About Kenya

Kenya is an Eastern African country bordered by the Indian Ocean, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan.  It gained its independence December 12, 1963 after being in Britain’s control since 1895.  Kenyans are diverse tribal groups, speaking 61 different languages, of which English and Kiswahili are the two official languages.  The capital city, Nairobi, is like many capitals. It is the center for government and plays an important role in trade and business.  The sky scrappers and industrialized city of Nairobi, create a façade of wealth and power.  The reality is that Kenya is a country plagued with many problems including high unemployment, HIV/AIDS, poverty,   and a faith that lacks depth in Christ.

The population is approximately 31 million, of which over fifty percent live in extreme poverty.  Over 1 million people in Nairobi live in slums.  Most people living in these slums make less than $1/day, yet the cost of living in the country is much higher.  For most of the people in Nairobi it is a daily struggle just to have food and shelter.  As the population continues to increase the possibilities of job opportunities continues to decrease.  More than fifty two per cent of new job seekers fail to find employment. Kenya's population growth continually exceeds the rate of economic growth, resulting in large budget deficits and high unemployment.  As a result of the poverty, Nairobi's high crime levels are spreading and banditry is also on a rise throughout the country. Insecurity and uncertainty are left as a result of this crisis.

Another problem facing Kenya is the quick spreading of HIV/AIDS. Kenya is one of the nine countries in Africa hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic.  It is estimated that 14% of Kenyan adults are infected with HIV/AIDS (over 2.2 million).  The death rate due to HIV/AIDS is unsettling.  According to a study conducted in 2001, it was reported that on average, 600 Kenyans die of AIDS everyday. The average life expectancy has been significantly reduced from 63 years to 47 years due to AIDS.  Seven out of every ten HIV positive Kenyans are aged between 18 and 25 years.   Approximately, 1.3 million young people have lost one or both parents to AIDS.  “The HIV/AIDS pandemic is producing orphans on a scale unrivaled in world history,” stated a report by The United Nations AIDS Project.  HIV is a disturbing moral issue.  Many lives are affected by this disease causing a ripple effect among people of all ages.

The poverty level and the spread of HIV/AIDS in Kenya are the primary causes for the country’s high number of children living on the streets.  It was estimated by the Daily Nation, that in the year 2001 there were approximately 88,000 abandoned or orphaned street children in Nairobi alone.  These children fight daily just to survive. The children spend their days begging for money and eating food wherever it’s available—usually garbage.  Often they begin sniffing glue to take away hunger pangs and to escape the humiliation of asking for food or money.  “Six out of every ten boys living on the streets have health problems associated with taking drugs”, stated the Undugu Society of Kenya, in 1993. Prostitution amongst young girls is a common source of income.   Social workers in Nairobi cite that three out of every ten girls on the streets are HIV positive. Additionally, nine out of every ten girls have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) Daily Nation, 1993.   These children are usually found lying on the sides of the road, asleep during daylight hours.  They attempt to stay awake in the evenings because attacks are extremely prevalent.  They are seen as a problem, something to simply get rid of.  These children have lost their childhood.  They need to be helped.   

Kenya’s main religion is Christianity.  The World Fact Book 2002 reports that Kenya is 45% Protestant.  It is often said that many believers in Kenya can be compared to a lake that is a mile long but only an inch deep. Because of the political and social turmoil that they experience, the church often becomes like a hospital where people come simply to get hope. As a result, many people are coming to Christ as their Savior.  However, the teaching and the knowledge of the Bible are often superficial and shallow, not transforming people's lives.   There is a lack of making Christ the Lord of their life. Their belief in Christ is not well translated into their daily lives. While the statistics say that Kenya is 45% Protestant, many do not truly live out Christ. Thus discipleship is vital.  Kenyans need a revival of depth in Christ that is evident in their decisions and actions.

Kenya is a country overwhelmed by many troubles.  Not only do the people suffer from insecurity about their day to day survival but they are also faced with an incurable and horrific virus.  Because the adults are plagued with these issues, the children suffer in greater numbers.  A priceless hope must be offered, not a hope that is a “quick fix” solution.  The transforming power of Jesus as Lord is the only true hope for the people of Kenya.

Chosen Children of Promise (CCP) in Nairobi, Kenya is working to help with these needs. 


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