28 Jan Faces of Children of Hope: Joshua
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
For many around the world, the start of a new year represents a period of reflection, opportunity and space for greatness. For our kids in Kenya, January also marks the start of a new school year and for some, the start of a new chapter.
Since joining us in 2010, Joshua is now in grade 8 and is one of the newest high school candidates in the Kitalale home. He is currently in a place where his dreams and aspirations are taking shape and we couldn’t be more proud of him. Through letting go of his past, being resilient and allowing the love from the Aunties and Uncles in, Joshua has been able to get to a place where through his smile, you can tell he is genuinely happy.
In 2007, at two years of age, Joshua and his seven siblings’ life took a twist. Due to the unstable political climate and terror instilled by the rebel militia to the residents of Mt. Elgon in Western Kenya between 2006 and 2009, they, unfortunately, lost their father. Shortly after, they lost their mother to Malaria and were left orphaned. The eight siblings were then 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.
Trusting the kindness and generosity of the world, Joshua and his sister encountered a woman who put a roof over their head and took care of them in the best capacity that she could, considering she had a large family of her own. After about a year, the woman heard through her local pastor about Children of Hope, an organization that could help her and the kids be in a safer space. After getting in touch, it was decided that Joshua would be joining the Children of Hope family and his sister would join the local pastor’s family. When Joshua joined the Kitalale home, he was malnourished, shy and had built a wall around himself for protection.
A Story of Resilience
Due to his rough upbringing and lack of healthy attachment to a paternal or maternal figure from a young age, Joshua developed certain coping mechanisms to protect himself from the outside world. These behaviors led him to become aggressive towards others and have little to no care about his surroundings. For about six years, Joshua disregarded his academic growth and struggled to connect with the other kids at home and in school.
Whenever Joshua pushed himself away from any of our Aunties, Uncles, school teachers and pastors, they responded by loving him even harder and letting him know that he was appreciated, seen and understood. With patience, prayer and using positive reinforcement to help correct some of the aggressive behavior, Joshua started opening up and letting us in. The shift in his behavior manifested greatly with an incredible improvement in his academic performance and care for others. Because of such drastic change, Joshua’s school recognized and awarded him the most improved student award in April 2019. The staff at home and teachers were incredibly proud of him.
Growing Up in Kitalale
With excellent grades in science and mathematics, Joshua has expressed a desire to become an engineer when he grows up. Seeing his very own potential and ability to excel, he is now in control of his life and his emotions. His determination can sometimes go a bit far when it comes to friendly group competitions or activities where his desire for winning can lead him to trick others and try to claim victory. This same level of persistence can be seen in his favorite hobby where Joshua will disassemble things, analyze them, and then work until it is put back together. His drive for success will not stop until he gets what he sets his focus on, which is why he is often seen hanging around Robert, our driver whenever he is changing a tire or fixing something in one of our vehicles. This level of analysis and attention is what leads us to see his real interest in becoming an engineer.
In the home, Joshua is typically seen with Blessing Kipyego who is the same age as him and they are also classmates. Together, they love ‘fixing things’ and are fascinated by mobile phones, computers, cameras and other electronics. They also enjoy making planes and trains and finding ways to make them more efficient and better.
When Joshua became part of the Kitalale home, he was a mischievous kid who used to give the Aunties a hard time. Today, he is a smart, dedicated young boy who’s big smile tells a story of love and resilience. Our Aunties and Uncles care deeply about the wellbeing of our children and thanks to your support, we are able to bring together the best team possible to give all of the necessary love to our kids. To support us throughout 2020, we encourage you to make a gift towards our general fund.