A $5,000 Matthew 25 Grant from American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) is feeding 100 high school students at the Furaha Boarding School in an impoverished community in East Africa’s Nairobi, Kenya. The school serves children from the Huruma community, where 500,000 people live in a two-square-mile locale.
“Sixty percent of the children are orphaned and 40 percent of them are HIV positive,” explains the Rev. Gilbert Foster, executive director of When I Grow Up, an initiative whose mission is to empower children living in extreme poverty. Foster, of Fresno, Calif., is also a regional consultant for the ABCUSA’s Growing Healthy Churches Region in the western U.S., a strategic partner with When I Grow Up. The Matthew 25 Grant applied for by When I Grow Up, went directly to its global partner, the Furaha Community Foundation in Nairobi.
The Matthew 25 Grant initiative, sponsored by ABCUSA and the Board of General Ministries, is funded by a generous, anonymous donor whose goal is to help meet the needs of “housing, feeding, education and health with regard to the less fortunate.” In Fall 2015, a total of 69 applicants received funding ranging from $500 to $5,000 with a total awarded of $169,140. Grant applications are welcomed once annually by September 1 with the only requirement being an ABCUSA connection.
“The incredible Nairobi story is that in a district with 120 schools, the Furaha School is hitting record scores academically,” Foster says. “The high school entrance exam rate is 100 percent in a country where the national pass rate is 50 percent. Sixteen students this year were in the top 10 percent of national exam pass rates and awarded coveted national scholarships to national schools.” Foster explains none of the youth benefitting from the grant could afford to attend government schools and “Furaha is the best option they have.”
Foster explains the Furaha School has been the catalyst for community transformation. “Its reach impacts more than 5,000 people through the school, micro-businesses, a social and health care department and a pastors training school,” he says. “We thank the Matthew 25 team for seeing this as a true Gospel work, saving children from the despair and hopelessness of their living conditions and empowering them to life, indeed literally saving lives.”
The Matthew 25 Grant process is structured to help small ministries with limited staff time. For more information on the grant and application process visit: https://www.abc-usa.org/matthew25/.