How We Started

The Hope Factory began in November 2011, when a group of disadvantaged and orphaned children in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, came to our attention.  These children had already been blessed by the intervention and sacrificial love of a Kenyan pastor and his wife, themselves residents of the slums.  They had founded a school in 2008 to feed and teach children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to receive an education, nor even balanced nutrition.  In the squalid conditions seen below, without the benefit of electricity or plumbing, the school began with the pastor’s wife and her two sisters as volunteer teachers.


Shortly after its founding, the school and its surrounding buildings were demolished. They were able to rent the upstairs portion of another building, still without electricity, and the enrollment grew to 38 children.

The first official act of The Hope Factory came in December 2011, when we sent funds for a Christmas present for each child, and enough food to tide their families over during the Christmas break.  (For many of these children, the only meals they are assured of getting, are the two meager meals served at school each day.)  At that time, we suggested to the school’s founders that they look for a house to rent where they could move the school into a cleaner, safer environment until we could raise the funds to build a permanent structure.  Within two days, they located what we affectionately call “The Pink House.”  We had discussed the possibility of hiring a matron to cook and clean, and having her live in the house for security purposes.  As it turned out, the house they found is actually a duplex – one complete unit upstairs, and another downstairs.  We were able to rent both units and actually move the pastor and his family of seven into the upstairs, transforming the downstairs into classrooms, library, school office, and kitchen.

When the children returned to school on January 2, 2012, they did so in a much cleaner, safer environment!  God is good!

At that point, we had enough money set aside from donations by our Board Members to carry the rent and utilities for 20 months.  However, we were in hopes of not only raising the funds to eventually build a permanent school, but also of supplementing the food budget.  Because of the astronomical increase in food prices in Kenya, that became a real challenge, complicated by the fact that student enrollment jumped from 38 to 60 children immediately upon occupancy of the new facility.  It seemed that everyone in the vicinity wanted their children in this lovely new school.

With a special gift, The Hope Factory was able to supply a refrigerator and gas stove for the new school.  Up until that time, the teachers had been cooking for the children over a charcoal pot, without the benefit of electricity, much less, refrigeration.  Another gift enabled us to build partitions for the classrooms and provide a teacher’s desk and chairs for the office.

Along with the increase in the number of students came the need for additional teachers.  One of the original three had found it necessary to leave in order to take a paying job.  Sixty students with only two teachers, who not only taught, but also prepared and served the meals, was untenable.  We were able to hire four new teachers and a matron who were willing to work for a few dollars a month until we could raise the funds for their salaries.  In April 2012, we were able to begin sending an additional $300 for meager salaries for five of the teachers, $60 each for the month.

During the summer of 2012, Board Members John and Mary Catherine Holley spent two months in Kenya, at their own expense, ministering to the needs of the school, which by then had grown to 82 children.  The reports of their activities are archived on this site, and provide a detailed account of their work.  In a huge leap of faith, they were able to relocate the teachers from their sub-standard living conditions to a new facility, just two blocks from the school.  God graciously provided the funds to cover that added expense by the time the Holleys returned to the United States!  They were also able to add additional support staff to relieve the incredible burden on the teachers.  Here’s a picture of the entire crew.

When Mary Catherine returned in January 2013 to reopen a clinic in Western Kenya, she surprised everyone at the school when she popped through the pink gate during the Welcoming Ceremony for Dr. McClure and his family.

Kenya 022She was herself surprised to find, not 82, but 120 children.

Kenya 034The school now occupies all three floors of The Pink House, and is extremely overcrowded. Please pray for these children and their teachers and directors as they seek to give them an education, a solid spiritual foundation, and enough food to grow into healthy, happy, well-balanced adults!

Update:  October 2014.  The Hope Factory is now in a position to “expand our territory” and establish an orphan community in Western Kenya (Kiwanda Cha Tumaini), complete with a new school, church, clinic, school of theology, farming and dairy operations, and businesses to help support its staff. God is good! All the time! That is His nature!

4 comments on “How We Started

  1. Murithi says:

    This is great. God bless this childrens and all of you.

  2. May God bless The Hope Factory and the donors for bringing the school this far. May he also bless the leaders, and give them the wisdom and the strength to take the school and the precious children ever further. 🙂

  3. This is a great commendable job! Glory to God!

  4. Etiang Hamisi says:

    God is good all the time and this is truly Gods Hand!

    In the last week of November and first week of December 2016, I was in Shikomari, in Western Kenya within Kakamega County as part of the pastors and church leaders at the Hope of Africa School of Theology. I fell in love with the Kiwanda Cha Tumaini Christian Academy, and if given a chance, on voluntary basis I would like to share my artistic skills in making all sorts of creative ways to make wonderful games and handicrafts using rubbish and recycled materials that can be collected in my own home, or from friends, or from the local grocery store. These games are perfect for pre-primary schools, early childhood centres, art classes, after school programmes, and even at home. None of them require special equipment or take up a lot of space. They are all designed for inside a room or under a tree. All our children deserve the same opportunities to play and to learn.

    All children need to play. Play teaches children problem solving and coordination skills, as well as skills of communication and social interaction. Depending on the particular game, play helps children increase their knowledge of basic colours, words, logic, geography, and mathematics.

    God bless you all, Hongera! (Congratulations!)

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