A Path to a Brighter Future
Project 24 is changing the lives of young people in Kenya.
Hellen Jennifer joined the Project 24 (P24) program in 2015, and for the past nine years it has been an integral part of her life. Growing up, Hellen’s family faced financial challenges, and she was nearly forced to drop out of school when they couldn’t afford the mandatory school fees.
But with P24, everything changed for Hellen. “Immediately [after] I joined the program, my life changed for the better. It has catered for my daily needs. I love that every Christmas we are gifted, and we take the gifts back home to share with our families. Thank you so much for paying my school fees,” Hellen says.
Project 24 is a collaboration between The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya. Through its sponsorship program Christ’s Care for Children: Kenya, it connects donors with children who reside in one of the eight Project 24 boarding facilities in Kenya.
Hellen thanks the program for instilling in her the values of camaraderie, patience and prayerfulness, which have played a vital role in her personal growth. Not only has the program met her daily needs, but it has also given her hope for a brighter future.
A highlight for her has been the opportunity to deepen her faith by participating in the Pre-Lutheran Academy at Matongo Lutheran Theological College, which was created to strengthen students’ faith before they attend college. The program has deepened her appreciation for her Lutheran identity by providing her with a better understanding of the historical context of the Lutheran church’s origins and Martin Luther’s struggles.
“I loved meeting and interacting with my brothers and sisters in the program from all sites every year and challenging our knowledge on the teachings of the catechism and the history of the Lutheran church. The most enjoyable part is how I am a Lutheran, justified by grace through the faith on … account of Christ,” she says.
Hellen’s sponsors are also an essential part of her life, and she is immensely grateful for their generosity. Through their letters to each other, Hellen not only shares her experiences and gratitude but also learns about her sponsors’ lives in a different country. “I love writing to them, and reading their letters, and getting to know how different the weather in their country is from ours. I love reading about the family and seeing the pictures they attach,” she says.
Currently, Hellen is pursuing a diploma in Early Childhood Education at Matongo Lutheran Teachers Training College. Her choice of this program was influenced by her desire to nurture young children and prepare them for primary school education. Looking ahead, Hellen’s future goal is to establish her own nursery school.
“I plan to start my own nursery school so that I can take care of the kids and nurture them as the Project 24 site I lived in has done for me,” she says.
As the years have passed, Hellen has experienced remarkable personal and spiritual growth. Her faith has flourished, leading her to consider studying to become a deaconess after completing her diploma course. As she reflects on her journey, she expresses deep gratitude to God for His protection and mercy in her life.
Shared ministries administrative assistant at the LCMS Africa field office in Nairobi, Kenya.