KHOPE International was the brainchild of Sandy Kain and Michael Schneiders. Several years ago Sandy became involved, with her son Matt, in a home building project in the impoverished village of La Morita, Mexico a colonias of Tijuana.
Michael working with the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi, Kenya started the Nairobi Street Kids Project, which evolved into a boarding school for the girls of the slums named “The Cardinal Maurice Otunga Empowerment Center for Girls.” The school began in 2004 with $5000.00 and 15 girls; today the school accommodates over 90 girls.
Sandy and Michael both realized that for their programs to grow and to be able to assist more children in need, a more formal organization was needed and KHOPE International was born.
KHOPE International’s mission remains the same as it was when they started: To provide financial and hands-on support for the basic needs of children living in poverty regardless of nationality, race, gender, politics or religious affiliations, through direct scholarships or grants to organizations that directly support children.
KHOPE continues to be a primary source of funding for the CMO Empowerment Center for Girls in Kenya but has also reached out to help children around the world and at home.
Through their partnership with the City of American Canyon, KHOPE has become an important part of families in need in our home community. To date KHOPE has donated over $10,000 to support various projects here in American Canyon.
KHOPE, working through KIVA.org has facilitated micro-loans to impoverished families in over 60 different countries. The micro-loans are made to families who want to start or build a small business to make the lives of their children much better than their own.
The current members of the KHOPE Board of Directors are passionate, dedicated leaders of the community who are committed to making a difference all over the world. They continue to seek new ways to help children.
KHOPE does not issue grants to any reqifting organizations so they can guarantee that your support reaches the children they serve.
KHOPE International is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charitable foundation.
Original Vision and Mission:
To rehabilitate and empower girls from the streets and slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
The girls are empowered with skills which would help them to be economically reliable, so that they do not recede back to the streets and slums. They are able, in some small way, to earn their living in a decent manner by using the skills acquired. The girls are also taught English, Reading and Writing and Entrepreneur skills.
Girls are taught skills according to their interest and standard of education. Some of these are knitting, sewing, dressmaking, catering, cooking, nutrition and housekeeping.
Girls are between 14 and 20 years of age so that after 2 years of training they can get a job. The level of education is from illiterate to class 8. This means some have never gone to school, and others had done class 8.
The class 8' are the girls who came from a very poor background and had no chance to go to Secondary School or have any training. Most of these are from the slums and orphans due to HIV/Aids. All of the girls receive holistic empowerment; i.e. Socially, Spiritually, Morally etc. apart from economic skills.
It takes two years of this training. We follow them for a period of another two years to ascertain a proper environment. Girls are residential, thus we have to move them away from an environment that is conducive to drugs etc.
How did we get the Girls?
Social Workers go to slums and streets of Nairobi to convince the girls to abandon street life and come to be empowered. There is a Rescue Dada Centre (Save the Girl Child) where girls are rescued from the streets. After rehabilitation they will come to CMO for skill training. Otherwise they could recede back to the streets. A majority of these girls have graduated from various skills offered here at CMO.
Currently some have married and are happily living and bringing up their families. Others are employed in some business according to their skills. Some have even gone into their own small businesses and are living a happy life. To date, the beneficiaries of the CMO Centre are over 420 in number.
We currently have four (4) girls sent to us from other centers of girl/child rehabilitation. We are giving them skills which will help them settle in life. We have four (4) from good families, but they are not able to provide them with training skills. These families pay 60 US Dollars per year which is equivalent to Kes 6,000/-per year. This is to buy any training materials such as food products for catering, wool for knitting and clothes for sewing.
We now have 28 students from the slum areas of Nairobi. Nine (9) girls from very poor backgrounds, 11 from extreme poverty level, and another 11 rescued from abusive situations from their homes. We have 68 girls who are totally dependent upon us. These are the girls that KHOPE helps. The support you send us is extremely important to maintaining the level of education we can give these very bright young women.
We have 6 girls who have been very successful and have continued with their education. These girls are fortunate enough to have sponsors paying to further their education at colleges.
In January 2015 Board Meeting, a $3000 grant was awarded to CMO so that more girls from Nairobi can have an education. The money was from several donors!
