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Thulasi

By Project Stories

A legacy that empowered.

It was raining when we arrived. We wound through a few roads where there were some simple cement homes, nothing fancy. We got out and walked down an alley. Our partner took a right and I wasn’t sure exactly where, since much of it looked the same. I got about to where he had been and looked into a small doorframe of a home inquisitively, as if to say, “is this where my friend just went?” A woman giggled at me and motioned to the next house. I went there but had the same hesitation, “is this the one?” And up the steps someone motioned me forward excitedly. “Yes! This way! Come. Come.”

Up the steps and around the corner opened to a small room where some food was cooking. Past that was another room with lots of children… boys sitting on the floor on one side and girls on the other and a tutor behind them all. They stood and cheered. “Welcome ma’am, hello. Welcome. Sit, sit.”

They were excited to see us. They had a presentation prepared for us and wanted to get right to it. A handful of us had just arrived, some for the first time to India, and all of a sudden children were quickly saying all the things they had prepared.

“Hello, I am Thulasi. Welcome to Kurumbar Padi. I have two brothers and one sister.” (Or did she say one brother and one sister? And did she say something else in between there? Some people were still sitting down. Our eyes and ears and hearts were still adjusting to the setting we were in). “And what is your dream,” someone asked. “To be an artist. I want to be an artist like my father.”

The next one started. Then the next. And we got to the boys. And they said theirs. And then one boy stood up and added. “I like to draw. I would like to be an artist.”

Someone pointed back to the first girl, Thulasi. Yes they are brother and sister. They drew these photos on the wall. Wow those are beautiful.

The program went on. Each one sharing. Then a skit… turned out to be the Good Samaritan which seems to be a great skit and lesson in any language. The kids enjoyed pretending to beat up their friend, then ignore him, then help him. Giggles and mistakes and the caring ending.

Then there were dances and speeches and there was Thulasi again, the girl from the beginning, standing up strong and brave to give the longest speech yet. It was about giving dignity to both girls and boys, an appeal to educate both men and women, a reflection on the lack of opportunity women can face in India.

And she’s right. She’s only maybe 15 years old but she sees the disparity. She wants a chance, for herself and for all girls. And she was proudly declaring it in both her speech and in her demeanor. She knew her own dignity.

I wondered where her confidence came from. Many in poverty struggle, feeling less than, feeling not as valuable, feeling shame. It’s not true. We all have value and dignity, but we might not know it. That’s partly why The Hope Venture exists. In Thulasi’s village we run a feeding center and tutor the kids after school to give them some extra help. We want them to have a chance like everyone else. We want them to find hope and love. We want them to have the opportunity to rise above. Many are orphans or have been rejected by their dads and mostly can barely afford food, let alone school supplies. So life is tough and shame and heartbreak is often the norm.

But Thulasi was different. She was so strong, such a leader. And I’d like to tell you it was because of our center in her village. But our center is pretty new and she’s had this strength for awhile. She was contagiously spreading it to the kids at our center but her strength didn’t come from us. Even God, who I believe she loves, is not the only answer to her hope and strength. No, God had provided someone else to teach her this, if even for a short time. It began to make sense as soon as I saw her home.

She lived right across from the feeding center. She held my hand and urged me to come, pulling me and smiling. “Please ma’am come.” I stepped down a narrow passageway, tucked my head down to avoid what was hanging, then turned the corner. Already the garden with mangos and roses told a different story than the rainy, dreary day I was in. I took my shoes off and one more step into the house now and ahhhhh. The love. The beauty. The drawings on the wall. The fish tank- I don’t see many of those here. Then the photo frame of a man. I met her mom and brothers and sister and cousins and then was told, “yes, this was my father, he died six years ago. He was an artist.” The drawings on the wall were partly his, but partly several kids’ drawing as well.

Legacy. Love. Leadership. Thulasi had a dad that loved her, that inspired her, that was her hero. And it made all the difference in her life. She wanted to be just like him, follow in his footsteps. Draw like him. Draw for him. Carry on his honor.

