KENYA - Lydia’s husband passed away one year ago. She is in her late 60s, wiry and strong, but with milky eyes and a weathered face lined with age. She is caring for four orphans, three girls and one boy, ages 8, 12, 14, and 16. Their mother died when the youngest was just 6 months old.
They are the children of Lydia’s daughter, who was not married and died at the age of 32. Two church volunteers, trained by World Concern, come to visit Lydia once a month to offer moral support, and check to see what she needs.
Some of the food for the children, such as mangoes and beans and maize, are grown on the land behind a cluster of three neat little rooms that volunteers built on her land. World Concern provided her with dairy goats that will provide milk for the children and their offspring will be sold at the market.
“When I got the goat, I was very happy, because I knew it would help me to care for the children,” she said. Indeed, it has helped her send them to school.
All four of the children are in school, which is incredible, considering that two of the children are in a secondary school and must pay tuition. And, they are girls in secondary school, a rarity among the village poor. When there is money for secondary school, usually the boys are sent. But most poor Kenyan children, it is fair to say, never get there.
“I am very proud and very happy that I have girls in school,” said Lydia, “and that they will grow up to be employed as doctors and teachers and police officers. I know that God will provide for them, whether they choose marriage or work” in a profession, or both!
Lydia is a proponent of education, and her grandchildren attended a primary school that her late husband helped to build.
“I wish I could have gone to school,” Lydia said. “My sister went and became a secretary. If I had gone, I may have been able to sustain the children I have now.”
Here is what church volunteers Peter Gichovi and Rosemary Njoki Ndwiga have to say about the program:
“We were called to a training by WC, and now we help care for these families (with the support of the congregation) providing them with gifts and school fees, clothing and cash when it is needed. Sometimes these children simply have no utensils to use when they eat at school.
“Since God has given to us, let us share with those less fortunate. Scripture that tells us to care for ‘the least of these,’ that we are to reach out to the poor and the hurting. We believe that the hand that gives is meant to be blessed.”