Recently a group of five lake area residents traveled to the Mathare Slums of Nairobi, Kenya to meet with a group of 60 students they currently sponsor through secondary boarding school education scholarships.

 Recently a group of five lake area residents traveled to the Mathare Slums of Nairobi, Kenya to meet with a group of 60 students they currently sponsor through secondary boarding school education scholarships.

Larry and Brooklyn White, Greg and Shelly Vaughn and Hellen Armstrong are a part of a group called LAMB – Lake Area Mission Builders, an organization in Camdenton that exists to bring hope through education in Jesus’ name.

The Mathare Slums where they traveled is in the heart of Nairobi and consists of 3 square miles which over 600,000 people call it home. It is the second largest slum in Africa. The degree of poverty is truly heartbreaking. Approximately 300,000 of the residents are school-aged children and many are orphans. One in three are HIV positive and their life expectancy is less than five years. The homes they live in are shanties, clean running water is a luxury, and electricity is scarce. Hope for a brighter future and life outside the slums exists only through education, which is out of reach for most who reside there.

In 2013 a team from the lake area went to Nairobi to the Mathare Slum on an initial fact finding mission. The team was encouraged by a native Kenyan, Hellen Armstrong who is now a Camdenton resident, to visit the MCEDO primary school in the midst of Mathare and see if there was anything that could be done for the children. The MCEDO primary school educates over 392 children and for most, it is where they receive their one meal of the day. Jacob De’ and Erick Ochieng run the school and they love and care deeply for the children. Their prayer is for each of the children to pass a test at the end of their primary school education so that they may qualify to attend a secondary boarding school outside of the slum. This secondary school provides the child with an education, room and board, and most importantly, hope.

Hope for a future. 

But secondary school is typically out of reach for the children of Mathare. The children’s families, if they have any, typically do not have the means to send them to school, which on average costs $650 per year. So, instead the girls are married off at a young age or turn to prostitution, and the the boys often find themselves stuck in the slums and many turn to alcohol.

After the initial trip in 2013, God touched the hearts of many in the group to do something for the children of Mathare to let them know they are loved and not forgotten. Two years after that initial trip, a team from Lake Area Mission Builders, LAMB, prayerfully set out to start sending a few children to secondary boarding school. They stepped out in faith and committed to putting 20 kids through 4 years of secondary school. But God had much bigger plans. Each year a new group of students qualifies to attend secondary school and LAMB is now in it’s third year and sending 60 kids! They are praying God continues to bless them with donors to add an additional 20 each year.  

“This trip was encouraging and confirmational for our project,” said LAMB president Larry White. “We got to see actual results and meet with the students who had been taken from the slums and placed into secondary boarding schools because of our scholarships. It is not only giving them hope because they are getting out of the slums, but hope for the future because they are getting an education. It is also providing hope and encouragement to their families and to the Mathare community.”

Donations for scholarships have come from individual donors, local churches and organizations. LAMB also parks cars for all of the summer concerts held at the Shawnee Bluff Vineyards to raise money to sponsor students. 100% of every donation goes directly to the student and is tax deducitble.

 “Our hope going forward is to provide education opportunities to as many children in Mathare as possible. For $650 per year we can provide one student hope for a future out of Mathare. We are constantly looking for sponsors – individuals, churches, businesses or groups, whether it’s one student or 10, we depend on the support of generous donors. LAMB intends to offer donors the opportunity each August to travel to Mathare and see the project for themselves. The need is so great.”

If you would like more information on LAMB and the Mathare Project or the vision trip to Kenya next August, or to have White speak to your church or group, call 402-239-8130 or visit www.lakearemissionbuilders.org.