A simple gift can be a turning point for families in impoverished communities. A gift in the form of an animal, water tank, clothes, or even a house significantly improves a sponsored kid’s life and extends to the rest of the family and the larger community.
When a sponsor sends a donation for a family gift to their sponsored child, the staff at the child’s Hope Center help the family choose the appropriate gift which is later bought and delivered to the family. Child Champions know each sponsored child personally and work to understand what would best help the family, a family like Emmanuel Shungu’s who has benefited greatly over the years from his sponsor’s gift.
Fourteen-year-old Emmanuel lives in a rural area of Malindi, a coastal town in Kenya, with his parents and siblings. Emmanuel goes to Rehema Hope Center.
The region where Emmanuel lives has experienced long dry seasons, which makes it harder to grow crops and creates food insecurity among families in the area.
Emmanuel has six younger siblings and seven other siblings from his stepmother. His Father, Kingi Matole, says that his small piece of land and unpredictable weather patterns prevent the family from growing enough food to feed themselves.
For Kingi, Emmanuel’s registration into his Hope Center in 2009 has helped lessen the burden of a huge family.
“We survived by the mercy of God because we had very little food, a few clothes, and no medical care. I never imagined the dream of taking my son to school would come true, and I was scared that he would grow up hopeless like most of us did. But when Emmanuel’s Hope Center took in Emmanuel, we got a reprieve,” Kingi recounts.
Emmanuel received his first family gift in 2013 from his then sponsor, Janice. His sponsor’s donation was used to purchase 12 chickens and four goats. Emmanuel says the gifts stunned and humbled him.
“I was surprised. I wondered how someone miles away would care so much for me to donate such a big gift, yet they hadn’t met me. I had never seen such a great act of kindness,” Emmanuel recalls.
According to Emmanuel’s mother, Mapenzi Kingi, the gift allowed them to take up animal rearing instead of having to rely solely on cassava and maize crops, which were at risk of wasting away each time droughts hit the region.
Mapenzi says they took care of the animals, and soon they had multiplied in numbers. She adds that their meals were supplemented with eggs and goats’ milk, which was nutritious and helped feed Emmanuel’s younger siblings as well.
Then, due to changing climatic conditions, they sold the chickens and bought more goats which can withstand dry climates better. Soon the goats gave birth to kids, and the number rose to nine. They sold four and bought two cows. Emmanuel, now a grown boy, helps his father take care of the animals.
Kingi says, apart from the milk gotten from the animals for consumption at home, they sell some of it for an income to help purchase clothes and household items and pay school fees for Emmanuel and his siblings.
They also use the manure from the animals to fertilize their farm where they have planted cassavas and vegetables which they sell for a steady income.
Thanks to his sponsor’s gift, Emmanuel’s family now has two healthy cows, five strong goats, and three kids.
Kingi says, “I want to thank God for the people who gave us these animals because they have been and still are of help. We have also learned that an act of kindness can go a long way in giving people hope.”