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:10 NIV
We come alongside community members and meet them where they are. By starting with what they have and partnering with them to fill in the gaps, it is our goal to find dignity embracing solutions to their very real challenges.
We are incredibly grateful to everyone who supported us both prayerfully and financially with our efforts to raise funds to purchase a new vehicle for our work in Kenya. With the help of our dear friends Deb & Lou Ronayne we were able to raise funds to purchase a brand new vehicle to travel the very rough roads in the communities where we serve. After many months and several challenges from chip shortages to questionable sales tactics, we finally procured a new 4×4 Double Cab Ford Ranger Truck.
Already, we are seeing an impact on our work in the villages. Jane, our Project Development Manager on the ground in Kenya, is able to travel safely to all of our villages, in any kind of weather, including the heavy rains. As our truck traverses the roads up and down the mountain, our visibility and status in the villages has had been positively impacted. We have had a large increase in requests for scholarships now that our truck and Jane are on the road and we are encouraged that we will now be able to reach even more remote villages and offer scholarships to more residents of Kiambu County.
Mary is a recent graduate of our Catering Cohort for women over 30 years old that was held at a local village church. Her husband encouraged her to apply for our scholarship. As soon as her training was complete, she got a job at a new restaurant in Kijabe (the local town).
Mary tells us that she rises very early in the morning to get her children ready for school and drops them off before she starts her work. She invited us to come and see her at her restaurant. Her boss told us that she is a new woman, so much more confident and happy than she was when he first met her. He entrusts her to manage the restaurant, plan menus, and purchase supplies. She is the only employee who can make pizza and hamburgers! We could not be more proud of her. Mary is living proof that training works.
MARGARET’S BLUE BLAZER
Margaret is our first scholarship recipient pursuing a degree in teaching. During our visit in October of 2021, we had the pleasure of informing her that a generous donor has contributed the full amount of her 80% scholarship. She will be able to complete her three years of training and receive a diploma in her preferred field of study. Margaret wept upon hearing this great news and told us how several years ago she purchased the blue blazer she was wearing just believing that one day she would be a teacher and need this type of blazer. We believe God planted that seed of hope in her and we are amazed to get to watch that seed sprout and grow into great things for Margaret.
Margaret is now in her second semester at a National Government Teaching College and her grades have been nothing short of exceptional. We have high hopes for the impact Margaret will make upon her future students.
Sarah was the youngest woman in our second catering cohort for women over 30 years old. She had the boldness to apply and ask for a scholarship even though she was only 29 years old at the time. We loved that initiative on her part and approved her. At the time, she was a subsistence farmer. Sarah also had a small hotel (restaurant) selling samosas (a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling) in her village. Sarah’s hope was that the training would uplift her business and enable her to have other offerings on her menu.
We visited Sarah after her course was completed. With the skills she learned during her training, she was able to enlarge her business and had recently moved to a new larger location. The customers were lined up in the path outside her shop, no doubt attracted by the amazing smells coming from her small kitchen. Sarah’s two young daughters were playing nearby making mud pies and laughing. Sarah is now able to pay their school fees and both girls are in school. Sarah tells us that the training really helped her a lot and that no one should complete the training and then stay home. We agree and think Sarah was a great investment!
Salome is currently training to become a plumber. She has a fantastic smile and a warm heart! Salome was active in extracurricular activities throughout her primary and secondary education, and remains active as a coordinator in her church. She will be in school for 2 years to earn a certificate. Her hope is that training will allow her to develop herself, improve her living standard and touch the lives of vulnerable children. We think those are great goals!
Here is Salome’s story in her own words: “I am the third born in a family of four. I was born in the year 2001. When I was in primary school, I involved myself in activities and programs where I achieved a certificate in Environment and Wildlife club. We engaged in tree planting, bird feeding, bee keeping and beautifying the environment where we got a recognition from the government and the school was awarded one million shillings. In my Secondary education, I joined Peace Club where I attained a Certificate in Peace Making and Conflict Resolutions. After my secondary education, I started a vocational training in a computer college where I did a course in computer packages and attained a certificate. There after in the year 2019, I came across a poster about Hearts of Hope where I followed and filled in an application form, by God’s grace the application was successful and fruitful and I attained an opportunity to be sponsored in my course of choice which is plumbing. May the Almighty God bless Hearts of Hope because it brought a smile and hope in my life. I am really grateful for that opportunity. I have been administering with my church where I have been holding departments like praise and worship, secretary and service co-ordination and also coordinating regional meetings, camps and watch and pray.”