It was refreshing in a village of extreme poverty to find a man who had not abandoned, not neglected, not rejected… and to find a daughter who was strong and confident, who knew who she was and who she wanted to be, who was leading her peers to do the same, and who was even advocating to the adults to hear their voices, to honor their dreams.

A moment for me that started with rain and muddy steps and narrow passageways, opened up to dreams and beauty and hope. May Thulasi have what she needs to carry her banner far and wide. May we grant her the respect she deserves. May her dad somehow even rest in peace, knowing his legacy lives on and his love mattered.

To impact more students like Thulasi, donate to our India Feeding Centers today!

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Michelle

By Project Stories

The dignity of a new, tailored uniform.

There’s nothing like the esteem you experience when you step into school on the first day after summer and you have a brand-new outfit on, picked out exclusively for the first day. You strut through the doors, overjoyed with your vibrantly colored t-shirt displaying a print of your favorite TV character, the boldly colored shorts your mom helped you match with it, and, of course, your new light-up sneakers. This is an exciting time – you feel empowered to spend the year learning alongside your classmates, all because you have clothes that you’re excited about. They fit you well, and you can boldly wear them around your school.

While many of us have probably experienced this satisfaction in our clothing at school, it is not the case for all students. For Michelle, for example, this was not her case. Michelle walked into school in Uganda feeling shame, not dignity. Her clothes didn’t fit her. They were too small, not seeming to stretch to cover her body. This was already embarrassing enough, but on top of this, the kids at school called her names, and her teachers told her to change and put on a casual uniform. But she couldn’t. Her family simply didn’t have enough money to buy clothes that fit her. Michelle tried to find any way to cover the areas where her clothes didn’t. She tied scarves around her waist and tried to layer different clothing items. She felt ashamed of her clothes and of herself.

But then Michelle became a recipient in part of The Hope Venture’s uniform project in partnership with Passion Christian Ministries. This project helps provide school uniforms to students at Passion Christian High School in Uganda to help encourage students to stay in school, to help them feel a sense of belonging, and experience a higher sense of esteem.

So Michelle was taken to get fitted for new clothing. Measurements were taken to get a uniform tailored uniquely for her. Michelle says she feels amazing when she’s wearing her new uniforms. She feels smart. She feels respected. She gets to wear the same thing as her peers in school, which she never imagined would happen. Instead of feeling like an outcast, she now feels like she fits in – like she belongs. She can stride into school proudly, knowing her clothes fit her and allow her to focus on learning.

Now that Michelle feels confident each day at school, she has her eyes fixed on accomplishing her goals by finishing school. She wants to become a doctor so she can save lives – of all people. She wants to help people in villages who don’t often get access to medical care. Her parents are getting older and don’t have a lot of money, so she wants to help them too by making a steady income through her career.

Michelle didn’t want to be seen for the clothes she was wearing. She didn’t want to be set aside as an outcast. She wanted to be known – for who she really was. She wanted to share her love of pizza (especially slices with ground beef and lots of cheese), physics, and net ball. Her curious mind and eager attitude to learn. Her smile, her friendly nature, wanting everyone to feel like they had a friend. These are the things that make Michelle, Michelle. And now, she can firmly display these qualities each day since she is confidently dressed in a uniform.

Wycliffe

By Project Stories

Simpler ways to water access.

Getting a glass of water to drink is simple. Grab a clean glass from the cupboard, take about three steps over to the sink (or maybe even to the fridge with its filtered water dispenser), turn on the faucet, and wait a few seconds for the glass to fill up. Voilà! A refreshing, clean glass of cold water. So simple.

