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All Posts By

Karsyn Bredenkamp

Jackline

By Project Stories

The opportunity to find peace.

For many children living in Narok, Kenya, life is not as simple as it should be. It is not characterized by the carefree parts of life that every child deserves to experience.

Instead, strife and heartache seem to be ingrained in the everyday. Poverty is common. Many parents have to decide between putting food on the table and putting their children through school, and without a proper education it can be difficult to find future employment, often meaning that the cycle of poverty only continues. 

In a place such as this — steeped in the disadvantages and distress that poverty carries — peace and dignity can seem distant, even fully out of reach. 

It is in a place such as this that Jackline’s story begins.  

Jackline is described as calm yet confident — large eyes, sweet and grateful, always displaying a distinct air of selflessness. Knowing her, one might never guess that she has already experienced so much hardship in her fifteen years of life. 

And yet Jackline’s story is one that is fraught with heartache. Her father passed away suddenly from an illness in 2011, and her mother passed away from the same cause only one year later. Jackline, the second-born in a family of eight children, quickly had to step in as primary caregiver when her older sister began struggling with illness as well. 

Having to act as both the oldest child and parent, Jackline would often sneak away from school early to try to find opportunities to work, washing the clothes of others or working in gardens to try to pay school fees and buy food for her siblings; a prime example of her selfless nature. Even when she was able to attend school, the stress of it all would often induce ulcers — one of which became so severe that she had to be hospitalized for a time. 

Despite Jackline’s diligent self-sacrifice and best efforts to provide for her and her family, she quickly became unable to afford her school fees. Once others in the community saw that she was struggling to support herself and her younger siblings, they encouraged her to marry in order to lift the financial burden off of herself. Not only would this mean she would be married off at only fifteen years of age, it also meant that her already limited access to education would likely be closed off for good. 

Jackline did the only thing she could think of to avoid either of these outcomes. She ran away.  

Sadly, Jackline’s story is not as uncommon as it should be, but is echoed in the lives of many young girls who live in Kenya. Not having the funds to attend school can often mean more than simply not being able to attend school — for many girls it can mean being married off at a young age, often stifling opportunities for further education or a future career. 

Poverty seems to have a unique way of chewing people up and spitting them back out. It robs them of futures, of opportunities, of hope. For children, it robs them of the ability to truly be children by forcing them into roles beyond their years, stealing away their dignity. 

But through God’s grace, Jackline’s story didn’t end there. She was able to move in with her grandmother, and when she came into contact with Nasha Ministries, she was eventually  sponsored meaning that she could continue her education free from much of the stress that had previously troubled her. 

When asked how student sponsorship had changed her life, Jackline’s response was telling: she felt as though part of her dignity had been restored and that she was granted an opportunity to find peace. She was given a chance to heal — both physically and spiritually. Jackline is living proof of how God can provide and open pathways through the student sponsorship program.

This is why student sponsorship is vastly important — not only does it provide students with the fees necessary to attend school, it ultimately helps students in other areas of their lives as well. In Jackline’s words, “They’re not just solving the issues of school fees, but also it is a place where students find peace.” 

Not all of Jackline’s problems are solved. We cannot give her her childhood back, or ensure that she and her family will never again struggle with illness or ulcers. There are still problems and challenges that arise and will continue to arise throughout the course of her life. In the end, student sponsorship is often merely the first step — just one piece of the puzzle — when it comes to bettering the lives of those who are impacted by extreme poverty. 

But here at The Hope Venture, we believe that the seemingly simple act of taking that first step can bring radical change to the lives of people like Jackline and her family. It can help spread hope to a hurting world, help foster a peace and dignity that blossoms despite the pain. 

To impact more students like Jackline, donate to our Student Sponsorship Project today!

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Rose

By Uncategorized

The blessing of sustenance to a mother and her children.

It was raining when we met Rose, turning the rust-colored soil into mud as she told us her story. We crowded into the small entryway of her Narok county home to take refuge from the rain — her children giggling at us as they hid in doorways and peered around corners.

