Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Will You Give Hope to a Child Living in Poverty?

I remember the first time I read the above quotation from the writer, Eli Khamarov. In my work with the Missionaries of Africa, poverty — among men, women and children living throughout the African continent — is a subject that I ponder nearly every day. I think about how it can tear down individuals as well as families. I consider how it devastates lives. And from my interaction with countless missionaries who write to me on a regular basis — I know the impact it has from one generation to the next.


“Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit."

Eli Khamarov

I remember the first time I read the above quotation from the writer, Eli Khamarov. In my work with the Missionaries of Africa, poverty — among men, women and children living throughout the African continent — is a subject that I ponder nearly every day. I think about how it can tear down individuals as well as families. I consider how it devastates lives. And from my interaction with countless missionaries who write to me on a regular basis — I know the impact it has from one generation to the next.

But after reading the quote I shared with you, I truly believe that it can also be like a prison, trapping innocent victims in a life-cycle from which they often never escape. That image particularly came to mind when I read about the children living in the Mukuru slums — just outside of Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi.

The Mukuru slums are one of the largest settlements of abject poverty in the world. Documentaries have been made about the community. Books have been written describing the lives of those who are trapped in its grip, with little hope of ever breaking free of being so desperately poor. For most of us living in the United States, we can hardly imagine what it is like for those who wake up each and every day to a life that offers little or no hope.

Nevertheless — despite the poverty that is so oppressing — those who live in Mukuru do find hope . . . hope in knowing that there are people standing with them to make life better.

“There are more than 400,000 people living in the Mukuru slums,” explains Sebastian Muroki. Sebastian is the coordinator for St. Marian Children’s Center located adjacent to the community. St. Marian Children’s Center is under the guidance of Nairobi’s Catholic Bishop David Kamau as well as a board of other overseers and advisors. The center provides care for children who have been abused — as well as those who have been forced into child labor, victimized by human trafficking, domestic violence, and even those who have become orphans.

Any child between the ages of five and fifteen years old who is in need can be admitted to the center.

“We try to provide the boys and girls with as much of a home-like environment as possible,” Sebastian goes on to explain.

“Here, not only do they have accommodations and food, but we also give them clothing, medical care, counseling, and even life-skills training. We also pay their fees for education. We even visit their schools to see how they are performing academically.”

“Our hope,” Sebastian continues, “is that you can help us with the material items we need in our day-to-day work with and caring for our children. Besides the obvious need for food and clothing, there is a continual need for bedding, linens, towels, toiletries, medical care, educational fees and supplies.”

After reading Sebastian’s letter, I once again considered the quote I shared with you at the beginning of my letter and how unfair a life of poverty can be — especially for children. I also thought about some of the ways you and I can work to help those in need in our own communities.

One of the things you can do is to organize new and gently-used clothes drives to be distributed to needy families in your community. You can also make regular donations to your community food pantries and emergency food banks. Did you know that here in the U.S., millions of children go to bed hungry every night!

Everyone benefits when no one in our community is suffering.

You can also send a donation to help us toward the $35,000 we need to raise for St. Marian Children’s Center and the other projects providing outreach to children throughout East Africa. Please know that whether y our donation is $30, $50, $100 or some other amount, your kindness continues to provide hope for those who are suffering from the injustice of poverty. God bless you for caring!

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle

Director of Development