But what if it wasn’t simple? It certainly isn’t for Wycliffe and his family in Oletukat, Kenya. They have no water in their home. They have to walk four kilometers (that’s roughly 5,400 steps!) to the nearest water source, and sometimes up to eight kilometers – just to get some water. This isn’t just a small inconvenience either – this means no water for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, washing clothes, showering, flushing toilets, and no water for animals or plants either. Wycliffe and his family spend so much time walking to a water source each day, and the water available to them isn’t even clean. Plus, they use containers to collect water that are used both by humans and animals, which contaminates the water even more. This leads to many water borne diseases which are constantly infecting the family, like cholera, dysentery, and amebiasis. Then, due to the nature of these diseases, the family has to make more frequent trips to the toilet. However, without access to a toilet, Wycliffe’s family often has to resort to using the bushes nearby for this purpose. Then the waste just sits there, and others can be exposed to it when they go to use the bushes, and the spread of disease multiplies. As a result, everyone in the family gets sick and they have to make frequent trips to the doctor to get medications and care, which gets very costly.

Wycliffe faces these water and sanitation issues daily, and has to try to lead his family through it. He is a husband and a father to six kids. Three kids are in elementary school, two are in preschool, and one is too young for school. Wycliffe also serves his parents by caring for them on top of caring for his own family. To earn some income and get some food for his family, Wycliffe tries to do some small scale farming. The farming operations do alright, but drought often plagues the community too.

Wycliffe was trying to serve his family well, but all these water issues couldn’t be solved by Wycliffe on his own. What a daunting task! However, Wycliffe and his family were able to take part in a project with The Hope Venture, through a connection with our partner, Nasha Ministries, Wycliffe and his family were able to move towards some solutions. Through the project with The Hope Venture, a water source has been brought nearer to their community in Oletukat. Wycliffe and his family were able to get a toilet. They also got sanitation training. The combination of these things led to diseases being far less common in their household, which also meant fewer trips to the doctor and fewer expenses because of doctor bills. The family has much more time for other things, since they don’t have to spend so much time walking to and from the water source. And now, when they collect water, they can have access to cleaner, more sanitary water.

The benefits of this project haven’t just stayed within Wycliffe’s family. They open their home and toilet to many people in their community, so they also can have a safe and sanitary experience. Not only do they open up their resources to others, but they are constantly educating others in their community about sanitation practices.

Now so many people in the community want to get toilets installed for their homes too. Overall, with more and more toilets and sanitation education happening in the community, there is less disease occurring in the community as a whole, and people are healthier. People have a lot more time on their hands too, since the water is closer to them. Kids can go to school since they don’t have to worry about fetching water each day. Wycliffe’s family, and the community as a whole, hope for continued improvements, including more toilets and more sanitation, which leads to healthier communities.

To impact more families like Wycliffe’s, donate to our Kenya Water Project today!

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Vaikunthan

By Project Stories

A scooter and a helping hand.

Beep beep! Watch out, Vaikunthan is coming through on his brand new scooter! He sits in splendor atop his two-wheeler, the sun reflecting off the shiny black steel, his hands gripping the handlebars that give him control of his journey. He weaves in and out of traffic as he rolls along the road in the Jawadhu Hills region in southern India. Vaikunthan is on his way to the wholesale market to buy some goods in bulk that he can turn around and sell in his small provision store that he runs in front of his home.

It’s a blessing that Vaikunthan can visit the market on his own, able to make his own business decisions about what to purchase, and then get it back to his own store on his own time. Vaikunthan hasn’t always been able to do this by himself.

A few years ago, Vaikunthan was collecting jackfruit to sell in his store. He climbed a tree to cut the fruit from the branches. While he was up in the tree, he lost his balance and fell. He endured fractures in both legs and severe nerve damage in both feet, losing all sensitivity in the lower portion of his legs. This accident resulted in a permanent handicap, leaving Vaikunthan unable to walk.

Because of this accident, Vaikunthan had to rely on others to go to the market for him so he could keep his provision store open. It was far too great of a distance for him to walk. While it was wonderful that people were helping him out, they saw it as an opportunity for their own gain as well. Vaikunthan would repeatedly get cheated during these business exchanges, with people taking advantage of his inability to watch what they may do with the product after purchasing it at the wholesale market and before delivering it (or just some of it) back to Vaikunthan for his store.

