The Tumaini Story
THE TUMAINI STORY-TOLD BY DR. STANLEY MUTUNGA, CEO & FOUNDER
"I was born and raised in Kenya by Christian parents. The last born in a family of 10, I had the responsibility of taking care of the few family animals— a couple goats, sheep and cows—a chore that delayed the start of my schooling. Actually, I didn’t get a chance to start school until I was 12 years old. Although it has been many years now, I still remember the excitement I felt when I was told that I could join school.
In early 2000s, I lost several members of my extended family members back in Kenya to AIDS. At the time I was Dean of the Graduate School & Professor at Hope International University in California, USA and therefore a little further removed from the realities of the disease in Kenya. As I soon found out, during those early years of the epidemic in the sub-Saharan Africa, the saying was that everybody was either infected and/or affected by the AIDS scourge. I remember visiting Kenya those early days and could not help but notice that making caskets on the road stalls was one of the fastest growing businesses across the country. Reportedly, an average of 700 people were dying every day from AIDS
This family tragedy opened my eyes into the plight of myriads of AIDS orphans who were not as fortunate to have an extended family help meet their basic needs. Orphans as young as eight years old were helping care for their dying parents, and these children were quickly becoming “parents” to their younger siblings. Grandparents were being forced to become parents again to take care of their grandchildren. This was a double jeopardy because in those cultures, children are the “social security” of their parents so when their children died in their prime grandparents by default became economic causalities.
My wife Rose and I felt the Lord calling us to respond in some tangible way, and that is when we founded Tumaini International as a conduit to garner support from friends and churches in the U.S and Kenya to assist these children. Our vision was very clear. We wanted to create a sustainable child sponsorship program. We also wanted to create an avenue where both the sponsor and the recipient can meet and/or correspond and learn from each other and develop a mutual relationship. More than a decade later, this goal continues to be realized through Vision Trips and regular correspondence.
A unique aspect of Tumaini child sponsorship is that we do not build orphanages. Instead, we initiated a model which is now commonly referred to as Extended Family Care (EFC). This ensures that children do no move from their familiar environment. Rather they stay with extended family members throughout the sponsorship period. Though we continue to sponsored AIDS orphans, we have expanded sponsorship to cover Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in general in order to meet the growing need for our services. Also, in addition to child sponsorship, Tumaini has expanded services to comprehensively cover other key components of mitigating extreme poverty. These other areas include education, healthcare and socio-economic development.
Tumaini has also expanded geographically. When we started in 2002, were sponsoring only 15 orphans AIDS in Machakos County, SE Kenya. A dozen years later, we are sponsoring an average of 1100 annually in 7 Counties across Kenya. We also have a medical clinic where we treat on average 3000 patients and another 1500 through mobile clinic services. In education we have graduated over 700 alumni who are now pursuing various careers. We also own a Girls only boarding high school with plans to build a Boys High school as well. Through our socio-economic programs, we are partnering with 7 community based organizations (CBOs) with a membership of nearly 200 and benefiting over 1000 poor people.
I am grateful for what we have accomplished so far. However, I believe that our best days are ahead of us. There are still millions of AIDS orphans and OVCs all across the sub-Saharan Africa. We hope to keep expanding our services in the aforementioned areas so that we can mitigate extreme poverty not just in Kenya but beyond. Please call us today and join this movement of…bringing hope where there is no hope…one child at a time…one village at a time …one community at a time and one country at a time.
- Stanley M. Mutunga, Ph.D.,
President/CEO Tumaini International
Dr. Mutunga is the author of the book, No Longer Forgotten, available at Advantage Books.