We have been called in Matthew 25:35-36 “To care for the needy, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry and to welcome the strangers.”
It is this very verse that allowed Collins Oluoch to benefit from the feeding program at the Maisha Center. After his father died in 2004, his mother found it rough to take care of the four children at home. Feeding them became increasingly difficult and many times they would go to school on an empty stomach. Sometimes school was forgotten in necessity for the children to go search for food. “When we heard of this program, we became happy after we were enlisted as the beneficiaries. Now I go to school daily and my performance has increased,” he recalls.
Many children in villages around here are facing a similar situation. Maisha’s feeding program has seen an increase from 20 children in 2006 to over 400 children and 10 widows benefiting today. Ms. Anastasia Akoth Ndege, who is in charge of the program, says over 400 children come from nearby schools and take their lunch at the Maisha Center every day. Feeding continues even during holidays. “We just have to feed them. We are now feeding both orphans and vulnerable children from the villages around,” she says. The difference in orphan or vulnerable is whether or not they have one or two living parents. We’ve found their level of need is the same, no matter their classification. There are also about 23 children who are total orphans and have no one. “These we house and take all meals including supper here,” she adds.
One of the boys who live at Maisha is Ronney Okoth. Life was very difficult for him after both his parents passed away – he had nowhere to turn but the streets. He found his way to Maisha, who took him in and gave him a home. Now he is in high school and his future looks bright. “He has a heart of gold, is a natural leader and always goes out of his way to be helpful in every way he can. I can’t and don’t want to imagine what his life would have been like had he not found his way here,” says Jennifer Whitener, Maisha Co-Director. He is one of the 23 children who have come to know Maisha as their home.
“They are a happy lot because here they get three meals a day which is nutritious and well balanced. This is a timely help to them because they are in their prime age and in need of good food to stay healthy even as they grow into adulthood,” says Joshua Ouko, the Program Manager.
John Omollo Mudho, a local from Chiga village says the program has really helped many children who had lost hope in life. “This is the program we cherish in this area. Hope has been brought back to the lives of children who had lost their parents,” he says.
“We are grateful to the donors who generously provide the meals to the children. They have supported this noble mission to bring back hope in the faces of the children,” adds Joshua.