Hope for the Child Initiatives

We work with the poorest children from the Nyalenda and Manyatta slums in Kisumu, Kenya. Many times, pressure from their socio-economic situation, competes with their desire to go to school. We work closely with their caregivers and the community, to allow these children to come Arise N Shine Community Academy and gain the foundational learning they need to curb the cycle of poverty in their lives.

We bring them hope. 

Arise N’ Shine Community Academy

While we are raising funds to build the entire Mtoto Village (see ‘Project Mtoto’), the Arise N’ Shine Academy has been built as a temporary nursery school with three separate classrooms.  Students are able to come to school to get an education with a curriculum concurrent with the official school guidelines developed by the Kenyan government. The school has graduated over 600 students from K-2nd grade.

**Thanks to our generous donors we have recently raised enough money to provide the temporary school with a roof and the children with school uniforms. While the roof provides necessary shelter in time for the rainy season, the uniforms provide a sense of professionalism and belonging among the students allowing them to focus in on their studies.

Goshen Farm - Future site of Project Mtoto Village 

Mtoto, which means “child” in Swahili, is the name of one of our projects based out of Kisumu, Kenya. We have acquired a 1.7 acre piece of land where we will build a small village community. The Mtoto Village will be a home to 200+ orphaned children, and will be comprised of a school, library, water well, guest house, and recreational area. The site currently includes farming land with the goal of the farmland eventually becoming the main source of nutrition for the Village. The farmland is already being put to use, growing crops to help feed the children at our Arise N’ Shine Academy. With more funds, there is opportunity to purchase adjacent land which can serve as additional farming land as well as recreational space for the children.

Asembo Well

By Matt Ylvisaker

During my trip to Kenya, I had the opportunity to visit a remote village in the Asembo region of Western Kenya. This village is far away from the main roads and I was told that I was the first “white face” the children had ever seen. The villagers that live here are amongst the most impoverished people on the planet. They have been ravaged by famine and disease. HIV and other diseases have wiped out much of the population here.

The first thing I noticed while driving up to the village were many women and children fetching water from a small, dirty pond. This was during a time frame when children should be in school becoming educated which would one day propel them into a bright future filled with hope. Sadly, there were no schools and children as young as three years old were doing hard labor tasks so that their family could survive to see another day.

The villagers were very welcoming and surrounded me with great curiosity. Word traveled quickly about my arrival and I saw children coming towards me from all corners of the horizon. Not one of the children was without a smile. The homes were mostly small huts made out of mud and sticks. I was told that it rains “once in a blue moon” and that the farmers are having difficulty reaping a harvest.

I cannot even describe the water these people are forced to drink. No human being should drink such water. And when the water source dries up, the villagers have to walk about 20 miles round trip to fetch more dirty contaminated water. It was evident that they are in desperate need of a clean water well. Just the thought that an outsider was hearing their cries brought great joy to all! The opportunity for development in this village is astronomical! There has been little to no help provided to these people from the outside world. I was shown electrical poles that were installed in 2002, but not a soul returned to put the electricity in. I was shown a church that some missionaries started to build but did not have the resources to finish. As a result, the people have Sunday morning services in a half built structure with no roof.

I was devastated by the conditions I observed these people to be living in. My heart sank when I heard the stories of children that were lost by HIV and easily curable diseases. Most of all, I was crushed when learning about the children that have died from bacteria found in the contaminated water they are forced to drink to try to survive. Ironically, despite all of this, I felt a joy emanating from the children that I could never give justice with words.

As the children sang for me, I couldn’t contain my tears. What a beautiful experience! We sang, we laughed, we danced and we envisioned a future filled with hope and promise. I left the village determined to bring hope to my newfound friends.

The Asembo people do not ask for much. Merely a simple water well. With clean water, they will be able to prosper in other aspects of life. And you can be a part of this beautiful endeavor! With your investment in this region we can put an end to the suffering and the cycle of poverty and disease these people have been facing for years on end. We are starting with a water well project and hope you can help us support the people of Asembo by donating to this cause.

Destination Teach

In an effort to provide a stable source of funding and improve the quality of education at Arise N' Shine Academy, we will be hosting a teacher training opportunity for American pre-service teachers and any volunteer who is looking for ways to engage and teach children. Program participants will travel to Kisumu for 2 weeks to gain valuable classroom experience and cultural immersion. Through close collaboration with Arise N' Shine Academy teachers, visiting program participants will design lesson plans, administer lessons, conduct small-group remediation and develop strong reflective teaching practices. It is our hope that this additional assistance in the classroom will help our permanent teachers achieve better student outcomes. For more information, visit www.destinationteach.com