When an Orphan Comes to Heroes

HTNpics slum2.jpgAdmittance to Heroes of the Nation means things were not easy for you. Chances are, if you’ve found your way to us, it’s likely you’ve spent a fair amount of your life up until that point looking for your next meal and a safe place to sleep.  In some cases, you may have not even know your own name or your family’s name.

HTN slum.jpgWe welcome these vulnerable children, and given time, they not only relax and begin to be kids again, they start to see who they are, that their future is bright, that dreaming is a part of a healthy lifestyle, and they begin to carry hope. They become part of a strong, new “tribe” of builders and leaders, where warm, healthy meals, a loving community, and lots of new friends make the transition a quick one for most of our kids.

HTNpics (1224).jpgThe counselors and teachers at Heroes of the Nation have a special understanding of the unique challenges our kids face when they join the Heroes family. The grief. The fear. The uncertainty.  The teachers become their new parents, who guide them to the Lord, providing the love and safety that every child needs. It is within this environment of love where every child is known and accepted that the healing process takes place.

HTNpics (1145)Our young Heroes are taught about God and what He’s done in giving us Jesus. They begin to see themselves as extraordinary, set apart, fully accepted and loved by their Heavenly Father, the God of the universe! It doesn’t take long for each child to adopt the core values of Heroes of the Nation, where their Heavenly Father is always in a good mood, always loving, and very personal.

HTNpics (823)The prophet Isaiah wrote something profound a few thousand years ago in Chapter 61 that we believe applies perfectly to our children. Isaiah prophesied that Christ would preach good news to the poor, heal their broken hearts, proclaim liberty to those in captivity, and open doors for those bound in prison. He comforts those who mourn, giving them a garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness. So that they may be called Trees of Righteousness, the Lord’s planting, that He may be glorified.

Trees of Righteousness.jpgThese Trees of Righteousness are the ones who will rebuild the old ruins, raise up the former desolations, repair the ruined cities and the desolations of many generations. Everlasting joy shall be theirs! We believe and prophesy this over our Heroes, and thank God for every opportunity we have to cultivate the ground beneath them.

Visit our website to read more about our vision for Heroes of the Nation, to sponsor a child, or to partner with us  as we raise up these precious ones to take their place in the world.

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Where Donations go at Heroes

Cups2.jpgThough this entry was originally posted last November, the information bears repeating. Enjoy!

With around 500 kids on campus and over 30 in college and university, donations made to Heroes of the Nation are spread thin and wide these days! Providing three meals a day for that many mouths plus giving them a special mid-morning tea and/or porridge is no small feat, and this past year it has been especially challenging as drought and famine have caused a huge increase in food prices. Our African Director, Violet Gitonga, has had to balance need and availability, but even so, the extra costs put a $22,000-dollar strain on our budget.

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A stall at the local market

We’re grateful to the men and women who barter on our behalf to provide us the best deals they can find, and they’ve had to go far beyond Kenya to find the staple foods for our Heroes–in some cases all the way to Brazil! Maize, rice, and cabbage are in the highest demand, but thanks to these faithful partners who walk beside us and make sure we have what we need, our kids never had to go without.

HTN SchoolBesides food expenses, there are significant costs associated with educating students as well. We have an amazing staff of 60-plus people, 22 of whom teach and train the children from preschool through high school. All of our teaching staff are college educated and hold various degrees from early childhood education to a Master’s degree in Biology. These dedicated people pour out on our kids daily, and are literally available 24/7 to our students, as 90% of our staff live on campus, too.
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And then there’s electricity, water, and internet access along with general repairs and maintenance of the 10 acre campus, and of course clothing and general hygiene items for our children. Imagine the soap and toothpaste needed for 500 children! Violet and her staff never cease to do the impossible with what they are given, always relying on God to provide above and beyond and in every way imaginable.

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When a donation is given, it follows a specific route. Funds that are designated for a particular need are  applied to that project only. Likewise, 100% of any money given to our child sponsorship program goes directly to that purpose. We track all donations through Quickbooks, holding back anything earmarked for specific projects, and sending out those funds as a project progresses. Gifts that are not specifically earmarked for a project or budget area are applied at the area of greatest need.Group of Boys 2006.jpg

Giving is an easy process through our wesite at www.htn.org,  and Heroes of the Nation is a registered 501(c)3 organization, so all gifts are tax-deductible. You can also help sponsor a specific child. Visit Meet the Children to learn more. And thank you for helping raise up these young heroes!

 

 

Abigail: friend to Heroes

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Abigail and friends

It was 13-year-old Abigail’s lifelong dream to serve as a short term missionary. So when a family friend mentioned that their eldest daughter would be heading to Kenya with a team from Bethel Church in Redding California, Abigail’s parents knew it was an opportunity for Abigail to begin realizing that dream.

She saved for a while before she had enough to make the two week trip to Kenya to serve at Heroes of the Nation. Her mission teammates ranged in age, but she was one of the youngest of the 17 person team. She didn’t know the leader or 90% of the people who would be on the trip, but when the time came, courageous Abigail flew from Toronto to meet that leader and a few team members in Amsterdam. Turns out, she was so focused she didn’t have an opportunity to feel nervous!

