The missionary work of the team in Kitale, later named "Our Kids in Africa" started in July of 2008. Then three young girls, graduates of the Ternopil Missionary Institute, arrived in Kitale and started working in the Shima-la-Tevo slum, one of the most destitute and dangerous slums in Kitale. They had to start from nothing, there was no support whatsoever in form of an established mission or a friendly church. Their work was simply regular visits to the locals and the establishment of personal relationships with them. Many families were in abject poverty, widows had many children they could not feed, children were left to fend for themselves with no one to take care of them. This situation called for not only financial help but also compassion and love. At that time there was not enough finances to enable the missionaries themselves to live on even in most humble, basic conditions. At times the local people brought food for the girls, seeing their humble living conditions. But thanks to continuous presence, active involvement in the everyday life and sometimes basic help around the house, such as fixing a roof. The girls became not just ordinary white people, but very close friends and even family to the locals.
After almost a year, regular services were held in the homes of the local families. There were usually more kids at these services than adults, the need for a separate building arose but there were no houses large enough to hold all the people. An opportunity to rent a plot of land with a small clay building arose. At this time the team grew as new people arrived. It soon became apparent that most of the kids attending this new church could not read, write or count-they needed a basic education as well as Biblical instruction. Education is not free in Kenya, families must at least buy uniforms, books and school lunches. It was decided to start free lessons for the kids in the mornings in the building on the rented plot. There was only a big building with some benches and enough finances to buy a notebook and a pencil for each child. Lessons were taught by missionaries and local volunteers from the church.
Almost immediately a new need arose. Most kids came to school so hungry, it was a luxury for most to eat even once a day, that it was impossible to teach them. One of the most memorable moments in the history of school was when first pots and plates were bought and regular lunches started. When there was enough money they were fed boiled beans, when there was not enough-porridge. Nevertheless, fed kids became more attentive to their lessons.
Parallel to the development of the school, more and more people came to the church. Different ministries developed such as teen ministry, ministry for young mothers, ministry for men.
In 2011 the school welcomed its first teacher with an actual teaching degree. Then the students were separated by ages into different grades. That year a tent was bought and as well as school, church services were held in it. Students constantly required medical help - at minimum treatment of various wounds and burns. A medical post was established that had a basic first aid kit, eventually it expanded to hold basic medication needed to treat malaria, typhus fever and cold/flu. Everyday the kids attending this school could come to the medical post for treatment. Many needed to have parasites (jiggers) to be taken out of their feet. The medical post became an essential part of this project.
One of the biggest problems of Shimma, as in all Kenyan slums, were abandoned children. Some were left orphaned and for some it was much safer to live on the street than at home. That is how the orphanage "House of Refuge" started, children in such situations could come live in safety and comfort. Later the orphanage moved to the missionary base, missionaries lived together with the kids. Meanwhile in the church there were families, hardworking and able to not only care for their own children but also to foster these orphans. To enable these children to grow in their own culture, they were fostered by these families with financial assistance from the mission. At this time, 17 children are in foster families, a few are fostered by their relatives.
As word of this project spread and thanks to increased financial support, at the end of 2013 a large plot of land was bought to build a church and a school on. Three years later was the big opening - a large room for services was built as well as two spacious classrooms adjacent to it. Also a separate building with bathrooms and three classrooms and a medical room.
The main mission of the team remains, work with children giving them a Christian upbringing, teaching them healthy principles of family life as well as basic elementary education. When they grow up with values, education and the desire to work as they create their own families, they will positively impact the Kenyan society more than any mission can.