We get food donations from well-wishers.
We make items like uniforms and sell them.
We sell baked snacks such as barns and cakes.
We make rosaries and necklaces which we also sell.
Fish pond and Harvested fish
We have a fish pond. When the fish are mature, we will start selling them.
All of these things are done to subsidize whatever you send.
The beautiful Centre with its wonderful facilities was given to us by the Archdiocese of Nairobi to use for empowering the girls. When people find us in such a magnificent building and wonderful facility, they think we are okay and we don’t need help. And I thank the diocese for giving us such facility. I don’t believe in housing the girls in a poor building. Our facility is to attract donors. These girls should at least relax in a nice clean facility to experience goodness of God in contrast to where they have come from.
This is our story. We hope to continue to save these girls from the slums by empowering them with a good education.
Cardinal Maurice Otunga
Street Girls Empowerment Centre
30th August 2013
Caroline is a very bright girl. She did her form four last year and she did very well, but she couldn’t go to any training to other colleges because her mother is HIV positive. Mum gets very sick very often and since she is a widow her husband died of HIV/AIDS. Caroline’s mum works casual jobs when she is out of hospital and the little she gets goes to drugs. So she is unable even to provide Caroline with basic needs.
Caroline is not positive but she knows the state of her mother and it worries her a lot, but she is helped by the school counselor. Caroline is taking a catering course hoping to secure a job to be able to care for her needs and buy drugs for her dear ailing mum.
Lastly, Caroline is in front of CMO Building, the beautiful facility I spoke about in the introduction.
Mary lives in Lunga Lunga Slums, south of Nairobi City. Her parents died of HIV/Aids. She lives with her old and sickly grandmother and her two siblings. The slum is in the worst place of Nairobi, and terrible things happen there. Mary with her grandma are often sexually abused.
The Social Worker rescued her and took her to Rescue Dada Girls Center for six months where she was rehabilitated. She came to CMO and is still undergoing counseling and rehabilitation.
She is doing a sewing course which we hope she will be able to get a simple job to help her and her siblings.
Amah was rescued from an abusive environment. At the age of 13, the poor girl was taking care of her HIV positive mother. The mother died in her hands and this affected her so much. Her elder sisters don’t like her. Even when she tried to live with one of them, she was made a slave in the family. The brother-in-law attempted several times to rape her, but she was rescued by a social worker on time.
She was very traumatized by the death of her mother, the bad treatment from her own sister and the attempted rapes by her brother-in-law. When she came to CMO, she started counseling sessions as we were unable handle her. Most of the time she could become hysterical. Now she is much better and happy. By the way, she is making some nice articles already. By the time she finishes the course here she will become assertive and be able to use the skills she is leaning to support herself.
Alice was rescued from early Marriage. At a tender age of 14, Alice was forced to marry a man of 78 years old. A social worker helped her to find her way out of the hostile community that believes a girl child is made for marriage. In her community girls even younger than she are given to marriage to men who are their great-grand-parents. This is a kind of rape and child abuse. She is happy to be with us and doesn’t want to remember the ordeal she went through. The counselor is journeying with her and soon she will be healed and gain self-esteem. By the end of two years she will not be able to be employed because she will be under-age, but we will help her to get a sponsor who could donate a sewing machine and little money to start making clothes for sale.
In summary CMO has not changed it original mission and vision, but we are giving more and better skills to help girls secure jobs more easily as life is changing. The skills we taught before were simple because we had girls who could not read or write. With the introduction of free primary education, a few years ago, most of the girls have gone at least to class 8.
So we don’t now teach writing and reading, but we teach languages – English and Kiswahili. The girls we get now are having the same problem as the girls we got earlier.
-Abusive environment (Sex Abuse)
-From slum areas of Nairobi
-Rescued from abusive environment child abuse
-Grade 8 class- eight
-Form 4 who have lost hope in life.
If we don’t do some empowering on them, they will be the mothers of slum children, unwanted pregnancies, HIV/Aids will spread. So we will continue to empower these girls but on a higher level; that is give them adequate skill training so that they can be economically stable and cope with current challenges in the society.
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