One of the many highlights of our travels in Kenya was meeting students who are part of the Leadership Development Program.
The Leadership Development Program identifies Compassion-assisted youth who have leadership potential and assists them with college tuition, textbooks and other school-related expenses
There were several opportunties to hear students share about their current studies, ambitions and career goals and to further value the impact that Compassion is making the lives of those they invest in.
While at Emmabwi Child Development Center about 20 miles northwest of Kisumu, Kenya I had a long conversation with a young man, Emmanuel. He is 23. He began his journey with Compassion at age 8 when he was first sponsored. He currently is studying to be a teacher.
I found it interesting that he learned of our being at this project via a posting on Facebook. The project was in a remote area and he had to ride his bike a ways to be with us. We had a great conversation at lunch about the impact that Child Sponsorship and the LDP had. He said that he knows he would not have survived to see his teenage years. He shared how life had been difficult and if it hadn’t been for Sister Mary, a member of the CDC program he would have given up many times.
He had been told that he had nothing to offer and would grow up to be a failure just like the other men in his family. But Sister Mary spoke words of encouragement when he felt discouraged. Emmanuel shared about his sponsor, a woman from Minnesota. Who had since he was age 8 wrote him. He showed me his portfolio filled with each letter from her. He spoke in terms as though he had just visited her at home. Just another reinforcement of how important the letters are that sponsors write.
Emmanuel hopes to come to the US to meet his sponsor and to further his education so he can return to Kenya and teach students.
The evening prior to my meeting Emmanuel, while at dinner at the hotel in Kisumu we also heard from 6 other students currently in the LDP. Equally each young man and woman we met, spoke with passion and authenticity about their journey from sponsored child through high school and then as a sponsored student in the LDP.
Being born into poverty doesn’t stop the world’s best and brightest students. They are eager to learn, eager to make a difference in the world. And they are precisely the reason the Leadership Development Program was created.
Incredible life changing stuff! You can learn more about the LDP here.