In honor of Barbara Sell, the mother of Hearts of Hope International co-founder, Kevin Sell, we offered two courses on catering to a total of 50 women over 30 years old. Each women contributed 20% of the cost of the tuition and generous donors from Barb’s Pasties and Pizza sponsored 80% of the cost of the class. We hired a teacher and rented a hall from a local church. Supplies were purchased locally, and most of the produce used was purchased directly from the students as they all have small family farms. The ladies studied theory and enjoyed the practicals. They even learned to make spaghetti, pizza, and rice pilaf along with traditional Kenyan dishes. We enjoyed a 100% completion rate as well as requests from the community to offer an additional classes! We are thrilled that the cohorts of students really bonded as they formed new relationships in their community. Ten of the graduates have joined together to start both a savings group and a catering business. They have enjoyed marketing and growing the business, buying uniforms and equipment, and have catered several local events in their community. The ladies hope to rent space in a local market area to build a bakery and small restaurant. We think this is a great way to pay tribute to Barb and can’t wait to see how far these ladies will take their training!
Esther is 23 years old and currently studying cosmetology at a vocational school. Esther is very active in her church leading the youth brigade. She takes any work she can get in a local salon to pay her bus fare to school. Esther is described by our Project Manager as being mature far beyond her age as well as committed, responsible and hard-working. She gets good grades and is smart in class. Esther said she can’t take this opportunity for granted because she has really hustled trying to get to college. She is willing to do anything to finish her course since she had prayed for a long time for God to open a door for her to join college.
Here is Esther’s story in her own words: “My name is Esther. I was born in Matathia in a family of two. I went to Mbau-ini primary school and later on joined Kimende High school. After my high school education my mom took me for a computer class. My mother could not do more than that, so I started working as a house help to sustain myself and also to help my family (my mom being a single mother). From there I started working in a salon. It has been my dream to go to a college, and when I heard about Hearts of Hope, I was happy because to me it was a prayer answered. I have been trying to to raise money to go to college but in vain. If given a chance I will work hard and I will not let you down. Thank you very much.”
Hannah recently completed her apprenticeship training to become a dressmaker. Her perseverance truly inspires! She was 50 years old and a widowed mother of four boys when she decided to apply for a scholarship to acquire a marketable skill. Hannah proves that you are NEVER too old to learn or to dream! Hannah is currently working to gain business experience and hopes to open her own dressmaking shop in the future.
We think Hanna tells her story the best: “When I was young, I could not continue with secondary education because my parents could not afford it since I had many brothers and sisters. I stayed home with my parents helping them to take care of my younger siblings. Later, I went to work as a house girl and it’s during that period I got married. He came from a humble background, meaning we were struggling but I persevered. We were blessed with four boys. I continued doing casual jobs like doing laundry and also working in people’s homes. I never gave up. I was hoping to get a job so that we can take good care of our children but it was not possible. My husband later died leaving me with the children alone. I took two of my children to my parents after I became sick. If I get a training course my life will change and I will be able to educate my children. God bless you, yours Hannah.”
Grace is a hardworking, honest and self-motivated mother of four children. She plans to start her own business once her apprenticeship in hairdressing is completed. Grace was able to contribute 20% of the cost of her training from her savings and Hearts of Hope contributed 80%. Grace’s trainer tells us that she is doing very well with her training and always tries her best. Grace is thankful for this opportunity and wants to train others when she is finished with her apprenticeship.
Here is Grace’s story in her own words: “My name is Grace. I was born in Banana in Kiambu County. I come from a family of nine children, four brothers and five sisters. I went to Thindigua Primary School from grade one up to grade eight. After completing my primary education I stayed home with my parents helping them. After some time I moved to look for a job and I was employed as a house help where I worked for four years. From there I met my husband and got married in 2013. I moved to Matathia where my husband lived, and since then I have been in Matathia. I am a mother of four children. I have been desiring to take a hairdressing course but I didn’t have the ability to do that.”
