11 Sep Faces of Children of Hope: The First Five
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold with my righteous right hand.
When we decided to open a children’s home in Kitalale 10 years ago, we knew we wanted to do it right. Ever since we purchased the land, created the architectural designs, and began construction, we knew exactly what we wanted. We envisioned a place with access to safe water, electricity as well as a supportive family filled with love and faith. With this vision in mind, we went on to build a modern space that has contributed to the health and well-being of our children and staff for the past decade.
On December 1st, 2010, we welcomed “The First Five” kids—Joshua, Kevin, Terah, Ivy and Blessing—into our brand new home. Those first few days were just as memorable for our Aunties and Uncles, as they learned how to navigate this new experience right along with the kids. In the beginning, we were intentional in limiting our space to just five kids, as we wanted to ensure we had a strong foundation. With a small number of kids in the home, we all bonded quickly, and soon our new home was filled with laughter, activities, and games. Being in a similar age bracket, the five kids bonded with each other in no time and started treating each other like real siblings.
Joshua came into our care at just 3 years of age after losing his mother to Malaria and his father to the militia. After being orphaned, Joshua and his siblings were left under the care of their stepmother, who mistreated them until the day that young Joshua and his 10-year-old sister ran away in hopes of a better future. To their fortune, the two siblings encountered a woman who brought Joshua to the authorities, and then to us.
When Joshua first joined our family, he was defensive and had built emotional walls to protect himself from the pain and trauma he had already experienced in his short life. It took us approximately six years to turn Joshua’s behavior around, but today he is a smart young man with a strong drive and a dream of becoming an engineer. Now 13, Joshua is in his final year of primary school where he excels in math and sciences. There’s no doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him. As the first kid that our Aunties and Uncles were able to “see flourish”, Joshua truly set the bar for what can be achieved with love and patience.
After the passing of his parents due to HIV-AIDS, Kevin—then only 4-years old—was taken in by his grandmother. Unfortunately, she suffered from a stroke shortly after and was unable to keep caring for him. Having heard that we were about to open our doors, the children’s department asked us if we would be able to take Kevin as one of our first kids. Despite losing his parents at a tender age, Kevin has persevered, and is now a thriving, promising young man with a big heart.
Kevin is a great influence to his peers and encourages others to be active and creative. In the past few months, Kevin has become excellent at making mats (rugs) and helping teach others the technique. As an athlete, Kevin is a talented soccer player and swimmer (although it took a bit of convincing for him to get in the pool for the first time!)
Meet Terah & Ivene (Ivy)
Around the time we opened the doors to our Kitalale home in 2010, the local militia had been terrorizing the residents of Mt. Elgon. The ensuing violence left behind a lot of orphaned children with nowhere to go. Terah (6 years) and Ivy (3) are siblings who lost their parents to the militia violence. They were left in the care of the local pastor, but with a family of his own and poverty in the village at its peak, he could no longer provide for the siblings on top of his own family. Shortly after, Terah and Ivy joined our new family.
Throughout the years, Terah has overcome all the obstacles that have crossed his path. Now 16-years old, he is a gifted soccer player. This incredible skill landed him a highly competitive spot in one of the best High Schools in Kenya, which has helped him develop his soccer skills while also receiving an incredible education. With a humble heart, he coaches the younger kids in the home and plays with them whenever he can.
Ivy is a quiet girl who enjoys quality time with the other girls and the Aunties. She is one of the most dependable and generous children at the home, which is why we can see her thriving in the hospitality industry or as a nurse. Ivy is really close to Viola, since they are in the same class at school. They both have a good sense of fashion and have been doing a lot of beadwork during covid quarantine. Just like her brother, Ivy is really good at playing soccer and will always challenge the boys to a match.
Blessing was born near Mt. Elgon during the tribal wars and when the militia’s influence was at its peak. Due to the violence in the area, Blessing was abandoned in the bushes when he was just two days old when his family had to flee from the militia. Thankfully, Blessing was picked up by a good samaritan who took him in and helped provide for him. However, with a family of her own to care for, she ultimately decided to relinquish custody to the Children’s Department, who placed him with us when we opened our doors. Despite his rough childhood, Blessing has always had a positive outlook in life, and is the epitome of joy. He is an incredibly fun, sarcastic, and a big hearted individual. Despite their differing personalities, Blessing and Joshua have developed a really close relationship. Opposites really do attract, and they complement each other well. While Joshua is the technical guy who excels in math and sciences, Blessing is the creative optimist who always did well in social studies. In fact, they were so inseparable that their teachers eventually split them into different classrooms just so they could develop new friendships and connections outside the home.
Currently in class 8, Blessing dreams of becoming a media personality or entrepreneur. During these past few months, he has been practicing his business skills by selling bracelets he makes for staff members. He invests his earnings into buying chickens; the start of his next business venture. He is ahead of the rest when it comes to business acumen, and it’s always fun to see what new ideas he comes up with.
As we look back, “The First Five” truly were the perfect character combinations to prepare our new staff for what was to come. Where Blessing was incredibly outgoing from the start—telling jokes and making everyone laugh all the time—Joshua was a loveable troublemaker who needed close attention at all times. Meanwhile,Kevin, Terah, and Ivy have always been polite, laid back, and cooperative.
10 years and 48 kids later, we are incredibly grateful for the incredible team of people and supporters — from those who have been with us from the very beginning to those who have joined us along the way. It is thanks to your contributions and prayers that we’ve been able to grow our family and live our mission. Today, there are 12 kids in our Kitalale home who are in need of sponsorship. If you or a friend are interested in sponsoring one of these promising children, please click the button below and place a note in the comment section saying “Kitalale Child Sponsorship”.