Love and Care After the Fire

Story and photos by Donna Atola, Kenya Field Communications Specialist

A family of two sponsored boys in Kenya lost all they had in a house fire. They also lost hope. Then OneChild’s Children’s Crisis Fund stepped in.

A family of two sponsored boys in Kenya lost all they had in a house fire. They also lost hope. Then OneChild’s Children’s Crisis Fund stepped in.

Child Champions from her sons’ Hope Center helped Stacy get back on her feet after their home burned down.

Just like many other mornings before, the morning of Sept. 14, 2021, was going well for Stacy and her children as she helped them prepare for school. Her sons, Joel and Jason, who are sponsored by the OneChild program in Kenya, were the last to leave the house to walk to school.

At around 9 a.m., as Stacy was washing clothes outside their house, she noticed a cloud of heavy, black smoke coming from houses in the neighborhood.

She ran to go see what was happening. But as soon as she stepped out of their yard, she was met by a huge fire. Stacy immediately rushed door-to-door to alert her neighbors.

“My first thought was about my neighbors who might have had babies sleeping in their houses,” she recalls. “The fire was scary, so I thought saving babies and any person was as much we could do.”

Then she rushed back to her house to try to salvage whatever she could. The only thing that was salvaged was a couch, which some men in their neighborhood carried out for her.

Flimsy Houses Burned Quickly

Stacy and her kids live in poverty in Kawangware, a sprawling slum in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Their house, like most in the neighborhood, was made of tin and wood and burned down quickly. The only things they didn’t lose apart from their couch were the clothes they had on.

After a fire destroyed their home, Stacy and her sons, Joel and Jason, pictured above, were able to move into a home made of stone.

The smoke from the burning houses attracted attention at World Hope Academy, the Hope Center school that Joel, Jason, and their older sister Joy attend. The school is half a mile from the family’s home.

Child Champions at the kids’ Hope Center quickly started trying to determine if any of the sponsored kids’ families lived in the homes that burned down.

Stacy received a call from Mary, a Child Champion at the Hope Center, asking if she was safe and if she had saved anything from her burning house. When Mary found out what had happened, she decided to deliver the news of the fire to Joy, Joel, and Jason. She counseled and assured them that everything would be OK. Later in the day, Child Champions walked the kids home and consoled Stacy.

The family moved into Stacy’s mother’s house, which is in the same neighborhood.

Losing the Tools of Her Trade

As Stacy tried to think how she would rebuild her life again, her biggest concern was losing everything she needed for her job of preparing and selling coffee. She earns the equivalent of $4 to $6 a day selling coffee.

“I didn’t know what life would be after the fire,” Stacy says. “I had lost all my tools of the trade in the fire, and I wondered how quick my life had scaled down. I feared for my children.”

In the days that followed, she received clothes and bedding from her friends and her church. Two weeks after the fire, she received a donation from OneChild’s Children’s Crisis Fund.

She used the money to purchase new items for her business, as well as a bed, mattress, utensils, and almost everything they had lost in the fire.

Joel and Jason work on their homework in their new home.

“To give a hungry person food is good but restoring someone’s source of livelihood is greater because this ensures they never go hungry,” Stacy says. “I am so happy that apart from caring for our basic needs, OneChild gave me hope by helping me purchase items that I use to prepare coffee.”

Love and Care Help to Heal

In addition to the gift from OneChild, Child Champions Mary, Mildred, and Gideon often visited Stacy and her family to talk with them about the tragedy.

“The visits and counseling for me and my kids after the loss meant a lot,” Stacy says. “I received a lot of love and care from the Child Champions. It was a difficult time because the kids, too, lost toys, clothes, and other items they loved to the fire. So, the counseling helped heal all of us and gave us hope.”

Eventually Stacy and her family were able to move back to their neighborhood, but this time to a house made of stone.

“I now understand the meaning of pure love, thanks to the Child Champions, the Hope Center, and the donors who were a source of refuge in our time of need,” she says. “I lack words to express my gratitude.”

Help families like Stacy’s recover from an unexpected disaster by giving to OneChild’s Children’s Crisis Fund.

See how a sponsor’s letters lift the hopes of a boy in the Dominican Republic:

Help this story grow:

We are accountable to the children we serve AND to our donors.

Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring of our fund distribution. OneChild is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)