One day, Vaikunthan had a customer visit and shop at his store. Throughout his time shopping, Vaikunthan and Mr. Velu, the customer, got to talking. Mr. Velu heard about Vaikunthan’s accident, disability, and difficulties with getting goods for his store. Mr. Velu, a coordinator with The Hope Venture in Jawadhu Hills, was moved and wanted to help Vaikunthan find a solution. The Hope Venture has a project establishing community development centers in Jawadhu Hills, aiming to support the community, helping with needs that arise, and Mr. Velu takes part in aiding the community through that. Mr. Velu researched and figured out the process for getting a free vehicle through the government in their community. Mr. Velu helped Vaikunthan apply for the vehicle, and after a year, they were able to go get a two-wheeler together.

Now Vaikunthan has a way to get around efficiently on his own. He can purchase goods for his store, allowing him to stay in control of his business and maximize his income. Every time he scoots around town, he can remember the provision he received that now gives him independence in his mobility.

To impact more people like Vaikunthan, donate to our Jawadhu Hills Project today!

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Jacqueline

By Project Stories

Mac-n-cheese, a computer, and so much more…

I met Jacqueline on my first trip to Rwanda. The Hope Venture was exploring the idea of starting some Pilot Projects in the capital city of Kigali. We were outside the offices of Acts4Rwanda, where dozens of school children were gathering for a daily meal provided by the organization. Jacqueline was serving the younger children and I hopped in next to her to scoop up some food… I think maybe she was passing out some cookies and I was scooping mac-n-cheese?😊

Anyway, Jacqueline and I got to talk. She was friendly and had dreams of going to college. She had been sponsored by Acts4Rwanda up through high school but now wasn’t sure what was going to happen since their sponsorship ends after high school. Her housing was going to be a big challenge. And she needed a computer if she was going to continue in science. And tuition was of course on her mind. It was all daunting. Meanwhile though, kids were coming up to us wanting food and, well, all this money and college-dreams stuff would have to wait.

Our team came back home and started praying more about what to do.

For the year previous, we had been revamping our project strategy. We had worked with the same partners overseas since The Hope Venture had started. If we ever started something new, it was because someone like our partner Charlie in India would get his heart wrecked by some need, share it with me (Cynci), we’d talk in the clouds and a little on paper, pray, and go for it. We tried to document things or explain our reasoning, but honestly we were growing so fast that we got behind on the paperwork. It got harder and harder to understand what we were doing. Meanwhile we wanted to replicate some of it, or stop some of it, but we couldn’t articulate why. So for a whole year the staff questioned me, wrote things down, questioned me again, wrote more down, questioned Charlie, and all our partners, and started to document clearly what we were doing, where we were going, and how we could grow.

One huge change from that year was a goal to vett 20 new partners over the next five years. Ahhh! Talk about daunting! We had trusted partners, longtime friends who we worked with. How would we grow that trust with new people?

Well we had to try.

Covid had led to extreme poverty rising around the world for the first time in twenty years. People were hurting, hungry, and hopeless. Yet God’s hand was on us and He was using us to bring hope and dignity to some of the most disadvantaged people in the world. We longed to press into that even more and watch God bring His overwhelming love rushing over more and more souls.

So we set out to explore some new partnerships. We made a new Pilot Project strategy where we would start out small, make sure reporting requirements were met, grow it bit by bit, and over time, we’d have some new trusted partners. That’s why we were in Rwanda. One of our board members had a friend of a friend, and there we were.

We told Acts4Rwanda we couldn’t do much to start. That we’d have to start small. How small? Well it turned out that one scholarship would have to do.

Jacqueline.

Yep, Jacqueline was The Hope Venture’s first ever Pilot Project recipient.

