Special

Most welcome to our Blog page! Jambo!

“To see trauma footprints removed from young people’s lives through Jesus Christ”. This is Kutoa Project vision and it captivated me the very day I learned about it. Trauma footprints are as real as a scar of a wound and their damages are often far reaching. Not only can they affect many aspects of human beings, but they may also affect many generations if not addressed.

Wow! It has been such a great honor and privilege to be actively involved with Kutoa Project and to take part in the change that is happening in the lives of children and young people. Nine months have already elapsed since I started to work closely with Shae and Jason in this! They both have big hearts for children and youth in Kenya and they are very passionate about Kutoa Project. I am learning a lot from them, especially seeing how much they have sacrificed for this cause. They are truly a great inspiration and encouragement to me.

Good and fulfilling times we had with teen moms and girls at one of our previous partners where we took them through a biblical based self-esteem curriculum. It was quite a distance as the home is not in Nairobi, but I always looked forward to that. The training has been a success and we had good feedback on some tangible change both from girls and the administration. I was personally happy to hear some girls witnessing a month later after the training ended how their performance in school have greatly improved and how they had gained more confidence. Most of them, especially teens’ moms had been living in shame, which prevented them from participating in class because of how they perceived themselves and being bullied by their classmates.

Another success story is with another partner home in Nairobi in which we have been offering a number of services. I am glad to have been working with caregivers in terms of providing trauma healing training for over two months using the American Bible Society/Trauma Healing Institute resources. Caregivers got more enlightened on trauma and they were able to not only connect it to the children under their care, but especially to relate it to their personal experiences. We initially had a plan to take them through core lessons and two extras, but we ended up adding more as they loved the program and requested for more. In the same home, I have been entrusted with six girls, two of them for life skills training and others for mentorship. I am happy to see them picking up. We started baking bread with one of them and she has ever since been selling bread within the home like hot cakes. She has currently expanded her baking by doing more baking recipes thanks to a professional baker who is volunteering at the home.

The journey with Kutoa Project has been much fulfilling and a learning experience all together. As we are there to provide support, almost every day is a learning opportunity. Learning from the love and dedication by children homes directors, staff, caregivers, and children themselves. It is quite humbling and challenging to experience great love especially from the children. One of the girls I have sessions with has been such a darling to me and I am touched by her love and her generous smile. She is a special kid and I am learning a lot from her how everyone is a special creation. She always tells me how and for what she has been praying for. She recently surprised me with half a box of guavas she had picked from their home garden for me using her single left hand (she only have one active hand) and she wanted me to carry them with me. She narrated to me how she managed by shaking guava trees. That really challenged me and I remembered some of the words of Mother Teresa. She might appear not to have much, but that girl is rich in love and that’s true riches. What a challenge!

I hope this stirs you enough to come and see us in Kenya, one of the beautiful countries in Africa, not only because of the Big 5, flamingoes, exotic beaches, her rich culture, etc…, but especially what God is doing in young lives through Kutoa Project!

Thank you for sparing your time to read this blog. Asanteni sana!

Betty Uwamahoro

Training and Communication Coordinator

Kutoa Project Kenya

 

 

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Impact

"In June, Christine, our son Ellis and I visited Shae’ in Nairobi and had the opportunity to spend a lot of time at one of Kutoa Project’s partner organizations, a children home that provides a safe home, education and a family atmosphere.  

 The first day at this home I spoke with the teenagers about communication skills, work ethic, relationships, and how all of this is surrounded in faith.  The kids shared their goals for life after the children’s home.  Each of them have dreams, just like our kids.  These kids just want to be kids.  Kids that deserve to be kids but their circumstances make that more difficult.  Their individual stories reveal their circumstances are more challenging but their passion to thrive, their growing faith, the support of their home and individual time with Shae’ is preparing them to move beyond their pasts.   

 After being on the board of Kutoa Project since it was founded by Shae’ nearly three years ago, seeing faces and talking with the youth in Nairobi makes the purpose of Kutoa Project (to remove the footprints of trauma) more defiantly real.  We were able to hear stories of some of the youth who have been a part of our services and they are starting to see hope in their future, work through the trauma they have experienced, and are engaging in activities on campus when they never did before. It is a real need and it is only by God’s grace and support from people who feel called to this mission, that we can provide such work for these youth.

Kutoa Project works to heal the heart through Christ our Lord.  The need for counseling and therapeutic services that Kutoa Project provides is essential yet is not typically available in Kenya.  The vision for Kutoa Project that God placed on Shae’s heart is making an impact with these kids. We are excited that other children’s homes, orphanages and young women’s groups in Kenya are seeking out Kutoa Project to provide training for their staffs and services for their children and young women.

 In order to expand services, we need to add staff that are committed to the mission and vision of Kutoa Project here in Kenya.  My hope is that those reading this message will consider providing monthly support so we can commit to provide additional services for these youth and caregivers. 

    - Mike Coon, Board President

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Karibu

Karibu

Out of the handful of Kiswahili words I have learned during my time in Kenya, one stands out: Karibu. Karibu means "welcome" and it is both the first word I heard in Kenya and the word I have heard most often here. Shae & Jason welcomed me into their Nairobi home during my stay and I was greeted warmly by the organizations they have partnerships with. 

