“… I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people…”
The high school entrance exams for 8th grade pupils were announced at the end of November. That is the time when the naturally upbeat Christmas spirit took a downward turn for orphans, poor children and their guardians. Even worse than not passing the test is excelling, but then not being able to go on to attend the next level due to the lack of the annual $600 tuition.
My worry, when I was young, was that my family might not have Chapati, a wheat flatbread that poor people had once a year — on Christmas Day. We never had it in 1966, so that year Christmas didn’t happen. That was before AIDS/HIV and abject poverty relegated millions of children and families to subhuman living conditions.
The Christmas Chapati is a dream beyond their imagination. Many of the vulnerable children sponsored by Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope (CHHH) taste soda for the first time in their life when they join Caring Hearts High School. Soda was also one of the treats available in the Christmases of my youth.
For years, I had heard of the devastating impacts of AIDS/HIV in Kenya and the rest of Africa. But the miserable conditions of orphans and other vulnerable children became a reality shortly after the Christmas of 2010, when I visited Kenya. I saw a head teacher cry as he showed me the results of two girls, both 15, who had passed their exams, for the second time, but had no chance of joining high school. The solution was for them to repeat 8th grade, grow tall and get married.
A few days later, there was a headline that would wreck my heart and thrust me to questioning God on the purpose of life. It was, “Woman takes own life over fees hitch.” “Mother of six was unable to raise cash for one child,” was the tagline. Her eldest child, a girl, had passed the exams, admitted to Form One (high school freshman class), but the single mother couldn’t even raise the less than $200 that was required on the reporting day. You can only imagine the depths of her despair. Six children instantly became orphans a few days after Christmas.
I founded Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, a 501(c)3 (EIN 27-3127770), shortly thereafter to raise high school tuition and fees for poverty-stricken children in Kenya. While only eternity will reveal the life-saving and transformational impact of the kindness and generosity of sponsors, more than 750 vulnerable children have been given an opportunity to join high school. Currently CHHH is sponsoring about 240 students in high school and 60 in university/college.
There is more than just having a needy child in school. Donors protect children from possible child labor, forced early marriage, prostitution or crime. Donors give hope and in the process save lives — another desperate parent doesn’t have to contemplate or commit suicide.
In January 2018, 40 girls and 20-30 boys will be in need of sponsorship ($600/year) that includes three nutritious meals each day, quality education, uniforms and books, and boarding facilities. At Caring Hearts High School we will be starting vocational training such as sewing and home science to provide the girls with education and practical skills, especially for those unable to join universities, thus breaking the circle of poverty and being able to provide decent Christmases to their own families.
As I stated several years ago, “To a hopeless child or a widow who doesn’t know how she can pay her child’s high school tuition, you can, ‘bring’ them ‘good news that will cause great joy for’ them when you share your blessing by transforming the life of a vulnerable child.”
To help, please mail your contribution to Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope. One hundred percent of your contribution is used for the purpose it’s donated.
Vincent Muli Kituku is an author and speaker for business organizations, schools and Christian groups. He is the founder of Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope and Caring Hearts High School, a boarding school for vulnerable girls in Kenya. Contact him at (208) 376-8724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Idaho Statesman’s weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.
Want to help?
To help, please mail your contribution to Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, P.O. Box 7152, Boise, Idaho 83707, or donate online at www.caringheartsandhandsofhope.org.