Center of Hope School (COH) was started in January, 2014 with the aim of giving the children in the Olympic section of Kibera a quality education. COH’s mission statement is to create a secure, peaceful environment for mindset transformation to inspire children to learn and expand their horizon. The first 20 students to join the school were selected through the chief's office with the help of the village elders. The children were fed with porridge at ten o'clock and a hot meal at lunchtime. The school was situated in one multipurpose room. My husband supported the project because we believed that life was more than ‘I’ ‘Me’ and ’Myself’.
By 2017, the school had grown. So we moved into a four bedroom house whose rooms we converted into classrooms. It was in the same year that I was invited to participate in a Kibera Pastoral Workshop. I met Carter for the first time. I shared with him about the mission of COH, and he promised to visit soon thereafter. His visit was the beginning of our transformation. They pledged to buy food for our wonderful pupils and pay the teachers their monthly salaries. The school continued to grow from 90 (2018) to 115 (2019) to 150 pupils currently. More than anything, the children fell in love with learning, and now never want to leave at the end of the day!
In 2019 with the rapid growth in our student body, we rented a second house for our Upper Primary classes. The transformation continued with the introduction of medical services through the Crossing Thresholds’ nurse AND a wonderful music program which has generated much excitement. Music has witnessed dramatic improvements in the children’s mental health, in turn improving their academic and social skills.
When Covid-19 (and the shutdown) arrived in Kenya, most parents were impacted by unemployment. Crossing Thresholds stepped in as a beacon of hope to many families. A striking story that is dear to my heart is that of Salim, one of our parents. During the Covid-19 lockdown period, he lost his job and had not paid his rent for a couple of months. His children were hungry, and he had no idea where to turn. When Thresholds began to distribute food to the student’s families, Salim communicated that we had literally saved the lives of his children.
Transformation takes many, many forms. It may address an empty stomach. It may address hopelessness. It may address children out of school. Whatever the case, transformation always tries to make space for a better world. Center of Hope would like to thank Crossing Thresholds for its continuous love and support, and for joining us in the effort to transform the lives of children and families in the Kibera Slum of Kenya.
Director of Center of Hope