*Special note: all pictures are shared with permission from kids and caregivers. Nothing is shared without strict permission!
If you’ve been around this blog any length of time, you know that a huge piece of my heart resides in Kenya. I took my first trip to Kenya back in 2011 and have since returned four times and each time, my love for the country and the people grows exponentially. I have developed deep, meaningful friendships and relationships there and every time I return it’s a joy being reunited with old friends.
When I went to Kenya back in 2017, I was able to tour a child development center – a Compassion project – in Kariobangi which is right by the Dandora Dump. That really began to solidify my love, respect, and belief in Compassion International as an organization.
When I knew I was going back to Kenya this time around, I actually reached out to my friends at Compassion to see if I could arrange a meeting with my sponsored child! My family and I have sponsored Edwin for a little over four years and I was really hoping I would get to meet him. Well, Compassion immediately said “YES!” and arranged an entire day at Edwin’s project, a tour of the facility, a home visit, and even a dinner with two recent alumni of Compassion International (more on that to come!).
Two of my friends, Meghan and Pam, were also joining me on this part of the trip (since we were together in Kenya working on a few other things and they both sponsor children through Compassion as well.
I’m actually going to share more about my time meeting Edwin in a separate post, but let me just say, that meeting Edwin was one of the most special experiences. After four years of writing back and forth, getting to meet him, his family, his friends, his teachers, etc. was just such a joy. Let me tell you… he is an INCREDIBLE kid and he has an absolutely incredible mom who I immediately connected with. I’m so proud of him!
After having our initial meeting and sharing a meal together, we had the opportunity to tour the child development center where Edwin attends.
It was a beautiful center and they had such adorable paintings and artwork all around it!
One of my favorite parts of the tour was seeing the skills training area. This is a part of the work of Compassion I don’t think gets talked about enough… in each center there is obviously education and discipleship and shared meals… but many of the centers also have opportunities for skills training for caretakers AND kids in things like sewing, bead work, and cooking. The training even begins with kids as young as 10 or 11… this equips them to be able to learn and grow and gain skills that then they can take into their communities to start businesses and provide for their families. This is so huge! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, jobs end poverty. And in Kenya, a lot of times people simply just don’t have the skills needed to be able to be employable. Compassion is really creating this wholistic, wrap around approach in order to truly chip away at generational poverty.
This is one of the amazing staff members of the Compassion child development center. She really runs the show and is also key in organizing all the correspondence between beneficiaries (the kiddos) and their sponsors.
After lunch the kids also wanted to run around and play! Many Compassion projects do not have a playground but this one did! It was so fun to see the kids rolling the tire (one of their favorite games), jumping, climbing, and sliding. Just kids being awesome kids.
Lastly, one of the best moments of the day was I got to meet and photograph 24 of 41 AMAZING kids in this child development center who are currently unsponsored. Each one of them was such a joy to meet and learn more about their likes, see their personalities, learn what they want to be when they grow up, etc.
Each child ranges in age from 3-17 years old! Speaking of which, I had the pleasure of meeting three teenagers, James, James, and Anastacia who have all recently lost their sponsors and are looking for new sponsors! Consider sponsoring a teenager!
This truly is a partnership. Your sponsorship REALLY makes a difference in the lives of these kids. I promise you. I have met countless alumni of Compassion International who share how their relationship with their Compassion sponsor had a lifelong impact on them. How in some cases, their sponsor was the only person to ever tell them they were loved and cherished. These kids not only receive basic needs like food, clothing, education, etc., but also spiritual, mental, and emotional needs as well like love and care.
(And, if I’m even dreaming big… HUGE here, how amazing would it be if we could all take a trip together to Kenya some day to meet the kiddos and their families? Since they’re all in the same project, I mean… let’s dream BIG and prayerfully make this happen!)
Here are some of the pictures I was able to take of these incredible kids… aren’t their smiles amazing?
Sponsor a child like Ann who is the ultimate girly girl and loves to twirl:
Or Peter who LOVES all things cars and motorsports!
There are 39 other kids like Ann and Peter who need YOU to be their sponsor!! If you have a question about any of the amazing children, please let me know – I would love to help match you with an incredible child to sponsor in Kenya today!