Success most of the time in our world is defined by wealth, power, or fame. At New Hope Initiative we define success with a completely different standard of measurement. In the work we do with the materially disadvantaged around the world our goal is for them to grow into productive self-sufficient adults. This process involves education, mentoring, spiritual development, and practical career awareness. Elizabeth was one of our student at our New Hope Academy in Kibera. She was one of the very first of our students to be sponsored to secondary school through Kibera Penda Project. She excelled at Langata High School and earned a continuing education scholarship to college. We have literally watched her grow up. Elizabeth recently got a job as a chef at a local hospital which will allow her to support her family and put her on the road to a productive adult life. We are so happy for Elizabeth and the part NHI had in her development. That is how we define success at New Hope Initiative.
I am back in Sierra Leone and loving every minute of it.
Our welcome at the home was amazing as usually. The kids all ran to us shouting their greetings and hugging us. Even the new team members were greeted that way. After the introductions the kids sang a welcome song to us. As it seems to be the norm, I got choked up and my eyes welled up a bit. I tried to maintain a straight face, but I think some of the kids saw it. The children are not just kids I know; they have become part of me. I may not remember all of their names, but each one has affected me more than you will ever know. That night I asked two young men on the team their first impressions at the home. The answer was “Excitement! The kids are so happy to see us and genuinely greeted us out of love.” My response to that was that the children know what they will bring to the table this week. That does not mean material goods, but rather true love displayed and expressed to all the children. Each team I have brought in the past has set that precedent. Christ is the center of this entire project. We are but His hands and feet. The eight of us are blessed to be here for the next week serving our Lord and savior and serving the amazing children and staff of our New Hope Initiative Orphanage in Sierra Leone.
Each year, the eighth grade students at New Hope Academy (NHA) anxiously await the results of the “Kenya Certificate of Primary Education” (KCPE) tests. In Kenya, the government provides an education only through eighth grade. If a student wishes to continue to Secondary School (what we would call High School), s/he must finance his/her own education. Virtually all the students from NHA can’t afford the school fees and other expenses associated with Secondary School. That is where Kibera Penda Project (KPP) comes in. KPP works to find sponsors in the U.S. to pay the school fees for qualifying NHA students. To be accepted into the KPP program, students must meet certain criteria. For girls, a KCPE score of 250 to 275 qualifies her to attend day school. A score above 275 qualifies her for Boarding School. For boys, a KCPE score between 275 and 300 qualifies him for day school and a score above 300 qualifies him for boarding school. Because boarding school offers the opportunity for a student to escape from the poverty of the Kibera slum, the students (and their parents/guardians) hope for a boarding school opportunity.
The day school to which KPP sends qualifying students is Olympic School on the outskirts of the Kibera slum. Students walk to and from school each day. The boarding schools are located in the town of Masinga (about three hours from Nairobi) – Masinga Boys and Masinga Girls Schools.
KPP currently has 133 students in the program. Thirty-six students are in “Form 1” (what we would call 9th grade), thirty-three students are in “Form 2” (10th grade), forty students in “Form 3” (11th grade) and twenty-four in Form 4 (12th grade). Forty-eight students attend day school; forty-seven are at Masinga Girls School and thirty-eight in Masinga Boys School.
Forty-one students still need sponsors. For only $360 per year (or $30 per month), a person can sponsor a student in day school. Only $600 per year (or $50 per month) sponsors a student in boarding school. We strive to facilitate communications between a student and his/her sponsor. When we visit our students, we ask them to write their sponsors a letter and we often carry letters and pictures from our sponsors to their students. Sponsors especially enjoy meeting their students in person if the sponsor joins NHI on one of its many mission trips to the Kibera slum.
So far, KPP has seen sixteen of its sponsored students go on to college. We are very proud of our students for working so hard to break the cycle of poverty. If you find called to do so, we would love to add you to our KPP family.
To God’s glory New Hope Initiative’s Children’s Home in Sierra Leone is meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the children residing there. Amazingly, the overflowing love of Christ is spreading beyond the confines of the home. Ultimately the goal of both Pastor Rogers and NHI is to declare and demonstrate Christ’s love to the surrounding communities and the children’s home is a pivotal piece to the overall evangelical plan.
I have personally witnessed how the love within the children’s home is overflowing into the community and region. The children attend a Christian school run by Pastor Rogers’ church, which allows poverty stricken children to attend. The dedication of the teachers and the success of the students within the school have drawn non-Christian families to the school where Christ and the bible are taught. Many of the children have given their lives to Christ and now attend church regularly.
The church is also growing physically. Each trip I can see how the walls of the building have been moved and the building expanded. The growth of the church body also means larger offerings, some of which goes towards supporting missionaries to plant more churches. In 2003 Pastor Rogers began his church with only a handful of believers. Today he is happy to report 12 churches have been planted from his church and he has no intentions of stopping! He has only reached 6 of 11 chiefdoms in his region and he is dedicated to seeing at least one church in each of these chiefdoms.
The people in the region have come to see the home as a beacon of light in an otherwise dark existence. The children’s home has made a name for itself as a place of love and compassion run by a man of God that is honest and full of integrity. The financial support NHI provides for the home aids not only the children’s home but also these ministries in reaching the people. May God continue to bless Pastor Rogers, the children in the home, and the people of Sierra Leone.
Our newest project in Jalapa is set to open soon. Our brand new school and church facility in this needy, forgotten corner of Nicaragua is moving towards a grand opening and full operation later in 2016. The new church is already using the facility weekly and after some additional government mandated updates to the buildings we will begin outfitting classrooms and registering students this summer for the next school year. We already have 4 teams scheduled to be in Jalapa this year to specifically assist in the formative stages of the school as well as assisting the new church with outreach into this community. We are so excited about our first work in Latin America and excited for the great results that we will see in the years and decades to come.