Author Archive

Sunday Spotlight: Kizito

Written by Village Project Africa. Posted in Children, Education, Sponsorship, Stories

Today’s spotlight is on Kizito.Kizito

We first met Kizito when he was very small. He was part of our first early childhood classes when we were in our mud buildings on the smaller property. Kizito stole our hearts with his sparkling, joyful eyes and his sweet smile. He worked hard in class and soon was the top student in the school. Kizito would tell anyone and everyone that when he grew up, he wanted to be the president of Kenya.

Kizito continued to amaze us with his work ethic and his intelligence, and when he scored at the top of our county on his eighth grade exams, we were so proud of him. We were even more proud when he was accepted into a prestigious boarding school in Nairobi for ninth grade. After a year in Nairobi, we were proud when Kizito said he appreciated the opportunity, but he felt the best place for him was at home with his Heritage family. He missed his school, his friends, and the teachers and leaders he’d come to consider such an essential part of his life.

Since Kizito has returned and has joined our tenth grade, he’s been challenged in his classes and continues to work hard to reclaim his top spot. He’s also hopeful to help start a drama and music group at the high school level next year since he enjoyed participating in the group so much in primary school.

Kizito still hopes to become president of Kenya one day—he even has a plan for how he’ll achieve it. He’s working hard in class now to be eligible for a scholarship so he can attend University. After University, he’ll return to Makutano and run for council. After council, he’ll seek a county representative position to gain the skills and qualifications he needs, and then he’ll continue to work his way up the government ladder.

We’re so proud of the young man Kizito has become and look to be casting our vote for him as president sooner than we can imagine!

Sunday Spotlight: Isaiah Juma

Written by Village Project Africa. Posted in Children, Education, Sponsorship, Stories, Village Project Africa

Today’s spotlight is on Isaiah Juma.Isaiah Odiba

Isaiah is one of our outstanding high school students. He was named head boy this year, and he takes his role seriously. He helps the teachers and students in whatever way he can and continues to display excellent leadership and scholarship abilities.

Isaiah’s journey to Heritage was not an easy one, but you won’t hear him complain. He has accepted each part of his path as it has come, and he’s consistently made big choices to stay on the path he’s set for himself. As one of nine children, Isaiah has had to work hard for everything. During primary school, his father paid his school fees, but he had high expectations placed on him. Many of his siblings downplayed the importance of school, even talking their sister into leaving school at a young age. After his parents divorced, Isaiah’s father remarried and Isaiah lived with them for a time. Isaiah’s stepmother was unkind and mistreated him. The family struggled to meet expenses, and Isaiah was given an ultimatum: his father would either purchase a new school uniform for Isaiah to attend school, or Isaiah could have food—not both. Only in fifth grade, Isaiah chose the school uniform. After three days at school with no food, Isaiah’s stomach made it clear what choice he would have to make, and he went home. He was devastated.

But Isaiah’s mother worked at Heritage, and when Isaiah told his mother what happened, she brought him home with her and directly to the school. After presenting his report cards and completing an interview, Isaiah became a student at Heritage Primary School. Thanks to our staff, students, and Isaiah’s sponsor, Heritage has provided a safe haven for him. But it has also presented challenges to him. He was the top student in his public school, but at Heritage, he found he would have to really work hard to maintain that top spot. He had to learn how to speak, read, and write in English among other grade-level expectations he found at Heritage. While he’s not at the top of the class, Isaiah is proud that he is now in the top ten. He has high goals for himself: first, he’ll be the top of his class in high school, then he’ll attend university, and then he’ll become a doctor. His ultimate goal is to come back to Makutano and support and treat them. He just wants to be of help to a place that has helped him so much.

Isaiah says there are several things that make him most happy in life: being at Heritage, working toward his dreams, helping his village, and helping his brothers who did not finish school. His motivation is completely self-driven, and he works so hard to do well in school because HE expects that of himself.

We are so proud of how far Isaiah has come and how far we know he will go!

Sunday Spotlight: Sara Sakwa

Written by Village Project Africa. Posted in Children, Education, Health, Sponsorship, Stories, Women's Community

Today’s spotlight is on Sara Sakwa.

Sara Sakwa is a special member of our staff at Heritage. After her husband died several years ago, Sara found herself challenged. Her husband’s family made her life difficult, and providing for her children was hard when she was only able to find casual labor work. But all that began to change, she says, when she met Davis, the director, and he invited her to join the sewing group at Grace House. She kept going to the group more for the fellowship and support than the sewing. She found such comfort and hope in the women she met there. If it weren’t for this group, Sara is convinced that she would not be alive. They encouraged her to keep pressing forward, even in the face of difficulty. The group also helped bring her closer to God. Without God, she says her life would have been unbearable.

