Thirty-two years ago, with 3 young children in tow, Irene started attending a new church in an affluent part of downtown Nairobi. Surrounded by international consulates, embassies and ambassador residences, this church offered Irene a sense of security as she sought to minister to the affluent neighborhood. But soon, she discovered the other side of the hill.
Tucked behind the embassies and gated homes was a pitted, dirt road with a gate – not to keep people out, but to keep the slum dwellers in – trapped in lives of extreme poverty, ostracized from the opulence around them. It would be several years later that Irene would choose to step past the gate and enter their world of extreme poverty. What she discovered was cycles of poverty and powerlessness which cemented their feelings of hopelessness. She quickly realized the value of her degree in Education and knew she had to act.
This was the beginning of the New Dawn Educational Center – a secondary school for children in the slum who otherwise would be forced to end their education after primary school. Since the founding in 2002, Irene has been the chief champion for nearly 400 students who have walked the halls of this high school. When we asked her why she said “Christ’s love compels me to make the most of the time I have here on earth – it is awfully short and people are desperately in need of love! I felt compelled to show this love of God practically to the people of Huruma whose lives spoke of a people who had reason not to believe in a loving God.”
Irene goes on to say “Not all human needs require financial solutions; God provides us all that we need to create solutions that witness to His love, forgiveness, and material provision for the nations. He raises us for such a time as this.”
When we asked her how you can continue to help, Irene’s reply was “you can help me do this better by praying for me to overcome my inner limitations. You can come here and help me love on the New Dawn community. We love each other better by genuinely caring – this is demonstrated through giving time to each other and sharing material things.” We couldn’t agree more! Check out how these US partners are choosing to love Irene in person this month.
Throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be showcasing the ways we see loved people love people across our network. We’d love to hear from you! Why do you give or volunteer? How have you been loved? Share your story with us on our Facebook page or hashtag #lovedpeoplelovepeople and we’ll send you an African Leadership magnet!