Her team leader said, “It was a priviledge to have Abigail on the team. She proved herself to be a powerful and reliable team member, full of joy and committment to the mission.” God moved in Abigail’s life while on the mission, and it seems that Abigail and Heroes will just not be the same.

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L to R: Grade 8 Teacher, Mr. Bierman, Representative from the local bank who sponsored/gave the peace in action award/ $100, Abigail, and School Principal, Mr. Cameron.

Upon returning from her time at HTN, Abigail took it upon herself to fundraise for an improvement project underway at Heroes. The classrooms in the primary school need new floors, and Abigail knew just what to do to help it along. With the encouragement of her parents, Steve and Deb Atkinson, Abigail pulled together items for a yard sale which raised over $640 for the floor replacement project. She also decided that she wanted to participate in the child sponsorship program and immediately signed up to sponsor one of the sweet girls she met while at Heroes, Now she writes letters to her new little sister at Heroes, Linet.

AA.jpgAbigail wants to join another mission trip next spring, and she’s  working and saving money to make sure that happens! We at Heroes of the Nation want to honor and thank this special girl for her contagious enthusiasm about what God is doing at Heroes of the Nation, and her desire to impact the lives of orphaned and abandoned children. What a gift she is to the world!

A Letter from Jeremiah

Jeremiah_Imon_2I am Jeremiah Ectela Imon, and I am 24 years old.

When I was 8-years-old, my parents died of pneumonia and typhoid. Along with my litle sisters, Mary and Pauline,  who were really just babies, I was left under the care of my grandma. She loved us, but could not not make ends meet because she was too old to do any work. So I had to drop my primary education and be a herdsboy in order to get some cash to feed all of us.

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Jeremiah in 2006, grade 6

We came to know about Heroes of the Nation through our village pastor, and in 2004, Heroes of the Nation became our father and mother. I went into grade 4 there and finished primary and secondary school at Heroes. Among so many things I learned, I discovered that I love to sing.

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Jeremiah at 14, 2010.

Not only did HTN educate me, they taught me how to live well in the society and become a light to my generation. They also introduced me Jesus, and I became born again. This is the best thing that ever happened in my life.

Currently, through the support of  Heroes of the Nation, I am a third year student doing my dream course, a bachelor in Journalism and Community Development at St Paul’s University.  Meanwhile, Mary is in grade 12 and Pauline is in grade 10 at Heroes Academy, and they are doing so well.

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At University, 2018.

All this is a dream come true! Getting from zero to becoming a hero–I don’t know what words to put across to thank everyone in Heroes of the Nation. I give so much thanks for Dad Weston Gitonga,  Violet Gitonga, and my beautiful sis, Kari Marte, (who has always been on the ground to see that not only my daily routine is alright, but but also that of all the children and students of Heroes of the Nation. I can’t believe who I am today.

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Mary and Pauline

My dad, Andrew, I know it’s long since the last time I saw you way back when I was in primary school, but I do always pray and recall your face. To mum Susie, just the other day you paid a visit to the university that I am in. I love you all so much and can’t thank you enough for your efforts, prayers, and support.  I promise through God’s strength I will work smart and become a blessing to my home, Heroes of the Nation and the society at large. God has been faithful, and I can testify He is a Living God. As long as He is on the throne, we are world conquerers! I am looking forward to finishing my studies, graduating, and get a good job so that I can help my sisters throughout their studies.

God bless you all.

Jackline’s Story

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Jackline

On her tenth birthday, my mom was given as a bride to my father. As his youngest wife, it was her job to have children and shepherd his herd of goats and cattle. So, just before my mom turned eleven, I was born in a small hut made from sticks and mud deep in the remote bush lands.

My mom tells me she was afraid much of the time. There wasn’t enough food, barely any water, and nowhere to turn for help because within my tribe, it is the husband who decides what the wife can do and where she can go. But after the birth of my little sister, Diana, my mom made the decision to escape her situation.

With hope for a better life for us, she walked 113 kilometers with my little sister and I on her back, to the town of our grandmother and home of a local pastor. Pastor Daniel is a good man. He helped my mom go to school while his wife helped my grandmother care for me and my sister. Then grandmother died, and Pastor Daniel helped us to come to Heroes of the Nation to live.

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Diana

Our lives are much different now. At Heroes of the Nation we have everything we need: food, shelter, safety, and a really good education. Our school scored #1 in the region this year, and we are only getting better! I love science and math, and I want to be a doctor when I grow up.

Last year, my mom graduated from high school. Now, through the Heroes Post-Graduate Endowment Fund, she is earning her degree in Early Childhood Development so that she can be a teacher in the same community where I was born.

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My brave and beautiful mother, Evrlyne

Though I miss my mom when we are apart, Diana and I spend a lot of time with her during school breaks when we visit our tribe and see family and friends. When we are there, we see that change is needed in our community.

My mom and Pastor Daniel are making a difference there, and my sister and I will too, thanks to all that we have received at Heroes of the Nation.

