Nicholas Kimatu has worked with OneChild in Kenya for more than 11 years.
The following is a question-and answer-session with OneChild’s Kenya Country Director, a longtime advocate for kids in poverty.
What is your name and title?
Nicholas Kimatu, Kenya Country Director.
How long have you been at OneChild?
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I consider myself a God-loving man who’s out to give my gift to the Word in the space and time that God has given me. I am a family man who deeply loves my family. I love what I do as a minister and an employee with OneChild in Kenya because it constitutes my purpose. I look forward to a rich legacy in establishing OneChild in Kenya and in serving God’s people. I love to see people — colleagues and partners — “come to,” to awaken to the beauty of ministry and investment in human beings. I think that this is the only direct way of investing in heaven!
Nicholas walks with some kids in Turkana, Kenya.
What motivates you to work here?
Because I find it consistent with my values, purpose, and destiny.
What is your background, education, where are you from, etc.?
I was born in Machakos, went to university at Kenyatta University. Later went to St. Paul’s University for a master’s degree and later pursued a Ph.D. degree in development studies at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (thesis incomplete). I was raised in relative poverty in the countryside. My father was absent, and Mother was a hard-working woman who raised eight children almost singlehandedly! I am the firstborn of them. Two others never made it past their first birthday.
Why do you want to help the children?
Because in my opinion, this is the most critical place to “ground” future development that will translate to godliness on Earth and sustainable development.
Why are you a Child Champion?
Because in it I realize my purpose, and I help shape and align destinies of the vulnerable children as well as influencing partner church leaders that are also Child Champions.
Why are letters important for sponsors to send?
Letters are personal, one tangible evidence (assurance) that the sponsor is actually a real person. A letter is [a way] for the child and sponsor to get personal.
Nicholas (in pink shirt) leads other OneChild staff in rebuilding a woman’s home after it was washed away by rain.
What do the letters mean to the kids?
A great deal. The child feels special to get a letter as evidence of the presence of someone far away who cares for them.
Tell us about typical situations that our kids face. Some of the challenges they face?
Lack of food at home, inability to consistently attend school, dysfunctional families, child abuse, neglect, spiritual apathy, etc.
How are the Child Champions helping?
Children chosen by OneChild for support oftentimes face dire situations. For example, lack of opportunities to school (learning) in spite of the fact that education has been proven to be the game-changer in determining the success rate of a child in their near future. A lot of children out of the sponsorship program face the danger of growing without a true sense of God, yet as a matter of fact all souls at an early age desire a divine orientation. OneChild offers to meet this need. Thirdly, our children face the reality of going without food on a regular basis. OneChild steps in to meet that need. Fourthly, at our Hope Centers, children coming from dysfunctional families come “home” to a place where hope for the future can be instilled. Child Champions help meet these needs among others and thus indeed make the Hope Center an oasis of hope.
Nicholas leads prayers for a sponsored boy in Malindi during a home visit.
What does a typical family (of our sponsored kids) do to make money here?
Most of them do odd jobs such as laundry for well-off families, till the farms, go into the bush to find firewood for sale, run little shops (kiosks) from where some sell household supplies, water vendors. Others may be involved in prostitution or stealing, among other petty crimes.
How much do they make?
Most households of our supported kids make just about $2 to $5 a day. This is oftentimes not good enough given the high dependency rates at home by virtue of the fact of large families.
How much does it cost to live?
The bare minimum for a poor family is about one dollar a day. For the average Kenyan family is about $5.
Nicholas leads a team visiting the home of two newly registered kids in Kimana (also pictured at the top of the page). Eight children live with their parents in the 8-foot-by-8-foot earthen-floored home.
Do families own their own homes or rent?
Most families in urban centers do not own their houses. They are rented. A good number in the countryside live in communal family land. The number of the landless is increasing in the countryside owing to increasing population, broken families, and diminishing societal norms.
What are the biggest health and social challenges here?
Domestic violence, parental negligence, low literacy levels, malnutrition, lack of access to medical services and medicine, etc.
What is your hope for the kids here?
That they will grow to know their God, their God-given potential, that they will have an opportunity to get an education and supportive/enabling environments that will help nurture their God-given potential to fruition.
What does it mean to help these kids?
It means ensuring that they have access to the benefit offered through OneChild partnership, targeting the four outcome goals of spiritual, cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development. It means surrounding the kids with adults who are indeed Child Champions at heart and in deed.
Help a child living in poverty find hope by sponsoring a child today
See another Child Champion, who helps kids believe in themselves, at work in Kenya!