Written by Emma Burger
“We were most interested in meeting the children,” commented both Tony and Arlene der Kinderen, residents of Garden Spot Village since May 2018, about their trip to Kenya. Through this journey to Nairobi, Kenya, they were exposed to the amazing work that Missions of Hope International (MOHI) has been doing for the community.
MOHI is a Kenyan non-profit organization that was originally started by Wallace and Mary Kamau, a Kenyan couple. It was created to support underprivileged students, both financially and otherwise, to try and combat poverty in the area. While in Nairobi, Tony and Arlene both saw first-hand how MOHI operates by visiting the Pangani Center, a school run by MOHI, and witnessing the impact of the organization on the surrounding area. “There is such a sincere appreciation for what MOHI is doing,” says Arlene.
In Kenya, public school itself is free; however, the family is responsible for paying for the transportation and school uniforms for their child out of pocket. Unless you have money to pay for those items, you cannot receive an education. For this reason, MOHI’s work is extremely impactful to the community. They pay for all aspects of schooling for the children, including uniforms. Transportation is not an issue, due to the school being located within the community, so the students can walk to school. They also provide two meals a day, unlimited water for the family, and both dental and medical care for the student and their family. For the community, medical care is discounted so it can be affordable to everyone. “Only when we got there did we realize the full impact of what MOHI has been doing. They are an amazing organization,” remarks both Tony and Arlene.
The Marthare Valley, where the group visited in Nairobi, is a very impoverished area. Of the 800,000 people that live in the three square mile area, most people will make 190 Kenyan Shillings, or $1.50 per day. People either live in shacks or apartments, and must use outdoor plumbing and walk to get their water. “The extreme poverty was heartbreaking,” says Tony. So not only does MOHI support the students by providing an education for these students, but it also instills hope into the community for a better future. “This opportunity for school empowers these children and makes them feel heard. MOHI lets those students know that they can do it and they will help them to do it,” says Arlene.
Although both Tony and Arlene wish they had more time to spend with the kids and help them, they saw this trip as an opportunity to observe and to promote the mission of MOHI when they returned home. The funding for MOHI is 99 percent through sponsorship, so they wanted to spread the word of this fantastic organization so that if others wanted to help, they could sponsor a child. By 2030, MOHI hopes to have 100 schools, 100,000 sponsored students and 100 churches in partnership.