Ruth started a course in Tailoring on her own but had to drop out due to lack of school fees. We are thankful for Ruth’s persistence to keep on trying and are privileged to partner with her in her apprenticeship training in tailoring. Ruth is able to pay 20% of the her school fees and Hearts of Hope International is paying the remaining 80%. Ruth’s hope is to be able to find employment or open her own business in order to have an income to improve her family’s standard of living. Since Ruth started her training, her trainer has reported that she never misses her class and that she is working hard and can be entrusted to do the cutting of the material for the customer’s orders.
Here is Ruth’s story in her own words: “My name is Ruth. I was born in Kiambu County, Kahuho village in a family of ten children, being the sixth born. I went to Kamongoni Primary School and completed Standard Eight. I later joined Kahuho High School where I studied for only one year. I dropped due to lack of school fees. I worked as a house help for one year and that is when I met my husband and got married. Since then I have been working in the farm at Matathia in our home. I am a mother of five children and I am a born again Christian.”
Monicah had previously started a hairdressing class but was unable to finish due to lack of money. We awarded Monicah a scholarship to apprentice with in a local salon. Monicah is paying for 20% of her training and our scholarship covers 80%. Monica wants the training so that she will be able to take care of her child and be successful in life. We think those are some pretty awesome reasons! We are thankful that the trainer is allowing her to bring her baby to class with her! Isn’t he adorable?
Here is Monicah’s story in her own words: “My name is Monicah, and I am a mother of one child. I come from a family of seven children. My parents are farmers. I was born and grew up in Matathia. I went to Matathia primary school and then went to Kimende Secondary School. After my secondary education, I took a computer class at Kimende. I have done several jobs in a hardware, in a hotel, in a timber yard and in an electronic store. My parents are not well up and they have struggled to bring us up. My desire is to have a course so that I can be able to take care of myself and my baby without burdening my parents, since I have other brothers and sisters. I want to be a salonist and be a role model to to the youths and also an encouragement to them.”
Penninah is a woman of persistent prayer. She lost her eyesight 10 years ago and has been praying since then for an opportunity to receive training to be able to support herself and her daughter. We were able to enroll Penninah in a school for the blind to learn Braille with the hopes of going on to learn to use a Braille knitting machine. Once Penninah has learned these skills she will be able to use them to support herself and her daughter.
Here is her story in her own words: “My name is Penninah. I come from Kijabe. I was born and brought up in Matathia village. I come from a family of three sisters and seven brothers. I grew up in Matathia, went to Matathia Primary School up grade eight. I then joined high school but dropped in form one ( grade 9) due to lack of school fees. Being out of school I started doing small business here and there. I later got married in 2004 and had a daughter in 2005. Life was going on well until 2007 when I started eye problems. I went to the eye clinic and would change this glasses to the other. In 2009 I changed the hospital and went to another, where they told me my retina is having a scar. They gave me a shot every week and after a short time my eyes could not see anymore. My husband left me when I went blind leaving me with my daughter. I have been going to clinic until 2014 when i gave up since there was no change. I now live with my parents at our home where i was brought up.”
Samuel has a dream of seeing his community transformed and he believes he can be a crucial part of that transformation. We awarded Samuel a partial scholarship to study Medical Engineering at Kabete Polytechnic School. His family took out a loan from their savings group to partner with us in paying for the balance of his school fees. When he is done with his three and a half years of training, Samuel will be able to repair medical equipment at hospitals. Samuel is focused, determined and motivated. We are happy to partner with him in his education.
This is Samuel’s story in his own words: “My name is Samuel from Kijabe. I come from a humble background, a family of three brothers and one sister.I went to Mbau-ini primary School and Mbau-ini Secondary School.I has been brought up by my grandmother since I was in grade four. I had a lot of struggles during my education due to lack of school fees, but God has been always on my side. He has brought me this far. I am a committed Christian who works with WOL( Word Of Life) to motivate young people. My dream has always been to pursue a medical related course. I has always wanted to do Medical Engineering, get a job and be able to help my family, and also people in my community My dream is to see my community transformed.”