We prayed and collaborated with Acts4Rwanda. They liked how we were having success with our college scholarships in Kenya. They were sponsoring kids through high school, just like we were in Kenya, but then had no way to help them after that. We created a thorough Project Plan document and got back to signing memorandums of understanding. We articulated clear reporting requirements and reviewed the project 6 months in. Then in 2022 we were able to add four more students, and just recently, our Projects Team approved them for 15 students in 2023!

Jacqueline’s dad was in a bad accident five years ago. Her mom was in jail for a couple years. Life’s been hard. But Acts4Rwanda has come alongside her and her siblings to help and now The Hope Venture is here too. God does see and know our burdens. He can bring people together from across the globe… to bring hope, to provide a computer and housing, to feel His love, even to get some mac-n-cheese and a cookie. ❤️

Mary

By Project Stories

Deep love for others in her heart.

Feet pounding. Hearts racing. Breath gasping. Mary and her little brother are scrambling through the rugged terrain of Buloba, Uganda. This is no school playground or game of tag. They are being chased away from home by their abusive parents. Two children being cast out, yelled at, degraded, and forced to try and live life on their own.

If she and her brother aren’t wanted by their own parents, why would anyone else want to take them in? How could Mary take care of her brother without a job, without an education, and without a way to finish school? While these questions were heavy on Mary’s mind and heart, she wouldn’t let them overtake her.

From here, Mary got a job as a maid. This would provide some income to support herself and her brother. Mary worked hard, and was delighted by the kindness of her employer when Mary’s success was also important to them. Mary couldn’t afford an education on her own, so her employer began paying for her school fees.

However, one day on her way to school, Mary was raped. Again, in another circumstance that Mary could not control, she was degraded and abandoned. When she gave birth to her son, Daniel, her employer didn’t want to associate with her anymore. So her employer cut her off and stopped paying for her school fees.

Mary was back to square one. She was abandoned once again, had no access to education, was out of a job, and now, this time, she had another precious life – her son Daniel – to care for too.

Fortunately, however, right before cutting her off, Mary’s employer brought her to Wakisa Ministries. Mary was able to get connected to our partner, Vivian. The project she was able to get connected to through Wakisa aims to help young mothers get an education through sponsoring them, supporting them along the way as these young girls take care of their children. Now Mary is attending school as the recipient of a student sponsorship.

Physical harm, emotional harm, pain, hurt, confusion, sorrow. These are repeated themes in Mary’s life. Even the people who should have loved and cared for Mary the most in her life, harmed her. Mary was unfairly met with hurt, abuse, and neglect instead of the love and care that should have been present in these relationships.

Yet Mary still has a love and care for people that runs so deeply within her.

Mary wants to finish school and become a lawyer to help victims of abuse like her get justice. 

She cares so deeply for the individual who sponsors her to go to school. In a letter to her sponsor, she repeatedly wrote how badly she wants and prays for God to bless her sponsor. She has never met the person funding her financially, yet cares enough to want abundant blessings for them.

Mary even wants to share her joys and loves in life with her sponsor. Poetry is an avenue that Mary uses to do just that. Through the precise language that takes form in patterns of rhythm and sound, Mary can share her life. Her story comes to life on the page, flowing with emotion, saturated with vulnerability. Through the arrangement of words, Mary offers a connection to her sponsor. She offers an inside look into her world – a world of joy and sharing – despite her hurt, and excitedly invites her sponsor into it all by writing a poem for them. 

To sponsor more women like Mary, donate to our Uganda Sponsorship Project today!

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Shadrack

By Project Stories

The overflow of joy onto others around him.

For Shadrack, family is really important. Shadrack grew up with three sisters and five brothers in the village of Oletukat just outside of Narok, Kenya. Shadrack’s father passed away when Shadrack was only three years old, leaving all nine kids under the care of a single mother. His mother doesn’t work, and they just have a few goats to rely on for milk production.

Shadrack and his siblings often go out to find work for the day, hoping to earn enough to get some food. Each night, they come back home, excited to share with one another everything that they earned for the day. His family comes together, singing and full of joy for what they have.

