Matthew & Shany have been working in Kenya since 2011. Over the past 4 + years they have been building relationships and working alongside locals to learn how to better serve them. On a trip in 2014 they saw the necessity and hunger for education in one of the villages they work in. There are government schools in this region, but the quality of education is not liked by many of the locals.
While there Shany asked a child, what is one thing you desire to see in your village. The child responded a school. Shortly after Hope Academy in Kenya began.
Hope Academy is located in Western Kenya, Bungoma County which is on a mountain bordering Uganda. Having a school on the mountain (known as Mt. Elgon) is very challenging due to the distance and the lack of water and electricity. Our children walk anywhere between 1 and 3 miles per day, many without shoes, breakfast, lunch or proper clothing.
To try to help put things in perspective, the culture here is very different from the culture in America. It is very common to see young girls, five or six years old taking care of their little siblings. I’m talking about carrying them on their backs while they look for sticks, branches or anything else to help start the fire for dinner. They also have to carry the water. You will see young children typically girls going to the stream to fill 1 to 3 liter jugs of water and carrying them on their heads to help out with the daily necessities. Life in Kenya is very challenging. Most are living day by day just to survive.
Our vision is to help bring Hope to a Generation who has the potential to change the Nation. We started the school and we have been getting by and doing the best we can with what we have. We rent a mud structure where the children learn daily. They encounter many obstacles, like sharing a small room for 90 students, walking far distances with no food, or being sick, not being able to get medicine and many other challenges. Just this past summer we were able to buy a class set of books, which really helped the children. Prior to that they had no books, no syllabus, or anything like that. We were able to buy pencils, note pads, chalk, erasers and some other necessary tools that they never had before! They didn’t know how to use a crayon or a sharpener! The children in Kenya love to learn. I’ve never seen children this passionate and eager to learn. They know with no education they will remain in the conditions their families are in. We love going and helping them to see beyond their current circumstances. We help them to expand their vision and to dream so they can find out what they have been created to do and find their purpose. And when they find their purpose they will have Hope to fulfill their purpose and live a life that differs from their current situation.