|My Dad, Mom and me back in 1974|
This month marks the 10th anniversary of Kupenda’s official existence as a nonprofit and today happens to be my birthday. The two are kind of connected considering I most likely would not have started the organization if I was born with two hands instead of just the one. One of the reasons I decided to help these kids is that I was told that I might have been killed at birth if I had been born in Kenya. Most of you, who are familiar with our work, know that some still believe that people with disabilities have somehow been cursed and/or they lack understanding of what people, with disabilities, are capable of. Many Kenyans are still quite shocked to see me drive. On my last trip a small child in a rural area poked his head in the car as I was driving away and said, with a shocked face “Dema” (Giriama for “she is able”). Although I never liked identifying myself as “disabled” (still don’t feel entirely comfortable), I know it is a bridge to connect me with the children and families we serve in Kenya. A major focus of Kupenda for the children is to provide support for parents of children with disabilities so I often find myself sharing the story of my birth and upbringing when speaking about our work in both Kenya and the U.S. I thought you might like to read the story for yourselves.
When I first met these children I was just a graduate student doing research for my master’s degree in wildlife biology. I decided to get some assistance for the children who were selected to attend the school for special needs I passed every day. However, I didn’t imagine then that the 15 children, I had family and friends support to attend special needs school, would grow into an organization that serves over 600 children with disabilities on the coast of Kenya. I definitely didn’t think we would be an official nonprofit and now we have been for 10 years! Man, I’m getting so old.
|My sister with some of the first kids we supported in 1999|
I’ve witnessed children walk that could not even crawl, and entire families transformed by what God is doing through Kupenda. However, there is so much to do and so many more children to assist especially during this uncertain time in Kenya.
Would you be willing to join our efforts by donating $10 for every year of Kupenda’s existence ($100) or $1 for every year of mine ($39)? It might lessen the blow as I enter the last year of my thirties.
Thank you for all the ways you support Kupenda and me. We couldn’t do any of it without people like you.
With much love and appreciation.
Kupenda for the Children