Love of Kids Inspires Child Champion
to Teach Them a Valuable Skill

Story and photos by Donna Atola, Kenya Field Communications Specialist

A Child Champion in Kenya goes out of her way to learn a skill online, then teaches it to the kids at her Hope Center as a way for them to earn income.

Anne always knew she would be working with kids as a career.

Her dream from childhood was to work with children.

Anne didn’t know exactly what her dream career would be, but she was certain it had something to do with children, and particularly kids in hard places.

Anne, 43, is the youngest and only girl of three children. She grew up in a middle-class family in a town in western Kenya.

Although her family was comfortable, the community around theirs was a hard place that struggled with poverty.

She recalls that their family home was always full of kids, even after her brothers had gone off to boarding school.

“My mom was always hosting and caring for kids from the community. I don’t remember a time when the kids in the house were less than 20,” Anne recalls.

“And looking back, I enjoyed having all the kids in our house. My mother always had space for one more kid, so I grew up knowing that I have a role to serve and look out for people in need.”

When she was older, Anne went to live with her maternal uncles, where she was also schooled. And she realized that they, too, were caring for kids in their community.

That’s when she realized that she also wanted to also help kids when she grew up. When Anne described to her mother what she wanted to become in life, her mother suggested that she could become a social worker.

Anne shows kids at the Hope Center how to bead.

So, by the time Anne started high school, she was intentional about becoming a social worker. She later studied social work in college.

Living Her Dream

Anne joined PEFA Syokimau Hope Center in Syokimau in 2021 to continue her desire to serve kids in hard places. She is also a Sunday school teacher at the church there.

At home, Anne has five children of her own and she also supports three kids through school, who live with her family at her home.

“I love being with kids and serving them gives me so much fulfillment because I think kids are the heart of God. If you touch a child, you have touched God’s heart,” she says.

Anne says working with children is therapeutic.

At the Hope Center, she serves as a Child Champion and also does counseling for the kids. She also extends counseling to parents whenever there’s a need.

Learning and Passing on a Skill

Earliar in the year as Anne was visiting with her aunt, she found her doing some beaded art that she sells to her clientele.

Out of curiosity, Anne asked how the beadwork is done. However, her aunt was on a tight schedule, so she sent Anne a link to videos on YouTube and asked her to watch the videos.

Beadwork requires intricate skills.

Determined to learn the skill, Anne spent a good amount of time on YouTube watching several tutorials, and after several trials she mastered the skill.

She began making beaded key holders, napkin holders, and table mats and sold them online.

Upon realizing that the skill earned her some money, Anne figured this would be a helpful skill to the kids at the Hope Center. So, after consulting with the leadership at the Hope Center, she purchased the materials for beading and offered to teach a class on it.

Thirteen kids showed interest and joined the class and are now learning to do beaded artwork. When they have completed several beaded items, Anne hopes to connect them to the market.

Kids at the Hope Center show off some of their beaded creations.

Apart from values instilled in her childhood, Anne also learned the art of entrepreneurship from her family. Currently, besides serving at the Hope Center, she runs a transport business and agribusiness.

“Having the kids learn different skills at the Hope Center equips them with extra knowledge that will help transform their lives and their communities,” Anne says.

She is hopeful that she can continue to teach bead working to the kids and also teach them how to become entrepreneurs because she believes this will be an important skill they’ll have after graduating from the program.

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