By Featured, Project Stories

Cared for with Integrity.

We receive some pretty tough stories from our partners about the recipients of our projects here at The Hope Venture. Our hearts break over the poverty, separated families, or the absence of educational opportunities that we hear about. However, the recipients’ stories are often ones of hope brought into a hopeless situation, and usually, the details of a person’s life can help us tell their story with truth and dignity… to highlight how they’ve been impacted while not neglecting the difficulty of their situation.

We’ve also been excited about all the new partners we’re building relationships with and the projects we’re able to start together. One of these projects is a high school scholarship for teen moms with our partners Miriam and Sylvia in Uganda. We heard a little bit about Jenaviv and her story from Sylvia, and wanted some more details about her backstory. We reached out to Sylvia for more information, and Sylvia displayed great integrity. She gently responded that due to the government information protection policy, she was restricted to keep some information confidential, and she didn’t give us the details we were asking for. “Wow,” we thought. We were taken aback by the character Sylvia showed and were so thankful that we had a partner who showed that she would choose protection and honor over divulging information just because we asked for it. And let us also say, we have trusted relationships with our partners. We talk, we share information… however, we appreciated Sylvia’s understanding of the local law and her choice to abide by it.

But, here’s what we do know about sweet Jenaviv. She was living with her mom and her stepdad, along with her two brothers and one sister in Uganda. She was going to school, then got pregnant at a young age—a devastating blow for an adolescent girl. She would quickly enter a whole new world… the world of motherhood, while still sorting through her own dreams, pursuing an education, and even just trying to figure out how to care for herself. She eventually gave birth to a son and named him Joram.

However, her parents weren’t so happy… they criticized and abused her psychologically for having a baby at such a young age. They weren’t helping her financially, and Joram’s father wasn’t helping either. The two of them don’t have a current relationship, and unless Jenaviv would ask him for money, he wasn’t contributing at all. Jenaviv has a hard time supporting herself and Joram, and since she couldn’t pay to go to school, she had no idea how she would get an opportunity for a steady job.

But Jenaviv’s story isn’t a strikeout—she became a recipient of a scholarship to continue her education as a teen mom. Her school fees and school supplies were paid for, and she began taking classes again. This provides a lot of relief to Jenaviv because she’ll have an opportunity to get a good job after she graduates. She wants to be a midwife and serve her community. With this opportunity, she has hope that Joram will have access to a good education in his future too!

So that’s what we know about Jenaviv and her story, and we’re so thankful she has someone advocating for her in Sylvia. Jenaviv has endured some hard situations, and she’s still in a tough spot with going to school as a single mother, but not all hope is lost. She’s getting back on her feet, she’s pursuing her future, she’s caring for her son… she’s not giving up in the fight. How incredibly encouraging is Jenaviv! Oh, that we might be like her—to not give up in our own fights! And to be like Sylvia—acting with beautiful integrity in our lives, caring for those around us.

To impact more students like Jenaviv, donate to our Scholarships for Teen Moms Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

The Joy of Giving what You Have Received.

We have an idea we like to talk about here at The Hope Venture. It’s called motaj (moments of turnaround joy). It’s this idea that we are all givers and receivers. It’s sort of like when you pay for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru because the person in front of you paid for your iced caramel latte. You were in need (that latte doesn’t pay for itself!), but received a gift (thanks, car in front of you!). Then you turned around and let it impact someone else too. That’s the idea. And that’s what we’re all about here. Many of us have received abundantly, and we want to encourage people to turn around and give that joy of blessing to another. motaj isn’t just for us and our donors, though. MOTAJ is woven all throughout Valentine’s story, and it all began with a need she had.

