Gift of H.O.P.E.
Helping Orphans by Providing Essentials
The Gift of HOPE (Helping Orphans by Providing Essentials) raises funds to support community-based programming in Meru, Kenya that provides life's essentials to vulnerable Kenyan children in six main areas: health (including HIV and AIDS treatments), shelter, nutrition, education, safety, and personal support.
A $200 gift ensures school fee payment, uniform purchase, nutritional assistance and/or other needed support. Not an orphanage, this program based in the Kaaga Synod of the Methodist Church of Kenya ensures each child gets individualized care and support. Reaching out to all children in the community who are vulnerable, an effort is made to connect children with relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other guardians. Regular programs under the supervision of Ms. Jennifer Murithi ensure assistance to over 261 orphans.
This program knows 1,300 AIDS orphans by name, and many organizations support them annually. The Center for Health and Hope has been able to help about 261 of these children, thanks to its generous donors. Every $200 helps one of these children for an entire year. Several children have now finished their basic education and have received training beyond the secondary level. The program has been cited by various visitors, including representatives of the World Council of Churches, as a model for church ministry in the community that is stigma-free and open to all.
The Kaaga Synod of the Methodist Church of Kenya, under the leadership of Bishop Catherine Mutua, has a director of AIDS ministry and countless volunteers in over 20 settings. The project in Kenya is periodically visited by the Executive Director, Board members or other donors related to the Center for Health and Hope. Center representatives meet with staff and volunteers, as well as examine the financial books. Accountability and transparency are fundamental to the business operation. Caring and compassion, along with the best practices in HIV outreach, are emphasized by the Synod.
Not Even a Toothbrush
Caring for AIDS orphans in Kenya
by Donald E. Messer, Executive Director
Thirteen years ago, in 2006, I traveled to rural Kenya to see how I could best mobilize help to deal with the AIDS pandemic devastating sub-Sahara Africa. At that point, no anti-retroviral medicines were available and people in and people in Kenya were dying at an outrageous rate. In a small support group of impoverished women, I remember an HIV-positive mother saying, "My husband died from AIDS and my daughter has a learning disability. She needs help, but I'm too poor to even buy her a toothbrush."