This is what pure joy looks like. Michelle is a little "Live and Learn in Kenya Int'l Kid" living in the slums of Nakuru, Kenya. Her sponsor paid for Christmas presents - food and the dress she is wearing in the photo. Sometimes a little can go a VERY long way. Little Michelle will NEVER forget today - and neither will her sponsor after receiving this photo.
Knowing that the funds that you donate are truly going to the children on the Live and Learn in Kenya International program is what makes sponsors care even more. It is important for us to take photos and send them along with letters of appreciation to the sponsors and donors. People need to see for themselves what their donations are doing. Whether it is paying for a child's education - uniforms, shoes, learning materials, and free meals - or those "little" extras that make a child's life even more special - just like childhood is supposed to be... special and memorable. That special storybook, a toy car, doll, Sunday best shoes, and a dress or shirt and pants - that's not just feeding a hungry child or providing education - it's gifting a child with a smile that will keep them warm and happy even when times get bad and tummies begin to grumble - because they are given hope for the future and the knowledge that there are people out there who care even if they don't know you personally and most likely never will.
So it doesn't matter if you are sponsoring a certain child or not. The warm feeling of knowing that you are bringing a smile of happiness to a needy child is enough to keep you smiling for a while yourself!
Happy New Year 2021 - may it be a year filled with warm SMILES!
What does it take to save a life - change a life - give a desolate child the hope for a life away from poverty and shame?
Sad but true - money makes the world go around!Without it we can't help children out of the slums and into a better life.
Live and Learn in Kenya International is in its 20th year of changing lives and have seen the poorest and most desolate children who would never have had the chance to go to school, let alone go to vocational training college or university rise above and break out of the evil circle of poverty through education.
Living in the slums of Nakuru, Kenya, most parents did not want to see their children having to copy their own way of living - living from hand to mouth - worrying about the next meal or if they would even have a roof over their heads the next day.
For this reason, hundreds of children were brought to the Live and Learn in Kenya International office to be registered into the organization's education project over the years. Hundreds of children have been able to go to school - even to our very own high-quality school - for free.
Not only is education provided to the children and youths - but also everything that they need for school: uniforms, shoes, learning materials, free and wholesome meals, health and dental care, outings, and other extra-curricular activities.
SPONSOR A CHILD AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE IN FOR A CHILD - AND HER / HIS CHILDREN AND CHILDREN'S CHILDREN. Knowledge is passed on and on...
Four hundred and ninety-one children have hope where there was none before! What does sponsorship at Live and Learn in Kenya International mean in the lives of these hundreds of children? It means that they are now able to go to school wearing their mandatory uniforms and shoes, having textbooks and school supplies for all of their classes and courses, having at least one warm and nutritious meal a day - six days a week, being able to go to the Live and Learn in Kenya Education Center library that opens up a world of books and information, taking part in sports, educational and musical competitions - and having a chance to win because they have been trained and tutored, enjoying games and playing in a beautiful and safe playground and environment, having trained professionals - social workers and teachers - to go to with problems and successes, college students even having their own laptops - and nobody worrying about paying school fees and being turned away from schools, colleges or universities because of lack of funding. Being a Live and Learn in Kenya Kid means enjoying childhood and youth just like children all over the world should be able to - carefree and dreaming of a bright future as long as you work hard for it. Some people say that this is all just a drop in a bucket - but we at Live and Learn in Kenya International say "If he or she were your kid, they wouldn't be a drop in a bucket - they'd be your love and your life". That's what these children and youths are to us - love and life and drops that will join into a sea of a future for themselves and their families - and their country. People coming from the bottom rows of poverty and rising up are the people who will lead with integrity and understanding in the future- whether it is within their own future families, businesses, schools as teachers - or who knows - maybe a future president leading Kenya to a better place for everyone!
Be a sponsor and make a difference in the world of a child who has all of the possibilities to be all that he/she can be. You'll enjoy the photos and letters from the children - and the knowledge that you are the person changing a life for the better!
From the four hundred and ninety-one children on the Live and Learn in Kenya International program, only six of them still need a sponsor.
The coronavirus is taking its toll all over the world. A friend of mine commented that we aren't stuck in our houses - we are safe in our homes. And that is so very true. We can complain about toilet paper and bananas and having to sit around at home not knowing what to do with ourselves all day long after binge-watching some silly TV series or playing the same video games for hours on end and searching the internet for something else to buy to pass the hours. But at the end of the day, we are virtually safe with our disinfecting medical soaps and gels, rubber gloves and masks to protect us when we sneak out into the big outdoors to go grocery shopping or walk the dog. We are protected everywhere we go because there are rules and even laws that make us keep our 6 feet away from each other "better 6 feet away than 6 feet down". Of course, the sickness and the deaths that we read and hear about - and the pain of the loss of friends and loved ones is excruciating. It's a difficult time all over the world.
But sitting in our homes knowing that if we were to become ill we would have medical care is a safety net that is not there for millions of people all over the world. The poverty-stricken living in crowded slums do not have this safety net. Most likely their governments are more interested in saving the rich and sometimes even literally beating the poor into their shacks and huts to keep them off the streets and spreading the virus.
This is where organizations like Live and Learn in Kenya International come in to help in all ways possible. The children on the Live and Learn in Kenya International project - based in Nakuru, Kenya - are no longer able to attend school. The schools have been shut down for weeks already. No school means no school breakfasts or lunches. Parents and guardians have lost their jobs - albeit low-paying jobs - at least they were able to earn 2 or 3 dollars a day. Now they have no income at all!
We cannot distribute food because the parents cannot come to the Live and Learn in Kenya Education Center for it - and we are not able to buy food in bulk as we usually do. Mind-boggling problems and sleepless nights - just imagining how the children and their families are stuck in their shacks and huts - hungry and thirsty and unprotected from the surge of the virus.
It took us a couple of weeks - but we have found a way to assist the parents and guardians of our 480 children. Sponsors and generous individuals have answered our first pleas for donations so that we are able to send money to the Live and Learn in Kenya Int'l office in Nakuru - and it will be distributed via MPESA to all of the LLK families. What a relief.
But we've only just begun. We need to transfer funds to all of the families on a monthly basis as long as the pandemic continues to ruin the existence of the families and our Live and Learn in Kenya children.
Nineteen years ago - when those little nursery school-aged children were brought to the LIve and Learn in Kenya office by parents or guardians nobody would have imagined that the skinny, hungry and raggedly dressed children would be wearing caps and gowns and being handed over their well-earned diplomas at renowned Kenyan universities!
These four university students from our project graduated! The lovely and very intelligent Luciana graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree in Christian Religious Education and Kiswahili. James graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. Titus graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree in Mathematics and Chemistry and Erick graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. We are so proud of all of them. At the moment there are 12 LLK students at various Kenyan universities. One of them will be graduating in April 2020.
Of course not all of Live and Learn in Kenya International's children are able to go on to university. We are able to give all of the children the possibility to be all that they can be - no matter what that may be! Hundreds of our project's children have gone on to colleges and vocational training and are learning to be their dream - or have already dreamt their dream and made it a reality... Sometimes a young woman just wants to be married and have children of her own - and that's all right too. But they will have a better understanding of what education means because they can read and write and give their own children the same possibilities.
This is what sponsorship means - receiving everything to be all that you can be - and then passing it forward to others and to future generations.
Who is making it all possible? YOU!
We atLive and Learn in Kenya wish all of you a bright, loving, healthy and peaceful 2020!
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