Step 1 – Hope Restored: Christ and Community
Loneliness and hopelessness are real parts of life as an orphan in Naivasha. To restore hope, Panua youth experience God’s love in small group settings of 15-25 youth from the same neighborhood. These Youth Groups meet weekly under the guidance of a neighborhood mentor and Panua staff. As they begin the journey of spiritual and emotional encouragement and accountability together, they eagerly become a community of extended family to one another.
“I have found friends in the group I consider as brothers and sisters whom I can share my sadness, happiness and life experience with them.”
– Mary, Panua Youth
Step 2 – Life Skills Training
Staff members, group mentors and community partners provide training and support to the youth to help them reach their goal of a healthy, safe and financially secure household. Panua youth are taught basic life skills that they lacked because of their circumstances.
Step 3 – Vocational Training and Entrepreneurship
Panua helps meet basic household needs, sends siblings to school, and provides funding so that the youth head of household can gain a marketable skill that will last a lifetime. Following vocational and entrepreneurship training, the Panua youth can receive funding to start a business of their own, with Panua staff to guide them.
“I was earning just $1 per day and I had to use the whole $1 just for transport. I was given $35 for potatoes to plant on my half-acre. I now have one acre and I can employ 4-10 workers. I pay for my siblings’ education and provide for all our needs. “
– George, Panua Graduate 2013
Panua is a transformational ministry that works to expand the opportunities for vulnerable children and youth to overcome poverty, insecurity, malnutrition, and illness in order to achieve long-term sustainability…and a life filled with hope.
Panua Partners in Hope is a three-year program empowering youth-led households. Each family of children and youth stays intact, living in their own households and become part of a larger network of other youth-led families. This keeps siblings together with extended families and communities, allowing them to grow with the support of a family environment.
Panua Partners in Hope currently serves approximately 700 young people living in 166 households.
Each participant is selected for the program by village elders or community leaders. Each household is assigned to a Panua Community Group which includes 18-20 households and a mentor household. Panua Youth Groups often become like extended family, as they meet weekly to learn about God, support one another through emotional issues, receive life-skills training, and share their dreams for the future. Often, these youth groups are truly a life-line through difficult struggles, allowing young people who have taken on serious life challenges to understand they are not alone. These groups also assist individual members financially through group loans and income generating activities.
6 Key Program Components
The Partners in Hope program embraces the well being of the whole child by focusing on:
Food and Housing Security
Many orphans and vulnerable children support siblings while only eating once or twice a week themselves. To help provide a reliable, nutritious food source for all family members, Panua Partners in Hope provides households with basic assets for sustainability. Participants also receive nutritional education and training in resourcing food. Each family is also ensured an adequate and safe place to live.
Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being
To help combat loneliness and hopelessness that are real parts of life in Naivasha, Panua participants learn about God’s love and the hope for the future that He offers all children. Weekly Panua Youth Group meetings include prayer and devotions. Local churches and pastors also partner with the program to encourage the children to attend worship. Individual and group counseling is provided on an on-going basis for grief and other emotional challenges in life.
Health and Hygiene
Kenya is home to one of the world’s harshest HIV/AIDS epidemics. Education in reproductive health, life skills and HIV/AIDS awareness and testing are key components of the program. Training also includes important daily practices that decrease common illnesses and contribute to good health.
Death of a parent often leads to victimization and various forms of abuse without any legal recourse. The program provides the means for children and youth to receive legal representation. Legal counsel also provides assistance with other barriers that may be encountered such as obtaining a birth certificate or seeing that improperly seized land is returned. In addition, children and youth are educated on their human rights as children of God and their civil rights under the laws of Kenya.
Education and Vocational Training
Many orphans and vulnerable children work morning to night to meet just the basic needs of their household. This leaves no time or funds for learning a new vocation or allowing siblings to continue in school. Panua Partners in Hope meets these basic household needs and provide funding so that children and youth in a family are able to attend vocational training or school.
Writing a budget, managing time and creating a savings plan are not skills anyone is born with. Panua’s comprehensive business training includes all these and more, and at the end of this process, heads of households are provided the opportunity to start a business of their choosing. Community business leaders serve as vocational mentors, providing practical guidance in their fields. Obtaining the skills for self-reliance gives a brighter future to the program participants as well as their families and the greater Naivasha community.