Valentine’s dad had two wives. Her stepmom had nine kids, and Valentine was the fifth out of seven kids from her own mom. To take care of her kids, Valentine’s mom earned income as a small-scale farmer. But Valentine’s dad became sick… so sick that he was bedridden. This changed the way the whole family of 19 functioned. Her mom devoted all her time to caring for her dad. All the money her mom earned plus the money her older siblings were earning went to pay the hospital bills for her dad. This went on for four years—the frenzied unknown of her dad’s condition, the time and commitment of her mom to caring for her dad, the depletion of all their finances for hospital bills—until her dad passed away. During this time, her stepmom also passed away, which left all 16 kids under the care of her mom. This in itself was an incredible task to take on by herself, and it was even more so after she had just spent the last four years caring for her husband. She developed some of her own health complications, and just couldn’t work like she used to.

This left Valentine in a tough spot… she was on the verge of dropping out of school. She couldn’t pay her school fees or any supplies. She didn’t want to drop out, so she went to seek help from Nasha, our partner organization. She let them know her situation, and Nasha worked diligently to find a way for Valentine to get a scholarship to continue going to school. We were able to partner with Nasha to provide that scholarship for her!

Valentine continued pursuing her education through the help of the scholarship and graduated last year!

But completing college and graduating wasn’t the only impact of the scholarship for Valentine. As a scholarship recipient, she had the opportunity to attend the summer camp we host with Nasha every year in Kenya. The small group discussions were impactful for her. They dove deep into conversation and her leaders helped her learn how to apply the teachings to her life, beyond just hearing them. Then, Valentine got to turn around and be a camp counselor three times over the years. She especially cherished leading a group, as it encouraged her to dig deep into the Bible on her own to develop her own understanding, so she could lead the girls in her group well. She says all of these camp experiences have really been influential in her faith and leadership skill development, and she is so thankful for the ways it has helped her learn that God is a God who she can hope and trust in.

Now, with everything she has learned and experienced at camp, and with having completed school, she hopes to give back to those in need as she possibly continues her education and gets a job, continuing to trust God in it all.

And this… this is motaj. Valentine had a need for a scholarship, and she received it. She was given the ability to go to school and to learn at camp. Now, she has gotten to turn around and help other girls at camp as a counselor, being a role model for them in the same way that she had looked up to her leaders. She found joy in the receiving AND in the giving back!

To impact more students like Valentine, donate to our College Scholarships Project today!


Winnie Nantale

By Featured, Project Stories

From Seed to Fruit.

A seed… something so small, yet so full of potential. But you’d never know it by just looking at it. You’d have no idea that this small, armored speck has the capacity to grow into a thriving plant producing more fruit than you could imagine. But a seed needs someone there to tend to it to reach its maximum growth. It needs someone to water it, to make sure it has the right nutrients, to keep weeds away. With this care, the seed soon transforms into an unstoppable, flourishing plant.

Winnie is a plant nursery worker that does exactly that for so many plants. She understands the growth process, and she’s good at helping plants thrive. Since 2022 when Winnie began working at Agromax as a plant nursery worker, she has led the charge of raising over 400,000 plant seedlings into full-grown plants. She has also trained 500 farmers about the best agricultural processes so they can raise flourishing plants too. She’s working, she’s leading, and she’s continually developing a deeper level of mastery in agriculture.

However, Winnie hasn’t always been a master farmer. There was a time when she, like a seed, needed to be cared for and tended to before she could do the same for others.

You see, Winnie became pregnant when she was 16. She went to Wakisa, a pregnancy center in Uganda, run by our partner Vivian. Wakisa takes in young pregnant girls, housing and caring for them throughout their pregnancies. When it comes time for a mom to have her baby, Wakisa takes her to the hospital. After delivery and recovery, the mom goes back home, where she lives life as she begins raising her child. After a few years, once the mom is done nursing and the baby has grown up a bit, Wakisa reaches back out to the mom to invite her to participate in Agromax—a six-month agriculture training program designed for teen moms to learn practical agricultural skills. The girl can choose to accept the offer, and if she does, she gets enrolled in the training course, where she is able to use the skills she learns to provide a stable income for her and her baby by working in a job using those skills.

