Mt. Elgon- Dorcas:
Hi. My name is Dorcas. I live high on Mt. Elgon in northwest Kenya. It is a beautiful place to look but a very hard place to grow up in. I am now 15 and in Form 2. (You call it grade 10). This is my story.
Unlike many of the girls I know, I grew up with both my mother and father at home. It was not a happy place but at least I had both parents. We had very little and life was a constant struggle. Life really got worse when I was in form 1 and got pregnant. You can’t imagine the shame and fear I felt when I found out and knew that I had to tell my parents. I was rejected and my father made me leave the house. With no one to turn to, I sought help from friends and family, but there was no one. As my shame and despair increased, I began to consider killing myself. I saw that I had no future so what did I have to live for?
Finally, my uncle learned of my situation and told me about Empower Hope. He found a way to connect me to some people from this organization and they accepted me into the program.. Last December, I was invited to a week of camp. They called it VUKA Rite of Passage Camp. I did not know what to expect, but I gladly went.
That week changed my life! I learned that Jesus loved me and had a purpose for my life. All week I, and the nearly 100 other girls who came, learned Scripture and songs and lessons that showed me that knowing Jesus is the way to live a better life, and that God can be trusted to always be with me no matter how hard life gets.
Empower Hope has agreed to sponsor me so I could go back to school. I had always dreamed of becoming a doctor but had no hope of that ever happening. Now my hope has been renewed once again. With God’s help, I am going to be a doctor! I am so thankful that He can take my broken pieces and make something good out of them. Thank you, Empower Hope!
Joan Chebet is the Operations Manager for Empower Hope in Kitale/Mt. Elgon. Gifted, focused, intelligent, compassionate, she loves Jesus and the girls with whom she works in our VUKA/ Tembea Nami program.
Joan comes to Empower Hope with a background in leadership and child care as matron of a children’s home where she first met our Executive Director, Roselyne. She spent 6 years there learning how to lead staff and children, helping to diagnose illness and behavior issues and seeing to their well-being. She holds a certificate as a Nurse Aide and Social Worker as well as Community Development. All of that serves her well as she works with extremely vulnerable women and girls on Mt. Elgon, the scene of untold violence for years.
But it is her own story that gives her the empathy and wisdom to deal with such dire needs of these young women. Like so many of them, she found herself pregnant as a teen and dropped out of school. This forced her to look at her life and make some changes if she ever wanted to move out of the situation that was bound to end any hope of a successful future. She gave her life to Christ and became very serious about the Christian life. With the help of her family who cared for her child, she went back to school and completed her education.
Today, she shares her testimony with the girls in our VUKA Rite of Passage program. She can identify with them as they come to us with no hope, sometimes pregnant or with babies, lost, shamed, confused and alone. She shares her own story with them and is living proof that there is hope in Christ. When they tell her they want to die, she tells them that once she felt that way too. When they ask her how she overcame her despair, she shares Jesus with them, telling them that they cannot succeed in life without Him. Many of them have given their hearts to Jesus through our VUKA Camp and she encourages them to now live lives of purity and to daily read God’s Word which speaks life to them.
Regarding her involvement with Empower Hope, Joan expresses, , “I can say this from my bottom of the heart that my life has changed since I was introduced to Empower Hope. I am not the same Joan as before.”
Joan is a living example of faith, hope and love. We are so blessed to call her friend and team member. We often hear her break out in song…”When the Lord is on the throne, things already bettah, things already bettah, things already bettah!”
We are excited to announce that Empower Hope is the recipient of the “People’s Choice Award” for a photo submitted to the CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest) 2018 Photo Contest!!
CGAP is a global partnership of more than 30 leading development organizations that works to advance the lives of poor people through financial inclusion.
Applicants were asked to show how financial services expand opportunities for poor people in Africa and enable people to build sustainable livelihoods. More than 600 entries were judged on technical excellence, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit.
Our photo, entitled “Seeing Our World Through The Lens of Hope”, shows a group of young boys mesmerized while looking at their homeland through Kellyne’s camera.
Both photographer Kellyne Njonge
and Empower Hope are honored to receive this award from CGAP.
The full range of winners and
stories behind them can be found at the CGAP award website, https://bit.ly/2SLkyjc.