Dear Cherish Sponsors and Supporters,
The upheaval of routines and schedules over the past 10 months has impacted every corner of the globe, United States and Kenya alike. Our partnership with the HOPE team in Meru has never been more vital, nor more inspiring.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, many of our children here in the U.S. are experiencing the loss of social interaction, in-person learning, and ability to spend time with grandparents. Schools in Kenya have been completely closed, and now – tentatively – reopened (more on that below), but children in Kenya have lost 7 months of learning, along with the stability that school provides. Let us pray for each other!
Many families here in the U.S. have lost their livelihoods, or live in fear of making adequate income this year to provide for basic needs. Friends in Kenya are experiencing the same: businesses have slowed, tourist visits have waned to a trickle. Let us pray for each other!
My own family and friend circles here in America have experienced disease and loss, both due to COVID, and to other causes. An auntie lost to cancer, several friends experiencing chronic health issues (likely exacerbated by stress), a long-time acquaintance lost to COVID-19. Our dear friends in Meru have also experienced sickness and loss. Mercy’s grandmother lost to heart attack, Liz’s mother and Abby’s grandmother lost to cancer, and Josephine’s father, Ibrahim, gravely ill for several weeks (now fully recovered, praise Jesus!). Let us pray for each other!
Participating in Cherish Ministry to Meru is more than just providing financial support for the education of children. We share life with one another, share common experiences – especially this year amidst a global pandemic, share faith and hope in a God who cares deeply about us all. We practice frequent and honest communication, and provide each other with grace.
That last point, about practicing communication and grace, is going to be required in higher doses than usual in the coming months. The Kenyan government’s policy on school closure has changed since the pandemic began. Back in March 2020, all schools were closed, and the 2020 school year was declared a lost year; students would simply restart, and repeat their current grade, in January 2021. In recent weeks, however, the government changed course, sending students back to classrooms a bit earlier than expected and opting to condense months of learning into weeks in order to play catch-up. The 2020 school year will therefore end in July 2021 for grades K-7 and 9-11, and will end with national exams for grades 8 and 12 in March 2021. The consequences of school closures and rescheduling directly impact our ministry:
- Your continued giving in 2020, during school closures, allowed the HOPE team in Meru to provide for emergency needs amongst our sponsored families. THANK YOU!!
- Kenya’s school calendar has been – and will likely continue to be for 1-2 years – massively adjusted to account for the lost months of 2020.
- This in turn impacts the logistics of our financial support for students. School fees in Kenya may come due at times that no longer coincide with our usual trimester giving due dates.
- Students in Standard 8 (8th grade) and Form 4 (12th grade) are especially impacted, as they will be sitting for their national exams in March 2021. They will then move on to high school, or graduate, 8 months earlier than we previously expected.
For now, you can plan to continue with our usual donation schedule: March 5, June 5, and October 5. The Cherish Ministry team is in constant communication with our HOPE team in Meru, and will be doing our best to communicate with each of you as individual students’ circumstances change. We are more grateful than ever for your generosity and grace as we navigate the confusion together.
As a reminder, here is a summary of our recently updated sponsorship rates:
Current (as of September 2020)
· Elementary = $330/year; $110/trimester; $27.50/month
· High School = $549/year; $183/trimester; $45.75/month
Beginning September 2021
· Elementary = $354/year; $118/trimester; $29.50/month
· High School = $585/year; $195/trimester; $48.75/month
We have also updated our donation instructions. Please review and keep for your reference the enclosed instructions, especially if you plan to give above and beyond the designated sponsorship rates.
Thank you again for joining us in this important ministry. Be praying for our brothers and sisters in Meru, and know that they are praying for you.