This is exactly what happened with Winnie. She was cared for at Wakisa, had her baby boy, Solomon, and five years later, was invited to enroll in Agromax through funding from The Hope Venture, to which Winnie said yes. This was just what Winnie needed. She’s from a big Ugandan family… she’s the fifth out of 12 kids raised by a single mom. Her dad had abandoned the family, leaving her mom to care and support all the kids on her own, and now Winnie had her own child to support too.

So Winnie enrolled in Agromax, where she was trained in agri-business, majoring in horticulture and greenhouse management. Winnie excelled in the training course, and the Agromax staff took notice. They offered her a probationary contract, and after her success in that role too, they offered her a full-time greenhouse position.

Being able to attend and complete the Agromax training program changed Winnie’s life. She is so thankful to The Hope Venture and to Vivian for the opportunity. She’s also thankful for Agromax and the investment they put in her through the training program. She learned and grew in leadership and agricultural skill development, and is thankful for the innovation at Agromax through their development and retention program to allow her to stay at Agromax with a job opportunity.

Now she is provided with an income, shelter, clothing, and food. She can send Solomon to school and can help her siblings and family with their finances. One six-month training program impacted Winnie, her son, AND her siblings, and will continue to impact them for years to come. The impact happened because Vivian, Wakisa, and Agromax came alongside Winnie. They helped her in her pregnancy, in her agriculture training, and in her career development. She was tended to. She was watered and pruned. She was given the sunshine she needed, and now she’s producing fruit. She’s thriving. Her branches are stretching and spreading, bringing fruit to those around her too. It’s a pretty beautiful process to watch, just like the growth from a seed to fruit.

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



By Featured, Project Stories

Building Health, a Hospital, and Hope.

She dropped out of school. She was only 14 years old and in eighth grade. She didn’t really want to drop out, but she didn’t have much of a choice. She was pregnant. That wasn’t her choice either. Her neighbor raped her. She also found out she was HIV positive.

This is Peace’s story. Her youth was so quickly stripped from her. She had to morph into a new age of adulthood, a stage where she had to be responsible for herself and for her child.

It’s tough as it is to navigate parenthood for the first time, not to mention parenthood alone as a single, teenage girl. Peace’s rapist ran away from the village in fear of imprisonment for his actions. Peace stayed at home with her mom and four siblings. They didn’t have much money. Peace’s mom went from village to village trying to find any money at all. It wasn’t uncommon for the family to go two days without eating anything because they couldn’t afford food. They were sitting in extreme poverty, and it seemed there were no breaks, no options to get out.

However, during Peace’s pregnancy, she was able to get connected to our partner Vivian, who works at Wakisa Ministries, and she helped guide Peace through her pregnancy and the transition to motherhood. Later, after the birth of her child, we were able to partner with Wakisa to provide a scholarship for Peace so she could continue her schooling without having to pay for it herself. Her pregnancy wouldn’t hold her back from an education.

Peace dreams of becoming a doctor. Her biggest dream is to build a hospital where she can give back to her community and treat other HIV patients. She wants to help people and bring them back to health, to give them a chance at the redemption she experienced through her own involvement with Wakisa. Her dream is closer to reality because of the scholarship she received, which allows her to go to school. We talked to Vivian about Peace and her story, and she provided this quote directly from Peace:

“My mother was not able to take us to school but now I am in school. I am happy because I am reaching my destiny. Education is giving me so much hope. I am hopeful now.”

Peace has been able to take one step closer to her dreams through the provision of the scholarship. While many aspects of her life aren’t perfect, she’s still one step closer. And that matters. She continues on, knowing she has a chance of reaching her end destination, thanks to the gift of a scholarship and the hope it brings.

To impact more women like Peace, donate to our Scholarships for Teen Moms Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

Healing in the Heartache.

Wow. That was my first reaction to Lovinsa’s story. She’s a 15-year-old girl in Uganda, and the things that have happened in her life are heavy. Lovinsa’s story is one of extreme heartache, but even more so, it’s one of beautiful redemption happening through healing.

