The Hands and Feet of Hope ministry was formed in 2016 by Kevin and Sarah Maynard during their second trip to Kenya with the Hope for Kenya team. Sarah Maynard, was asked to teach and train a group of 20 widows from the village of Dago, Kenya, to make beads from paper that would otherwise be tossed away. More than 40 women were in attendance! Many of the women in this village had lost their husbands and were struggling to meet their basic needs and the needs of their children. Several women had children at the Joy School who were able to attend solely due to the Hope for Kenya sponsorship program.
While we believe sponsorship is a life saving and life changing program, it was on our hearts to couple that ministry with a ministry that equips and empowers community members to climb out of poverty through opportunities like job training and social action. We prayed that with this hand up, one day the community would become more financially self-sufficient and might no longer require sponsorship for their children to attend school or to meet basic needs such as food and housing.
Our vision was to fair trade purchase their paper beads and carry them back to the U.S. where volunteers would make them into various jewelry items. All proceeds from donations for these items would be reinvested back into the community of Dago for sustainable development projects. What happened next was simply unexpected and amazing. As the women began to make these beads with their own hands, we were able to watch them transform from a people desperate to an inspiring community now empowered and hopeful for their future. As we worked together, we talked about how God can take what is normally tossed away and disregarded, much like they felt, and transform it into something beautiful with new purpose and lasting hope. It was a beautiful realization that continues to inspire us all.
With donations from sales of these beaded items, in the short time that has passed, we have been able to assist in providing clean water to the village, facilitated training and a group microfinance loan for sewing machines, provide training for men in sustainable building and discipleship, provided 5 private microfinance loans to women from the group to expand their market businesses, and have begun to build a school for children Pre-K- Fourth grade. As we partner with the families of Dago, we hope and pray for continued life transformations. We will use our gifts and blessings to continue to empower and equip THEM to change their circumstances through the simple acts of loving them and encouraging them to explore their God-given gifts. We are each called to be the Body of Christ...to be His Hands and Feet of Hope to a world that desperately needs to not only HEAR the good news, but to tangibly feel the love of God in their lives through His people.