In the midst of this, Shadrack’s family struggled to pay the fees needed to keep him in school. Thankfully Shadrack was able to get connected to our partner, Nasha, and we were able to get him sponsored. Through this he was able to leave behind the stress of school fees and focus on his studies, helping him excel in his classes and graduate high school.

However, even with the accomplishment of a high school diploma, Shadrack couldn’t fulfill his dreams of a professional career. More education would be necessary. Shadrack knew from his high school experience that he had a natural talent in mathematics, and would like to use it in a future career. Yet getting a job in this field would require an expensive education, one that seemed out of reach for Shadrack.

But after Shadrack graduated high school, our partner Nasha told him about our College Scholarship fund. He applied and was accepted. Now he could pursue higher education by attending college. Shadrack got accepted to Mount Kenya University in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, and is currently working towards earning his Bachelor of Science in Statistics degree. He hopes to go into a career in data analytics.

Shadrack found joy in getting an education. But Shadrack’s joy flows beyond his own education. Shadrack has been helped through the means of education and wants to use his opportunities to help others in return, specifically other kids who are going through tough situations like he was. He is getting involved in community service projects, and each day, he is working towards earning his college degree so he can come back to his family and help provide for his mother and siblings.

Shadrack sees all of the people he helps as his family. With the importance of family rooted deep inside him, he is passionate about caring for all people and helping them succeed as well, whether it actually be his immediate family, or just people he is helping in his community through volunteering with service projects. These are all people Shadrack wants to share joy and hope with.

To impact more students like Shadrack, donate to our Kenya College Scholarship Project today!

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Miria

By Project Stories

The growth of dreams for the future.

Miria is a dreamer. Her eyes sparkle and her face lights up as she smiles. Her dreams are like the excitement that emerges when a seed first surfaces as a sprout from under the soil. There was darkness for a long time – the soil laid dim and dormant. Suddenly, a sprout of life appeared fiercely out of the soil. The plant is petite and fragile at this point, but the possibilities are endless when thinking about all the fruit it could produce.

You see, Miria’s dreams are certainly like the new sprout – full of opportunity. But her life didn’t always look so hopeful. Miria had a season that looked like the darkness of the soil, unsure if anything would rise up out of it. 

When Miria was 15, her church choir was invited to sing at a youth conference. One evening she wasn’t feeling well, so she stayed behind to rest. In this time, Miria was raped and threatened of harm if she told anyone about what happened. A month later when Miria suspected she was pregnant, she told her sister what happened. Miria’s father wanted her to get an abortion… but Miria refused. Miria was chased from home. 

Looking at a future with no more education and slim chances of finding work to support her child, Miria’s course for accomplishing her dreams in life was thrown off.

But then Miria’s aunt was able to help Miria get connected to our partner, Vivian, who runs Wakisa Ministries, a pregnancy center in Uganda. Through her connection to Wakisa, The Hope Venture was able to get funding for Miria to attend Agromax, a 6 month agricultural training program. There she was able to gain the knowledge and skills needed to practice agriculture on her own. This will hopefully provide a stable source of income or food for Miria as she begins her life as a mother.

Miria is incredibly excited about all that she has learned through the Agromax training program. There were a ton of practical agricultural techniques that she learned, such as managing a greenhouse and how to control the plants inside it, how to steam soil and the importance of steaming soil before using it in her greenhouse, mixing chemicals to use for spraying weeds, and so many more nuggets of knowledge. Miria knows the skills she has learned are crucial for taking steps towards achieving her dreams.

Like the hope of a new sprout emerging from soil, Miria also has dreams that have emerged from her experience at Agromax.

Miria dreams of getting a degree.

She dreams of getting a job, which would help her provide stability in the future.

She dreams of being a teacher for future trainees at Agromax, teaching them the agricultural techniques she has learned so that they can be set up for a stable future too.