You see, Lovinsa was living with her mother, but when she was seven, her father came and took her to live with him and his family, which included her stepmom and step siblings. Even after this switch of households, though, Lovinsa’s mom was still the one financially supporting her through the means of her market vendor job. So Lovinsa was under her dad’s roof, but she wasn’t necessarily under his care.

This became even more evident when her stepmom left the house to go to a funeral one day, and her dad took her into another room in the house, away from all her step siblings, and had sex with her. He threatened her and told her not to tell anybody about what happened. He claimed that he had spoken with a sorcerer who had instructed him to rape her if he wanted his business to flourish. This happened several more times and Lovinsa became pregnant.

After the news came out that Lovinsa had conceived, her father denied having any part in the pregnancy. Her father, who was supposed to protect her, instead exploited her and left her helpless. After his repeated denial, her sister finally reported him to the police, and they took him to prison. So her father was gone, but she still had to deal with the effects of his actions against her. She eventually gave birth to a baby boy, but he was rejected because the form of his conception was culturally unethical. Not even her family she lived with wanted to associate with him.

Lovinsa’s mom wants to be able to care for her daughter, but she faces struggles financially and she just doesn’t have the means to take care of her, so Lovinsa went to stay with her grandmother.

What was she supposed to do? She wasn’t educated, she didn’t have the finances to cover her cost of living, which meant she couldn’t pay for school, and she had to take care of her baby boy as a 15-year-old without the help of the father—her father. She faced deep emotions of betrayal, confusion, and hurt. But Lovinsa’s story doesn’t end here in the heartache…

She became the recipient of a scholarship from The Hope Venture through our partnership with Wakisa, a pregnancy center in Uganda for teenage mothers. She had been able to attend Wakisa and receive help from them throughout her pregnancy, and once she gave birth, we partnered with Wakisa to help her even beyond the raising of her child.

She now goes to school at Buloba Primary School, and it’s more than just a formal education for her. She takes classes and grows her knowledge, but she’s also healing. It’s a safe space. It’s therapeutic for her to go to school… to learn about things she enjoys, to build healthy relationships with her teachers and classmates, and to work toward a diploma that can help her in her pursuit of a stable career.

She has also gotten involved with the Girl Guides group at school, which is similar to Girl Scouts in the US, but has an emphasis on sharing the word of God and taking care of one another emotionally, spiritually, and physically. They also take care of the school premises and make sure it’s clean. They play games and have fun with one another, fostering a fun, safe, and healthy community.

There seems to be a sprout of hope pushing through the ash in the midst of all the betrayal and hurt Lovinsa has walked through. Redemption is happening. Healing is happening. She laughs. She’s made friends. She’s found community. Her teachers love having her in class. The scholarship that was provided for Lovinsa is reaching far beyond the classroom—it’s providing an opportunity for deep parts of her heart to be mended and restored.

To impact more women like Lovinsa, donate to our Scholarships for Teen Moms Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

The Provision of a Home.

Brokenness permeated Yves’s family. He has four siblings, but each of them have a different father. He doesn’t even know his own father… he has never even seen him. His grandmother was his primary caretaker from the time he was one year old until he was fourteen and entering seventh grade. Then his mom came through the village and brought their family of six back together into a single room home. Soon after Yves began living with his mom again, she married another man. He joined them in the single room home, but it wasn’t long before the new husband chased away the five kids. He couldn’t stand living with children who were not his own. So, Yves and all his siblings were left on their own, with no home except the streets. However, there were a number of neighbors and people in the community that quickly welcomed them into their own homes. In Yves’s case, a young man invited him to stay with him in his small room.

In the midst of all this, Yves continued to attend high school thanks to the means of the Acts4Rwanda scholarship program, which seeks to help Rwandan children get an education. He became a recipient of this scholarship program when he was in ninth grade.