Rose — who is responsible for caring for all ten of her children — is a hard-working woman who previously made ends meet by selling charcoal. With several children already in high school and several more that would soon be needing school fees, Rose relied on this income in order to feed her family and ensure that her children would be able to receive their education in full. However, when Coronavirus hit the country in 2020, the effects of the pandemic on Rose and her family were swift and severe. Rose’s business of selling charcoal suffered heavily, and she was no longer able to afford the fees necessary to send her children to school. 

It seemed like a simple gift, but it was a gift that decisively altered the lives of Rose and her children: her family was given a goat. 

Through our partnership with Nasha Ministries, families in need are given the gift of a single goat. The area surrounding Narok can be harsh and unforgiving to those who live there — an intolerant environment that makes it difficult for many animals to survive long enough to benefit their owners. Due to the dry heat and constant drought, there is not enough vegetation in order to sustain cattle. But goats are unique; they possess an innate resilience that has allowed them to flourish and thrive in a diverse number of habitats. In Kenya, they feed off of leaves and are capable of surviving in the event of a drought. In a region of the country already prone to poverty and malnutrition, the milk that these goats produce not only helps to sustain the individual family, but can also provide their owners with an important commodity — something they can sell in order to afford food, clothes, and school supplies. In some instances these goats even reproduce, meaning that it is a gift that truly keeps on giving. 

For Rose, the goat she was given has provided a vast blessing to her and her family. The milk she receives helps to provide crucial nutrition, meaning that she doesn’t have to worry about her children having the distinctive extended bellies of malnourishment we sadly see so often in this part of the world. She is hopeful that the goats will soon produce enough milk for her to sell and that she will be able to use that profit to finally be able to return her children to school. 

It seems like a simple gift. But for Rose and other families living in extreme poverty, the gift of one goat is not only enough to change their current circumstances — it can be enough to change their lives. 

To impact more families like Rose’s, donate to our Goat Project today!

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Stella

By Uncategorized

Cultivating life through the soil.

Stella first came into contact with Wakisa Ministries when she was only 17. 

She had a newborn son. Her options were limited. 

She knew that she would no longer be able to return to school and receive a formal education, meaning that chances of future employment were slim and she would have few means to support herself or her child. There was little hope in her life, and it would have been easy for her to give up and accept the meager cards that life had dealt her.

But Stella has a fire in her. In her previous vocational training through Wakisa Ministries, she displayed an eagerness to learn and grow despite her circumstances. When the opportunity to be sponsored through the Agricultural Skills Training Program at Agromax opened up, she readily took it. 

Through the Agromax program, The Hope Venture and Wakisa Ministries hope to replace the cycle of poverty and pain with a cycle of cultivation. We believe that by investing in and teaching young mothers how to first cultivate the earth, they can successfully cultivate others — affecting change in whole communities and helping to sow hope where there once was none.

Throughout the agricultural skills training program, Stella has displayed strength and determination, as well as exhibited the keen desire to always improve her skills. She has been able to receive counseling and support from Wakisa Ministries staff, which has further enabled her to excel in her studies. Not only did her firm persistence help her to graduate from Agromax earlier this year, it has also given her the opportunity to intern in the same program — during which she will be provided with shelter, clothing, and food for her and her son. Now 21, Stella will be responsible for operating over ten greenhouses after her internship is complete.

Despite her current success, Stella still has hopes and aspirations that reach far into the future. Not only does she dream of being able to run her own farm one day, she hopes to eventually return to her hometown of Entebbe to teach agriculture to other members of her community. She wishes to help to restore hope to hurting young mothers just as hope has been restored to her — to empower other women as she has been empowered.

Stella is living proof that sponsorship through the Agromax program does not only affect change in the life of one young mother. It has empowered her to create a better life for her, her child, and her family. It has empowered her to transform from a woman who had the desire to flourish but was never given the opportunity to, into a woman who now has the ability to cultivate hope in the lives of those around her. 

To impact more women like Stella, donate to our Agromax Project today!

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