Does Direct Giving Work?
Our Angel Investor program started a little over two years ago. It’s a real one-to-one direct giving program, where a committed CMMB donor gets the opportunity to connect with a person living in extreme poverty to help alleviate suffering by providing access to that person’s most urgent needs, like food, water, and healthcare.
Today, our social worker in Kenya, Joseph Musau, shares a story to help illustrate just how powerful this program is by telling Ngena’s amazing story.
Joyful, hardworking and determined. These are the words that best describe Ngena, a widow and mother of five children living in a very remote and impoverished community in Kenya. Despite the many challenges she has faces in her life, Ngena has courage.
When I first met Ngena’s children two years ago, they were being cared for by their elderly grandmother, Grace. Ngena, overwhelmed by poverty, and ashamed that she couldn’t care for her own children, had left in search of work. Grandma Grace was now their only caretaker. Grace was trying her best to care for the children, but her age and a lack of options, made every day challenging. She had very little to feed her grandchildren and hardly any extra money to send them to school.
Two of these children, Muluki and Mutiso, became part of the Angel Investor program. They started receiving monthly deliveries of food and water purification tablets. The children’s school fees were covered and they started getting back to learning.
As the weight of poverty began to slowly lift from his family, Ngena returned home to her children. She saw her children getting healthier and doing well in school. She started to feel encouraged and motivated. For the first time in her life, she believed that she could make her life and the life of her children better.
“I celebrate and welcome our Angel Investors. I used to have no idea how to make life better for my children. However, after seeing all the good things this support has brought to us, I decided to sit down and reflect on how I could work hard to move to the next level. When the gap of buying food and school fees was filled, I felt a huge sense of relief, but I had to analyze our other needs.
We had a very tiny house – if you can call it that. I dreamed of building a big and modern house for my family. I worked with the CMMB team to come up with ideas and a plan to build a better house for my family. So, I started baking bricks to sell to people in my community. The process was tough, but I had to pull my socks up and work hard to achieve my dream! I baked 7,000 bricks and earned $700, enough to start the construction of our new house.
Today, my dream has come true. I worked hard. Instead of waiting for something good to happen, I made something good happen. I am a happy mother sleeping in a good house with my children. May God bless the people who support my family. My prayer is that God always protects them.”
A Tale of Two Houses. The house on the right is where Ngena and her children used to live. Here she stands proudly in front of the house she built.
In Kenya, the Angel Investor program provides a helping hand to the most vulnerable. It brings relief when it is needed most. And once the most basic needs are met, together with the family, we focus on how to create sustainable change. We want to empower the families that we work with by giving them the tools to improve their own lives.
It’s a matter of listening closely. Over the past two years I have met such strong, amazing women. There is hope here, with these families. Perhaps that is the best gift of all – the gift of hope, of believing that things can get better.
This piece was written by Joseph Musau, a CMMB social worker and a real life angel. Joseph heads our Angel Investor program in Kenya and is the KEY to its success. He is responsible for identifying the most vulnerable families in the communities where we serve, delivering care, monitoring and communicating progress, and finding ways to ensure sustainable change.