Then when it came time to attend college, he was able to receive a scholarship for tuition through a loan from the Rwandan government. This meant he was able to get his class costs covered, but he still wasn’t able to pay for housing, had no money for food, and couldn’t afford other costs like books and supplies. He was on his own… he no longer had any family supporting him financially. There was a lot of weight to carry. So, he had planned to take a gap year, work as many hours as he could, save money, and then go back to school using the savings he accumulated from working, hoping it would be enough to cover everything beyond the tuition costs that were holding him back from his education.

Well, Yves had a scholarship in high school through Acts4Rwanda, and The Hope Venture has a partnership with them. So, through his connection with Acts4Rwanda, they were able to connect him to be a recipient of The Hope Venture’s college scholarship project, which helps students by paying for their room and board costs while they complete their undergraduate studies. Yves had a home provided for him yet again! So, since his tuition is covered by the government loan, and his room and board costs are covered by The Hope Venture, he can go to college without extra worries about finances, and he doesn’t have to take a year off to try to save up money. He can concentrate fully on his academics, which he takes seriously. He wants to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in real estate management and evaluation.

Post-graduation with this degree, he would be able to find work which could help support his family financially, and also support the community through his services in helping people find homes. Yves especially has a heart for helping children in situations not much different than his own while growing up—underprivileged children in need of a home. But he isn’t just leaving his passion for helping others for when he graduates college… he is serving and leading in his school, church, and community now even while he completes his coursework.

To impact more students like Yves, donate to our College Scholarships Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

The healing process of small scale agriculture.

There seems to be something healing about gardening, about using your hands, about working the earth. Maybe we feel like we are connecting to creation in a way that feels right, like it’s the way that it’s meant to be. Perhaps there is something divine about producing, about creating, about caring for the land. Walking through rows of crops, checking each plant, pruning its leaves, watching over, watering and waiting. It’s a rhythm that slows us, that opens us to the movement of God, to God’s movement through the earth, from the seed to the harvest.

For five hours a day, Samali works the land. And it seems like she’s healing.

At 14, Samali became pregnant. Then the father of her child left her. She had no money. Her dad had passed away years ago, and her mother wasn’t helping support her. At 14, Samali had nothing and no idea what to do next.

Then a woman took her into her home and began caring for her and supporting her. She took her to The Hope Venture’s partner, Wakisa Ministries, where she was able to meet other young pregnant women and receive care through her pregnancy. The Hope Venture then gave her the chance to receive vocational training with an organization called Agromax. At 15, Samali graduated from Agromax having learned farming techniques which empowered her to begin a small scale farming operation on a small patch of land. There wasn’ much space, just a small plot tucked away into the hillside, but it now teems with life, overflowing with the fruits of Samali’s labor.


Now Samali is spending five hours a day farming. She’s growing tomatoes and jack fruit and corn and cocoa beans, enough to feed herself and her child. She’s dreaming of enough growth to feed her community.

Samali talks about farming like it’s a safe haven, like it’s a breath of fresh air in the midst of a life that has been choking her. She said her favorite thing to do is to water her plants, just to stand there and watch water trickle over the leaves. There’s something healing about routine tasks, about the rhythm of work. Samali is timid—a timidity that comes from wounds– but when she talks about farming she comes alive. Her eyes brighten up and a smile comes to her face. She thinks of it with thankfulness in her eyes. Like it has been a gift of healing to her.

At 16 years old, with a 1 year old child, no family and little money, you’d think her situation would be bleak. But it isn’t. It’s fruitful. It’s beautiful. It’s full and lush. And it’s hopeful. There’s a small hope sprouting out from dry ground.


To impact more women like Samali, donate to Agromax today!



By Featured, Project Stories

Fighting for an education and the hope of a better future.