Not long after she joined our women’s group, she found a job at Heritage Academy as a cook, and she’s been with us since.

She said that since she joined the Heritage staff, her life has improved greatly. She feels at ease, and many of her problems have disappeared. She has a new home, which gives her a sense of security for the future.

Her five children all attend Heritage, and sponsorship means the challenge of providing for her children’s education has been alleviated. As she speaks about sponsorship, Sara gets emotional. She said that sponsorship means everything to her because it means her children will have more opportunity in life. She says she’d like to see her children work hard, be good, open doors for themselves, and have the courage to walk through those doors. She hopes for a brighter future for each of them.

Sara is so grateful for Village Project Africa and the opportunities the programs have provided for her and her children. She’s grateful for the support and love she’s received from Davis, Margaret, and so many others on staff at Heritage. But, most of all, she’s grateful to God for all He’s done in her life. She hopes God will continue to be with her as she walks into the next chapters of her life, whatever they may be.

Staff Spotlight: Nashon

Written by Village Project Africa. Posted in Education

Today’s spotlight is on one of our group of amazing teachers: Nashon.

Nashon

 

Nashon (pronounced like nation) started out as a student at Heritage Teacher’s College, an experience he says was a really good one. He said he felt like the certificate program really helped prepare him for the classroom, and he was grateful to be sponsored to complete the program. He officially joined the staff at Heritage in 2012.

Before coming to Heritage, Nashon taught grades 4 through 8 in the local public schools. In the public schools, he said he struggled with a lack of material and time to teach the kids in his classroom. At Heritage, Nashon is pleased to have more material and more time to teach his students. Because his eighth graders all live on campus, he can do remediation and further learning opportunities in the evening, meaning he can bring his students’ performance levels even further up. He says that his greatest challenge at Heritage is engaging students and getting them interested in math. But he seems to be overcoming that challenge with many of his students. He has an easy way of connecting with the kids, and many say he is one of their favorite teachers at the school. Nashon says he feels such pride when he sees some of his students out in the shops with their parents applying some of the principles they’ve learned in his classroom. He hopes that what starts in his classroom benefits his students beyond the classroom, not just in the shops, but on their exams and future efforts in high school and university. When we asked if there was anything he needed to help achieve this, he said he’d like more implements and manipulatives to use in the classroom to help students further understand mathematics principles.

Nashon in the classroom

In addition to being an excellent math teacher, Nashon is also an excellent spiritual leader in our school. He was raised in a Christian home, one of seven kids, and he became more involved in faith exploration when he was in high school. As he’s gotten older, serving the Lord has become one of his greatest joys. He exudes this joy, and students often come to him with faith-related questions. He’s glad to advise them, and his greatest piece of advice is always: “Above all… trust upon the Lord.”

Nashon hopes to continue to improve himself and further his education. His goal is to earn his bachelor’s degree somewhere in Kenya. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Nashon would come back to Heritage to teach, but he’d be open to teaching anywhere in the world.

We’re so fortunate to have Nashon’s dedication and enthusiasm for our kids as part of our community. It’s teachers like Nashon that make our school the success that it is!

Sunday Spotlight: Brian Kavogi

Written by Village Project Africa. Posted in Children, Education, Sponsorship, Stories

Today’s spotlight is on Brian Kavogi.

Brian came to our school in 2013. When his mother remarried and moved away, Brian was left behind to live with his uncle, an experience not uncommon for children whose mothers remarry. Not long after she left, Brian’s mother died, leaving him a total orphan.

There was never enough money for food, much less school fees in his uncle’s house, and Brian found himself hungry in two ways: for food and for opportunity. A chance encounter with Director Davis Otieno Reuben’s mother opened just the sort of opportunity Brian was seeking to feed his hunger in both ways: she brought him to Davis, and Brian immediately found a home at Heritage Academy.

Brian was placed in the boy’s dorm and was introduced to the music program at Heritage when the choir director, Titus, singled him out and introduced him to singing. Brian had never performed before, but he had heart, passion, and rhythm. After much practice and hard work, Brian has become one of the lead singers, and he hopes to continue singing, dancing, and playing the drum as he gets older.

At Heritage, Brian has flourished. He says that he is learning well and that all his needs are being met. He gives credit to his sponsor and to God for providing the means for him to work toward becoming the man he hopes to be. He is grateful, and so are we, for how far he has come and all that he has and will continue to do.

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