The concept of empowerment is central our organization. It is a practice we are working to embody in our growing communities all over the world. Several weeks ago in western Kenya, empowerment took place in a way that left a group of East African youth and their communities forever changed. This area still suffers with over 250,000 people displaced from the 2007 post-election violence, the worst of which was centralized in this rural region. This particular group of young people was even challenged to see beyond their own tribal differences to come together, reconcile and create a new start despite the broken, divided one they find themselves now living within.
During July 2-4, youth from twelve different tribes came together with our Immersion team, our East Africa cooperatives (both Kenyan & Ugandan), Derek Bargatze, Skylar Aaseby and Gregg Garner to learn from the word of God and discover how they could bring change to their communities. Centered around passages like Matthew 6, the youth were freed from the ideologies that bind them to the master of money. These teachings empowered them to partner with God and use their minds and hearts to bring about change in their communities. They realized that they no longer have to wait on money to answer the questions and solve the problems of the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps and transit camps in which they find themselves living, and the poverty they are surrounded by. Empowered by education in the word of God and other practical topics like wound care, malaria prevention and nutrition, the young people started thinking creatively to consider how they can improve their communities.
In addition to the teachings, discussions and relationships built, the youth were empowered to facilitate the construction of 3 homes that will house 3 widows and their children, allowing these families to move out of tents they have been inhabiting for the past 2 ½ years. These 3 widows were chosen by the youth as they sat and discussed who had the greatest need among those in the IDP camp. Their decision was not based upon status or tribal identity, but according to that which they had learned from the word of God. It is such moments that are now bringing hope to the people of Kenya as they are becoming empowered through education to come together and help one another.
By Jen Nyago