This story is about Dilliyammal. Her family faces a lot of hardship. They live in Chennai, India. They’re very poor. Her dad makes a meager income, and instead of buying food for her and her little brother, he spends it all on alcohol. Dilliyammal’s mom cares a lot about her and her brother. She works when she can as a cleaning lady, trying to make some money to provide, but it’s never enough. They don’t have enough food on the table. They don’t even have a table. The four of them live in a tiny hut made of banana leaves. They all sleep side by side on the dirt floor. They don’t have bedrooms or living rooms or bathrooms. It’s just one room. Their floor functions as the bed, the table, the desk, and sometimes it gets covered in water. They live on the outskirts of town in a flood zone. They often have to trudge through a foot of water to get anywhere–work, grocery store, school, anywhere. They lack adequate shelter, education, food, and work. They lack the things we call basic necessities. On top of that, in their little one room house, Dilliyammal’s father physically abuses her mother.

Dilliyammal and her family outside their home.

Think about what it’s like for this family right now as they are quarantined together in their one room house. The extent of their hardship is difficult to even imagine.

We’ve been pouring out our love for this family wherever we can. We’re feeding Dilliyammal and her brother every day at our feeding center. While there, they have space to work on homework with the help of tutors. They’re getting space for fun, friendship, and mentorship. We also provided backpacks with school supplies for them so they’d have what they need for school.

Dilliyammal and her brother, Shanka, studying on the floor of their home.

We aren’t solving all their problems, but we’re stepping in to help in the ways that we can.

Last year, the family hit a crux. Dilliyammal was about to graduate high school. Which would be huge for the family. Maybe she’d be able to go on and get some more education or get a job, and maybe she’d be able to have a different life than the one she’s always known. Her mom was holding on to that hope. She wanted Dilliyammal to experience something different. But in order to finish high school she had to take exams, and in order to take exams she had to pay, but her family didn’t have enough money. Her mom was trying to save up what she had from cleaning, but she couldn’t do it. As the end of the year approached, desperation set in. Dilliyammal’s mom started to realize that Dillyammal might not be able to take her exams. She began to see her hopes fading away. If she couldn’t get Dilliyammal through her education, she’d have nothing. Dilliyammal would fall right back into the same life, stuck in the same cycle. How would the family ever be able to be free of the difficulties? It was right at that time that the Hope Venture media team was in Chennai. The team met Dilliyammal and her family and spent some time with them at their house. As they were leaving, Dilliyammal’s mom reached out and held onto our photographer’s arm, something that rarely happens. She reached out in desperation and pleaded with her. “Please,” she said, “help me help my kids.”

The Hope Venture was born from witnessing a mother serve dirty water to her kids. The Hope Venture began out of the heart of a mom wanting to help other moms help their kids. So we responded. A scholarship was provided so that Dilliyammal could take her exams and finish school.

This doesn’t fix everything, but this family has fixed their eyes on the hope of a better future, and we’re going to keep coming alongside them to help that hope become a real possibility. Dilliyammal’s going to get an education, and in the midst of such hardships, that is something to rejoice in.

To impact more students like Dilliyamel, donate to our India Scholarship Project today!



By Featured, Project Stories

The hope of a family and the strength of a daughter.

Hi. My name is Caleb. I was the project manager for The Hope Venture until last August. Normally, I write stories without revealing myself as the author, but I just couldn’t do that with this one. I feel like this story has a gift to give each of us, and I can’t share it without bringing you in to how it has personally been a gift to me.

I think there is a tendency to see the content that The Hope Venture produces (or any non-profit for that matter) as another dose of daily media consumption. You know the trends, we’re constantly consuming media. We listen to it, read it, watch it, scroll through it. We live amidst a seemingly endless barrage of content that we honestly don’t know how to deal with.

