MTWAPA, Kenya — Many Hopes is a nonprofit organization that builds homes for orphaned girls and schools for children to directly combat extreme poverty in Mtwapa, Kenya. Many Hopes was initially funded by donors with the goal to create a sustainable model so that ultimately they can completely be weaned off donor support. Sustainability is generated by establishing local businesses whose profits are returned to support the homes and schools.
Many Hopes currently operates out of the “100 percent Model,” which allows every penny of each donation to go toward their mission. This is made possible by existing private donors and members who have pledged to pay for their overhead and operating costs. This methodology strategically eliminates any skepticism that a potential donor may have about the effectiveness of their donation. Furthermore, Many Hopes is committed to financial transparency and reports are published quarterly.
The first home from Many Hopes was named Mudzini Kwetu and opened in Mtwapa. The homes can house about 15 girls each and house mothers who look after them. Most of the children come from backgrounds of extreme poverty, and are often survivors of rape, child prostitution and violence, victims of injustice and a broken system. The housing compound also has a child psychologist who helps the children deal with traumatic incidences from the past and a child rights activist who fights in court for their justice.
The home only accepts girls who are six or younger. They believe that when these girls mature in stature, age and education in the next 20 to 30 years, they will be equipped to become leaders who will change the systems of government to bring real justice.
In addition to providing homes, Many Hopes prioritizes making sustainable solutions to keep the home running. They believe that there is no sign of growth or development if donors have to pay for the same thing for years. Therefore, Many Hopes has designed these community initiatives as a source of revenue to continue funding these types of homes.
One community project is building a school with top-notch education. They charge a small fee per student, but hope to attract future students by producing top scores. The more students enrolled, the greater number of profits that they can make, which in turn goes to support Mudzini Kwetu and other homes.
Homes like Mudzini Kwetu are vital because not only do they foster a safe environment, they also protect children from systems that perpetuate injustice.
Mtwapa is only 15 kilometers northeast of Mombasa, a port city and the country’s second-largest city. Mombasa’s coastal location makes it a breeding ground for illegal activity, including child prostitution with children from extremely poor backgrounds. The level of prostitution attracts both Kenyans and foreigners alike, and as a result Mtwapa has become one of the fastest-growing areas in Kenya for exploiting the vulnerable.
As a result, development projects have spiked, but Mtwapa is far from being an urban area. It is sprawled with many informal settlements and many areas lack roads and electricity. UN Habitat has been working in Mtwapa on a “slum upgrading” program since 2008.
Despite the attention that Mombasa and Mtwapa has gotten, development projects and growth levels do not mean the poor are protected. Rather, exploitation of the poor continues to occur with shocking regularity.
Many Hopes is doing their part to raise an entire generation in safety to lead the way toward justice in Kenya.
– Christina Cho
Sources: All Africa, Many Hopes, UN Habitat
Photo: Irish Central