A Sense of Belonging

In Kenya, to wear a school uniform is the single most visible element of any school.  People know you are a serious student and a part of a specific school family by the uniform you wear.  March is the month that our new NEEMA students receive their very own uniform: a skirt, blouse, sweater, shoes and socks.  These articles of clothing provide a deep sense of belonging and pride that they are part of a specific community.  

With the addition of our NEEMA Shop in Kibomet last year, we are now able to contract our own shop, run by our third year students, to make each uniform.  It is exciting to see how all of these components are working together as those who are nearing graduation, are the very ones sewing the uniforms for those who will follow in their steps.  

 

Guardian Gathering Highlights

At NEEMA, we recognize the whole family plays an important role in the life of each young women in our care.  In March, we held 2 gatherings for the guardians of each NEEMA girl.  We were thankful to have 100% attendance, allowing us the opportunity to interact and build relationships with so many family members.  The staff share the goals for the year, review the rules, and discuss highlights from the launch of the new year.  Another highlight, is the first year girls greeting their family members in their brand new NEEMA uniforms.  It is symbolic of each one successfully walking through the probationary period and settling into their role as a NEEMA student for the next 3 years.

A large part of what takes place during this time together is gathering information on how the girls appear to be doing at home, as daughters, mothers, sisters, community members.  The guardians are encouraged to take an active role in talking with the girls about their futures and what will come next for them.  

A highlight of these gatherings is hearing reports on how the girls have changed since beginning their time at NEEMA.  At our recent gathering, Virginia's sisters shared,

We don't even recognize this girl now that she is at NEEMA.  What have you done with her?  She is no longer cheeky.  She is now a preacher at home.   

The guardians are engaged, they are thankful, they are supportive of the staff and they are doing their part to come alongside these young women. It is having a powerful impact on the journey each young woman is on and we are truly thankful for their involvement.

The Life Changing Gift of Hearing

There are moments that remind us of how personal our God is, how intricately He works and cares for us individually. Recent provision for a NEEMA student named Lewin has been one of these reminders. A second year student, Lewin developed hearing impairment after falling ill as a young child. She was initially denied the opportunity to come to NEEMA because of this disability and the staff’s concern they would not be able to teach her. After the persistence from her grandfather, requesting we allow her the chance to try, Lewin was admitted to NEEMA in 2016. Over the past year she has excelled despite her limitations, reading lips to follow along in class and working hard to progress in each skill she learns. Other students and staff members had begun noticing Lewin participating in worship, joining in singing songs of praise, and her grandfather who sees her on weekends remarks of the joyful expressions he hears coming from her. It seemed Lewin had been regaining some of her hearing. Not long after Lewin’s admittance to NEEMA Project, she was paired with a US sponsor who has been supporting her. Here’s where it gets special - Lewin’s sponsor happens to have a close relative who is hearing impaired. Neither Lewin nor her supporter knew of this connection between them until their relationship had already begun. When her sponsor found out about Lewin’s hearing impairment, she inquired to see if hearing aids would be of assistance.  A test was conducted, which proved Lewin would gain the ability to hear with the assistance of hearing aids. Thanks to the generosity of her sponsor and friend who recently shared her prayer is that the gift of hearing would, “truly help her feel God’s presence even MORE as she hears His wonderful world.”

This week, Lewin received hearing aids that will change her career and future. Today, she gleefully posed for photos and delighted, “thank you so much, I can even hear the sound of my flip flops.”

That is the personalness of our God, the individual vision and care that brings together two people like Lewin and her sponsor from worlds apart, to awaken in one another the greater experience of who He is and the wonderful world He has called us to.