I feel that. I’ll be scrolling instagram and I’ll see a photo that is meant to elicit some sort of personal response or engagement, but I will most likely scroll on by. I sometimes find it hard to pause long enough to even read the posts of some of my closest friends. Confession time, I even struggle engaging with The Hope Venture’s posts. And I was projects manager! The problem with this is that I don’t give these stories the time to actually touch me. I don’t give them the chance to reach out and grab ahold of me. I scroll through Instagram at arms length, keeping content just out of reach, and in doing so, I miss out on the reality that these photos are reaching out to me. I miss out on the reality that these photos are not content, not media to be consumed; these photos are real people, real stories.

Normally, the stories I’ve written have come from a personal experience I have had with someone overseas. But last spring I was tasked with writing stories of people I hadn’t met personally. So for the first time, I sat where you normally sit. I sat on the other side of the globe, thousands of miles away from the people in the stories. And it made me long to somehow reach through the screen and shake their hand. It made me want to travel to Africa and India to actually meet these people. Confession time round two, I am often tempted to think that the story won’t be truly impactful if I don’t actually meet them face to face.

And then I met Kavitha.

It was a couple of days after Josh (our Creative Director at The Hope Venture) and his wife Victoria got back from India. We decided to meet up at a coffee shop and talk through some of the stories that impacted them from the trip. I was sitting across from Victoria at one of those big work tables. Laptops were out, mugs were full, and they began to tell me about the people they met. 

Victoria began to tell me about Kavitha. She gave the details: Kavitha is a 7th grader, she lives in the village of Selaiyur, she is the youngest in her family, she’s the only one going to school. She got a backpack through The Hope Venture backpack project. It felt like we were going through the motions, like the details of her life story were just facts that writers and creative directors need to sift through in order to produce relevant content so that people will donate to the backpack project. And then, catching me off guard, Victoria explained that Kavitha’s parents were born blind while simultaneously spinning her laptop around to show me a photo of Kavitha standing between her parents.

Kavitha’s gaze pierced through the screen. And there, at the big work table, Kavitha’s story reached out and grabbed me. Her eyes, a piercing look of determination. She stood facing forward with confidence and humility, holding her parents’ hands as their eyes avoid the camera. Her eyes seem to say, “I’ve got this.” 

In that moment, I felt the power of story. I realized how much more there is behind the photo, how much the story matters. In order to see that this photo is not just another dose of media for our daily consumption, we need to learn the story behind it. For I will tell you, Kavitha’s story is not asking for a double tap and a digital heart. It is asking for your hands to be open, because her story is a gift. Her story is one that reaches out and holds open hands.

Kavitha is a 7th grader who lives in poverty in a village in India. Her parents’ blindness not only inhibits them from working and providing for the family, but it also ostracizes and outcasts them. Her father recently had a heart attack and now has trouble even moving around. Her older sister gave up school so that Kavitha wouldn’t have to. She was given a backpack and school supplies. She’s given a daily meal at The Hope Venture’s feeding center. Everyone is pulling for her, doing all they can to ensure she gets an education. She’s the hope of the family, the light in their darkness. And now she looks forward at the path ahead, the path that is complex and scary and difficult. The path that is far too much for a 7th grader to have to handle. And I’m thinking, she must feel the weight. She must feel the pressure. For she walks to school with far more than the weight of her backpack on her shoulders. 

Yet Victoria tells me that Kavitha walks not as one burdened with the weight of the world. She walks with the strength not only to hold herself, but to hold her parents’ too. She’s confident, humble, and sweet. She has a big smile. Even though she’s the youngest, she’s clearly leading her family. Victoria simply said, “she’s incredible.” 

And that’s what I see when I look at this photo. I see someone who is incredible. 

