Who Are We

1998: Humble, grassroot beginnings

In 1998, Pastor Peter Midodo and his wife Rachel lived in the slums of Awendo, Kenya. Everyday, they saw young children in the street around their house, not going to school. One day, they invited some of them in for a cup of porridge, and Rachel started teaching them how to read and write. The next day, the same children came back, with friends, and the next day, even more friends. Within six months, they had around 100 children coming every day. At the time, Peter was making $70/month as a public school teacher, and Rachel was spending all her time taking care of the children. Peter started to build makeshift classrooms (3 total), one after the other, on his 40x80ft plot of land. This is how their home became a school that they named the Joy Baby Complex, still operating today.

 

2003: Peter and Derek meet

In 2001, Peter got a scholarship to come to the US and study as a pastor. In 2003, Peter met Pastor Derek Bevan, of Corinth, NY. He told him his story, shared his vision of helping children in need at the Joy Baby Complex, which Rachel continued to run while Peter was away. In May 2003, Peter told their story at Derek’s church, during a Sunday service, and requested help to buy some land to expand. They received $4,000. This sum combined with Peter & Rachel’s savings and other donations purchased the land on which he would eventually build the Joy Schools International in Ndhiwa, after graduating as a pastor and returning home. The Joy Schools International grew to serve around 150 children from preschool to 3rd grade. All the while, the Joy Baby Complex continued to serve the community at its maximum capacity of about 120 preschool students.

 

2006: Hope for Kenya is created

In 2006, Peter visited Derek again, and showed the progress allowed by his church’s donations. Impressed with all the work, Derek and volunteers from his church started Hope for Kenya, a US non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting Peter’s vision and heart for children. Over the following years, they raised money to support the construction of the 8 classrooms and a water tower at the Joy Schools International.

 

2009: First visit to Kenya

A group of volunteers visited the schools for the first time in 2009, and in increasing frequency, groups came back. Currently, two groups of 10 to 16 people visit every year, in February and October.

The first groups came to work on projects, like building desks, a dormitory, or a water well. Over time, though, the focus of the trips changed to interacting with students on a daily basis, in the classrooms, on the playgrounds, etc. These visits are now a cornerstone of Hope for Kenya: you are invited to come, experience the work yourself, and participate on the ground. Meeting the children, the staff, seeing what has been built, and what still needs to be built, fuels the organization.

 

2014: The sponsorship program

By 2013, the Joy Schools International had expanded to 8th grade, with a student headcount of approximately 300, more than half of which were boarding students. Until then, Hope for Kenya was raising money to fund construction & renovation projects. But in 2014, Hope for Kenya decided it was time to focus on individual students even more directly, and created a sponsorship program. During each visit since, Peter sets up interviews, and Philip, the team’s videographer, records the stories posted on Hope for Kenya’s website. Sponsors can choose a child and start a personal connection with a student, whose progress they can follow until they graduate.

 

Beyond 8th grade

As students graduated out of the Joy School, Hope for Kenya needed to find high schools that would allow and appreciate the sponsor-student relationship. Peter identified and built relationships with two high schools (Bishop Odera High School and Nyatambe High School) and now sponsors can continue to support and follow their student through high school, and even college.

 

First graduates

As of May 2017, over 200 sponsored students attend the Joy Schools International (out of 320 students total), 26 sponsored students attend one of the partnering high schools. Already, 4 students are waiting to attend college in September, while another student graduated from trade school and is now running his own plumbing business. Hope for Kenya still raises money for projects on behalf of the Joy Schools International and the two partnering high schools.