 

Evrlyne’s Journey

EVRLYNE.jpgEvrlyne Waithera of the Samburu Tribe (a sub-tribe of the Masai), was born in 1995, and the sad truth is that her father was a drunk. Atlhough he had some cattle, he didn’t take care of his family, so Evrlyne’s mother did the best she could to get food and water for Evrlyne and her younger twin siblings, Rose and Eric.

Still, there was not enough food, so at age 4, Evrlyne was sent to another family to care for their children in exchange for food. However, she was treated as a slave and abused there. Desperate, little Everlyne ran away to her maternal grandmother, who let her stay, enrolling her in kindergarten, and for six years, she was safe.

However, when she was 10-years-old, Evrylyne returned to to see her mother and father. Instead of a happy reunion, her father immediately forced her to marry a 32-year-old man because her father wanted the bride-price (dowry). During her first 3 years of marriage, Evrlyne gave birth to two daughters, Jackline, first, and then Diana.  In this culture, her husband’s mother was supposed to care for the young wives, making sure they are fed and that the babies have some food, but Evrlyne’s mother-in-law did not do this, so Evrlyne and her daughters had very little food and water.

Evelyn_and_Eva_in_Masai_hutShe said, “When my baby would cry, I would cry too, for I didn’t know what to do, and I had no one to help me.”  Evrlyne appealed to her own mother, but her mother did not have the authority to help her.  However, once Evrlyne learned that her father had died, and she knew her mother could then help.

So at a time when her husband was not at home, Evrlyne, now 14-years-old, took the two babies, and with the help of a friend who carried Jackline for her, they began the 120 km journey towards Rumruti, where her mother lived.  This friend also gave Evrlyne food and paid for transport whenever it was available to them.

Once she arrived in Rumruti (previously called The Remote Area) the bishop of the local church, Bishop Daniel, and his wife, who were close to Evrlyne’s mother and family, offered help to Evrlyne. The church raised half of her school fees, and the school covered the other half, while a very kind teacher helped her to purchase food and school supplies, and also provided her a place to stay while in school.

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Masai Land

Evrlyne’s husband came to Rumruti to take her and their daughters back to Maralal, but Bishop Daniel stood against him and required that Evrlyne and her girls be allowed to stay in Rumruti while she attended school. Thankfully, the man agreed, and Evrlyne’s mother along with the Bishop’s wife cared for Jackline and Diana while Evrlyne was  at school.

HTNpics (1070)In 2011, when Evrlyne was around 16 years old and still in school, her mother died. At this time, because of the special friendship of Bishop Daniel and his wife with Bishop Weston and Violet at Heroes of the Nation, Jackline, Evrlyne’s oldest daughter, was accepted into Heroes, along with Rose, Evrlyne’s younger sister. A year later, Jackline’s younger sister, Diana, followed.

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Jackline

Evrlyne was so relieved and happy that they would have all their needs met, be safe from the hunger and abuse she herself had endured, and that they now have opportunities because of Heroes.

Evrlyne graduated from high school in Dec. 2017.  What she has suffered has not made her bitter. Instead,  she wants to continue her education in Early Childhood Development. Heroes has invited her to take part in their Endowment program and attend college to fulfill that dream.  As of May 2018, Evrlyne completed her first term, and although the work is difficult for her, she is doing well. There are still some current challenges for this brave young woman.

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Diana
  • There is no home for her or her daughters and sister to return to during school breaks, and they are passed around to various famlies who mistreat them.
  • The bush is dangerous due to snakes, wild animals, and too many drunks makes it unsafe.
  • Food is very hard to get.
  • Everlyne fears that her daughters will be married off, even ‘illegally’, or taken back by their father.

Thank You, Jesus, for rescuing Evrlyne, Jackline, Diana, and Rose. Thank You for the safety of Heroes of the Nation, and for watching out for them when they are on break, Thank You for all the thoughts You have in Your kind heart to give them each a future and a hope in You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights: May 2018

On May 2nd, our staff and children returned to Heroes of the Nation after a much needed short break to visit with friends, family and guardians. Refreshed and ready, they jumped back into a Heroes life, working hard in school, and performing well in sports and extra-curricular events.

DSC_8002Early in May, science teachers from Heroes High School and Primary School attended a workshop in Ndururumo given by external trainers on the new curriculum, and how best to teach the subject with maximum retention. They HS Boy in class 2enjoyed the training workshop and collaborating with other educators DSC_8292from the area.

Then on the 19th, some of our brightest high school math students attended a mathematics competition, also is Ndururumo, where they competed with other schools. They were accompanied by our math teacher, Mr. Ndirangu, and performed very well.

Next, on May 25th and 26th, approximately 100 of our students from the high school and primary school attended a sub-county music festival where they performed for and competed with other schools. Both groups of students won at their level and will continue on in June to compete at the county level. If our Heroes win at the next two levels they will compete for the President’s favor at his home in Nairobi! Our students are practicing hard, eager to win that honor and to show that our schools are the best.

The growing season is upon us and our fields look vibrant. Kale, cabbages, spinach and maize are growing well, thanks to the abundance of rain in 2018. We are also happy to announce the birth of a female calf to a new cow, recently purchased by the Heroes Business club!

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New crop of Kale