She dreams of starting up a big farm using the skills she learned at Agromax.

She dreams of becoming an engineer for the irrigation systems to advance agriculture even further in her community. 

Miria also dreams of being a testimony in her community – a testimony of the hope that she now has after completing the Agromax program.

Up to this point, Miria already has practical steps to start reaching her dreams. We know by the time we see the sprout – the glimmer of hope – roots have already been growing down into the soil, establishing a firm foundation for the plant. Miria’s foundation has been set through her time at Agromax. Before long, the sprout will be producing fruit.

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

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Frederick

By Project Stories

How the sponsorship of one student lifts up many.

The financial pressure is fierce for families in Ewaso Ngiro, Kenya. Many families struggle to get enough funding for all their necessities. This often puts education on the back burner. This was certainly the case in Frederick’s story.

In order to attend school in Kenya, you have to be able to pay the fees required by the school each year. Prior to his student sponsorship, Frederick was being kicked out of school because he did not have enough money to pay the school fees. This was a struggle that lasted for three years. Frederick even had to repeat class six after not being able to pay the fees required to take final exams, which would have allowed him to progress to the next year of schooling.

In an attempt to raise money for his family and for his school fees, Frederick helped raise and sell cattle. Frederick looked after five cows in order to help support his mom and dad, as well as his five siblings. Raising cattle was one way Frederick could help ease some of the financial tension. However, the pressure to get enough money to cover all the needs of the family was crippling.

But then everything changed for Frederick when he got connected to our partner organization, Nasha, and received a high school sponsorship.

Frederick said it felt very good to know he was a recipient of a sponsorship, because he could now be in school– without the financial stress. Fully immersed in his education, Frederick was able to leave behind all the frustration and worry of being uneducated due to school fees.

Frederick enjoys attending school at Olkiriane where he is currently in Form 4 (or 12th grade), and about to graduate. Frederick’s favorite subjects are history and Christian religious education. Not only does Frederick enjoy his classes at school, but he enjoys playing on the school football team outside of class time.

In addition, the student sponsorship has also encouraged Frederick in his faith in God. Previously, Frederick attended church with his family, but he never felt like God was with him. Through the sponsorship, Frederick also had the opportunity to go to a camp for the students in the summer. At camp, Frederick was able to clearly see that God really is always with him and provides for him. Frederick was able to learn about Abraham in the Bible, his journey into the land of Canaan, and the faith it took for Abraham to move there. From this story, Frederick learned about faith and trust in God, and how stepping out in faith can lead to God using you in unimaginable ways. Frederick says that now, his faith in God is real and firm. 

After graduation, Frederick hopes to attend university so he can pursue his dream of studying medicine to become a doctor. This dream seems more within reach to Frederick now than ever, all thanks to his student sponsorship.

Frederick says The Hope Venture is helping people reach their goals. Frederick’s own life was drastically impacted by the student sponsorship through The Hope Venture. As younger students began to be sponsored at Frederick’s school, he was excited about encouraging them in their studies. Later on, the younger students passed their exams and were able to move forward in their schooling. The accomplishment of the younger students left Frederick feeling proud and optimistic, and he was excited to be able to see even more lives change.

The impact of a student sponsorship goes beyond just one child’s life. Like in Frederick’s story, one sponsorship through the partnership of Nasha and The Hope Venture can impact others far beyond the recipient of the sponsorship themselves. Families and other students are able to be encouraged, just like Frederick encouraged the younger students with their exams. Not all things in Frederick’s life are fixed after the student sponsorship, but with the hope Frederick has found and the financial burden of school fees lifted from his family’s shoulders, the future looks brighter for Frederick and his family.

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

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Jolyne

By Project Stories

Each step brings a piece of hope.