We spent many days at Kings Kids Village, a home for children affected by extenuating circumstances (HIV/AIDS, death of parents, community violence). Shaé counsels several of the children there and Jason has organized a soccer team amongst the boys. I was able to provide trainings in the areas of appropriate discipline, teenage mental health, and self-care to the caregivers and teachers who tirelessly provide for these children. We facilitated a few outings to give the children opportunities for fellowship and leisure time off campus, providing a "spa day" for the girls and a trip to Karura Forest for the boys.

We attended church alongside these young women at another partner home for teenage mothers. With a familiar "karibu," they invited me to explore their facilities and meet their children. Shaé and I later returned with school supplies and toiletries to offer the girls. We hosted a parenting training and the young women impressed me with their eagerness to learn about how to nurture their children.

Within a few days of my trip, it was easy to see how Shaé and Jason have made a positive and lasting difference in the lives of Kenyan children, through their work with Kutoa Project. Shaé has established trustworthy and stable alliances in the community. These vulnerable children and teenagers are receiving crucial mental health interventions in order to heal from trauma and create a bright future for themselves. Shaé and Jason make daily efforts to connect with caregivers and people in the local community to offer their support and build connections.

By supporting Kutoa Project, you are making a difference in the lives of children affected by trauma, teenagers preparing for adulthood, young mothers trying to offer their children a brighter future, caregivers who dedicate their lives to orphaned children, program directors who ensure the children's safety, and people in the community who benefit from mental health awareness.

Kenya is a beautiful country with a fascinating culture. I thank you for taking the time to read about my experience and hope you consider increasing your support for Kutoa Project. If you have the opportunity to visit, I am sure you will also be greeted with a warm and genuine "karibu."   

Danielle DeAngelis

Mental Health Counselor

Denver, Colorado

Why Kenya?

Why Kenya?…

We have arrived back in the states a little over a day ago.  I did not tell my wife, but I had an overwhelming amount of uncertainty of how I would feel leaving Kenya and returning back to our home in the states. My wife, Shae’, was provided an awesome vision from the Lord to help a country begin to heal their invisible wounds. Over the past two years, the resounding question that has been deferred to me through countless people has been, “Why Kenya?”. 

The answer is simple. We have the ability to help a person in a place where they do not have the resources to be provided the care, commitment and compassion necessary to heal the wounds they have suffered.  

Since we have returned home, we have found ourselves catapulted into a situation to help a fellow family member through a difficult season in their life.  The outcome of this situation will be greatly affected by the resources available to help our family through these difficult decisions.  Without going into much detail, we have had a flurry of communication and guidance from agencies, therapists and spiritual mentors to walk with us as we navigate towards a solution.

Let me highlight one phrase from that paragraph, “communication and guidance”. Anywhere in the United States we are fortunate to know that we have agencies, therapists and faith based counselors to communicate and help guide us through difficult times. We are blessed to have the amount of access to help people in trying seasons.

Through this past journey, I have watched Kutoa Project, and my wife Shae’, become the communicator and guide for the youth of Kenya.  The vision that was given to my wife has blossomed in ways that we could not have prepared.  Our hope was to identify a couple of homes that would benefit from the faith based mental health services. The Lord decided that we would not have to search, but be found.  Since our time in Kenya, we have had over 10 organizations request the services that Kutoa Project provides.

The need for compassionate communicators and educators in Kenya cannot be measured. This is a beautiful nation whose youth have many invisible wounds.  The homes, caretakers and children desire to find a way to begin the healing. We have felt the call to give the resources that are available to everyone here to those that do not have the access to those basic needs to begin their restoration.

We thank you for all of the prayers and generosity that have been shared with us since we began this journey. I continue to ask that you pray for my wife that she is provided with strength, endurance and wisdom to deliver the plan that has been given to her. I also ask that you continue to lift up all of the youth in Kenya that will now have the opportunity to begin the healing process.  All of you have made this journey possible. For it is with your generous thoughts, wisdom and giving that will continue to spread the ability of Kutoa Project throughout Kenya. 

Until next time, 

Jason Brown

Flee

Three children one story.

It's been an interesting start on our journey with KKV. In the beginning, my role was to learn and help each child with many different tasks as a volunteer.  I know the children’s names, their favorite soccer team, and extracurricular  activities.  As the seasons have changed my role now has evolved into learning how these homes have operated for many years. It has caused me to praise Jesus that the children are no longer in those circumstances and to make sure we give these youth the best care we can possibly give.

Feel

"It all happened when I was 14 years old.  My mother remarried and I was the forgotten stepchild of a man who did not want me.  My mother did not work, so her husband ran the house.  He would often forget about me and would make me find my own way.  

On the first day of school, I was excited to get away from everything as I love school very much. Before I even got to class, I was sent home because my school fees had not been paid.  I talked to my mother and she told me she did not have the money. I knew that meant asking my step father, who I knew would tell me no.