Sunday, March 11, 2012

Little Rock Scholars: I had no idea it would be like this

Today we'll give you the opportunity to honor an amazing group of young people.

Eliminate Poverty Now started the Little Rock Scholars program to enable the brightest graduates of Little Rock Early Childhood Development Centre to attend secondary school. We are very excited about this program. We believe it will give these children an opportunity to escape the extreme poverty of the slum, and that their success will inspire other children. 

The funds required are not minimal, but they are not exorbitant: $3,600 per child ($900/year for four years). So far, about $8,000 has been pledged, enough for at least two children. But these kids are doing so well in the after-school program that we expect 7 of them to qualify for the top national secondary schools!

Today we met with the scholarship candidates. We thought it would motivate you to donate if you could "meet" these children and hear their stories. The natural light in the room was too dim for clear photographs, but you can still appreciate these incredible young people.

Teacher Evelyne asked the kids to talk about themselves: their family, their interests, their goals. She herself spoke first to give the children an example, then I spoke a bit about my life. All very upbeat.

I had no idea what would happen next - neither did the teachers.

The first child spoke so powerfully and emotionally about her life that she ended up in tears. Child after child wanted to talk about being hungry, being derided for living in the slum, having parents abandon them, experiencing the death of a parent. Many of the children were crying as they told their stories.

But all the children ended up saying something positive. They spoke about wanting to be doctors, teachers, airline pilots, writers. They know they need to work hard and get good grades, but they believe that they WILL achieve those goals. And they thank God for keeping them alive and enabling them to be what they know they can be.

Words cannot express how inspiring these children were.  I kept thinking how strong and brave they were just to come to school each day. 

Founder Lilly Oyare and the teachers explained later that it was therapeutic for the children to share these stories. Simply having someone listen to them provides healing. 

I "know" about the difficulties of life in Kibera, but when a child tells you that after both her parents died she lived with a series of other families and now lives in an orphanage in the slum - and then says she thanks God for the opportunity to go to school and work hard - well, it puts everything in perspective. 

I want to honor how brave these kids are, and even though it was wrenching to hear these stories, it certainly made me feel that it would be a privilege to send any of them to secondary school. These are children who can change the world.

We hope you agree and ask you to donate to the Little Rock Scholars Program. Every little bit helps.

Click on the Donate page and change a young person's life forever!


  1. I am following all your amazing stories as they unfold. I am touched beyond believe by the courageous stories of these young children and by your capacity to bring this out of them. Your efforts will affect these children's lives. Thank you for what you do.

  2. I'm so glad their courage came through. They have had to grow up way too young. I wanted to honor their strength. And I do believe these are people who can change the world. Thanks for your support and your encouragement.

  3. Thank you so much for coming to Kenya, listening to the children's story already gave some healing in them and I pray that the Lord may provide the resources needed to enable the children attain their dreams, I strongly believe that they will transform Kenya and the world as a whole

  4. I agree 100%. These are children who have the strength to change the world.