She looks through the camera like she’s trying to look into my eyes. Like she’s trying to look through the lens into the eyes of everyone in the world. Like she’s trying to use her eyes, her beautiful eyes, to see. And to be seen herself. It’s a passageway into her story, the story of a girl who has never been seen. The story of a girl who does her homework in the dark because her parents don’t need a light in their hut. The story of a girl who is the youngest in her family but the only one with a chance at an education. The story of a girl who makes tea for her guests, but places the tea in her mother’s hand so she can have the dignity of hosting someone. The story of a girl who holds onto her parents hands to guide them. The story of a girl who holds onto her parents hands to be guided. The story of a girl who holds onto her parents hands for dear life because she is only a 7th grader in a world that is far too complex and far too difficult to navigate alone. And yet she looks through the camera like she’s saying, “I’ve got this.” She stands, hand in hand with a mother and father who have never seen her, with a backpack on her back and the weight of life heavy on her shoulders. And in the midst of this, she looks through the camera, across the globe, and into our eyes and says, “You’ve got this too.”

Kavitha deserves to be seen. Her story is not a collection of details and facts to be placed in an Instagram post. Her story is living and active and full of power. Her story is an inspiration, a gift, an arm outstretched. Her story is a picture of light in darkness, of love in difficulty, of hope in despair, of strength in weakness. She holds her parents hands, and in doing so, she gives us hope that all the hands of the world are being held too. That our hands, our fearful, frail, and failing hands, are being held too. 

Her journey teaches us that we can walk through difficult things, really difficult things. Sitting there at that coffee shop I felt like Kavitha gave me strength. I felt like she reached out to me and told me there is light in this dark world. I felt like she asked me if I see her.

And that’s my hope. My hope is that she’d be seen. My hope is that this photo would not be another photo we scroll past. Another bit of content as our thumbs do our daily dose of despairing. For Kavitha is incredible. And her story is a gift. Her hands are reaching out as an invitation to walk through life, even in all its difficulty and complexity. 

So I think it is important to break through the fourth wall of sorts and tell you that though I have never met Kavitha in person, I see her. And I want to say, her story is important enough to allow it to impact us. It is important enough to stop me in my tracks. It is real enough to change my life. For she is not a photo in a catalog, she is a person, a real, incredible, human who has and is making an impact in this world, and she’s inviting us to join her.

To impact more students like Kavitha, donate a backpack today!



By Featured, Project Stories

A beautiful picture of love multiplying out from Kenya’s largest slum.

Outside the sky is flooded with rosy hues of orange and red as the sun makes its nightly retreat below the horizon. Dust floats lazily through the warm dry air as the evening hubbub that stirred it up slowly dies down. You however aren’t full of warmth and you don’t feel particularly rosy. Your life here in Kibera, the largest slum in East Africa, would more accurately be described as difficult, dangerous, and hopeless, and the setting of the sun means it’s time to get inside quick or risk a run in with one of the gangs in the area. This harrowing place is made all the more difficult by the reality that many of the children who are raised here don’t have the opportunity to continue their schooling past eighth grade, making the barriers keeping them from a better life almost insurmountable. 

This is home for Abraham Ndung’u, a high school student now just a few months from graduating thanks to the student sponsorship program from The Hope Venture.

Growing up his friends were much like him, without realistic hopes of going to high school, on a trajectory towards a future of drugs and alcohol as they tried to cope with the stress of living in this place. But then Abraham met Cynci and Elijah, and he got sponsored.

He was going to be able to go to high school and the pressure that school fees were putting on his aunt, with whom he lives, was gone. Abraham met some new friends, worked hard in school, and started making decisions outside of it to put his future on a different trajectory. Some of his old friends tried to follow him down this new path while others stuck to their ways. Some of those that didn’t follow have passed away after being sucked into the mire of drug addiction, a tragic path Abraham believes he would have continued down if not for The Hope Venture. If not for his sponsorship Abraham believes he would be six feet under, but instead he’s on the verge of graduating high school and giving back to local children through a weekend program called Edmond Rice Camp. He gathers street kids to play games, learn, and explore and develop their talents, helping them to better themselves and stay out of the trouble that swallows up so many unsuspecting youths in the area.

Abraham’s life is a beautiful picture of the way acts of love can multiply, he received love from The Hope Venture and now he’s giving of himself to help others find the hope that he now has.

To impact more students like Abraham, sponsor a student today!