30 Apr Introducing Path of Hope!
Abridged from the article, “Introducing Path of Hope,” printed in Hope is Alive magazine
by Leisha Otieno
Lahash is proud to announce our partnership with Path of Hope, located in Shinyanga, Tanzania!
As Bishop Joseph and Jeanette Nyakyema, both now in their 70s, approached retirement age, they contemplated returning to their quiet home near Lake Victoria. Instead, they took their denominational responsibilities in Tanzania’s Shinyanga region. They were to support existing churches, plant new ones, and find funding for staff and pastors. As if this task list were not daunting enough, Jeanette soon found her heart and energy drawn into an additional project.
The Shinyanga region is primarily rural with a few small urban centers. Most of the people are subsistence-level farmers and keepers of livestock, and therefore suffer greatly during the water shortages of the six-month dry season. In the villages, children as young as four are needed to help with manual agriculture and livestock herding instead of attending school. Like much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Shinyanga region has also been hard-hit by HIV/AIDS.
Jeanette saw firsthand the impact of these conditions within their congregations, and was moved to action. With the involvement of local church leaders, Path of Hope ministry began in 2011. They aim to provide holistic care for children facing HIV, poverty, or loss of parents through death or abandonment. Path of Hope’s first chapter opened in a neighborhood of Shinyanga town called Nguzo Nane, followed by rural chapters in Mwamalili and surrounding areas.
Lahash first connected with the Nyakyemas in late 2011. Jeanette made a passionate appeal for Lahash to join with them in caring for the vulnerable kids in their communities. Six months later, representatives from Path of Hope attended Lahash’s East Africa Conference. They offered insightful contributions during the training and expressed a similar vision of holistic care for vulnerable children. Path of Hope became a probationary partnership soon after, and a full partner in early 2013.
Now the Lahash sponsorship program has welcomed 50 new children from Path of Hope. The children live with their parents or other family members and meet weekly at a local church site. As sponsors are connected to each child, they will not only receive the basics for a better life — school fees, nutritional support, medical care, and spiritual guidance — but also the caring relationships that will lead them into a brighter future.
We are very excited to add Path of Hope’s leaders, volunteers, and children to the Lahash family. We invite you to join us in supporting their efforts.
Robert is one child who makes the weekly trek to the Mwamalili church for the kids’ program. He works every day on the small farm that supports their whole family, but Saturday mornings find him at church, often leading the singing for the other kids in the program. He was excluded from the local school for not having the proper uniform until a small financial gift to Lahash helped to buy him one. Overjoyed to finally attend, this quickly-growing boy is at risk of losing his spot at school when he outgrows his uniform. A committed sponsor could prevent that from happening. To find out how you can help Path of Hope or other kids like Robert, please visit Lahash.org/give.