In the southwestern corner of Kenya is a little town called Oletukat. In fact, to call it a town might be a stretch. It is more like a group of scattered homes and shops along the bumpiest of dirt roads. Oletukat is home to a people group called the Maasai: a Kenyan tribe known for their bright shukas (cloaks), intricate jewelry, and livestock. These are people who depend on the land for their resources. Their homes are built from the dirt, their livestock graze on the grass, and many try to grow food to feed themselves. Yet, for Oletukat’s entire history, it has never had access to water.

For as long as people have lived here, they have walked five kilometers away to a river to gather water and carry it back to their homes one jerry can at a time. This water was all they had for bathing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and drinking. One can a day. And it was filthy. The river carries a heavy load of mud and other sediment, making it completely brown. Animals share the riverbank and their waste mixes into it. To make things even worse, the towns along the river dump their own waste into it upstream from Oletukat. Because of this, diseases like typhoid, dysentery, and cholera have run rampant in this community and the surrounding area. In fact, we have learned that nearly 6,000 people in this area faced the same situation. And this little region, with all its struggles, is home to a little girl named Jolyne.

Jolyne is the youngest of ten kids. She’s nine years old. Growing up, her mom would join the women of Oletukat and the surrounding area in the walk for water. Lining up by the dirty riverbank with her jerry can early in the morning, filling it with dirty water, putting it on her back, and carrying it back uphill five kilometers home. She would divvy out the five gallons she had for her and her family to drink. She’d use a little bit of it to cook with. Then they would have to choose whether to let some of the family bathe, or wash clothes. With ten older siblings, it’s likely Jolyne didn’t get much of the water. There was only enough for her to wash herself once a week. Letting the dirt just build up on her skin each day. This was life for her. And her future seemed to be the same story as her mother’s. The daily walk for water consumed life, and the hope of something different — school, a job, a new life — seemed impossible.

Then, in 2015, things started to change. This is when our partner organization, Nasha, decided to begin the effort to bring clean water to Oletukat — to kids like Jolyne — and we decided to join them. We knew from the start that bringing water would be a challenge. In fact, large organizations like World Vision had tried to drill wells here and no water was found. So through a group of African consultants, we began the process of building a pipeline. Trenches were dug, pipes were laid, and the water from the river was starting to get closer. A huge pump was installed and a water tank was built in the center of town, and for the first time, Jolyne’s mom could walk down the street for water. But it was still dirty. We wanted better for her. So we began the construction of a multi-stage filtration system. After breakdowns, photos by: Josh Petersen & Ezra Bram 4 8 4 9 delays, dump trucks tipping over in the mess of mud that fills the road after a rain, and thousands of hours of labor, the filtration system was up and running. And this summer, we got to see water flow. And to be honest with you all, it’s still not what we hoped it would be. We hoped to turn on the tap and get a nice bottle of Dasani out of it, and unfortunately, it’s not that.

The filtration hasn’t fully worked, but it is a step forward. It has made a huge difference in the lives of those who live in Oletukat, including Jolyne’s life.

Now her mom can walk down the street and get ten jerry cans of water for her family. They are drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing every day. When we met Jolyne, her skin was clean. She could feel beautiful. And although the water isn’t perfect, the health clinic in Oletukat told us that cases of typhoid, dysentery, and cholera have dropped drastically. Life is changing for the people of Oletukat.

Jolyne is now in class one at Eltomtom Primary School. Her future can look different. She won’t be spending her days walking to lug water back for her family. She can study and dream of a new world.

It can be easy to look at this project and be disappointed that the water is not perfect yet. But as a small organization, we have seen that every little step we take can make a big difference for people. For Jolyne, her life has been changed forever. We will keep fighting to make sure we do everything we can to perfect our projects, but we want you to know that every little step, each piece added to the puzzle, brings people another piece of hope. It changes the narrative one more time. So thank you to all of you who have believed in us and those we work with around the world. We want you to know we are going to continue to use the funds you generously give to keep taking more steps to chip away at the pain of oppression, poverty, and hopelessness. That’s the adventure we’re on.

To impact more people like Jolyne, donate to our Kenya Water Project today!

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