The VISION Behind The Kitale Project
Our hearts at Overlake Christian Church are broken for the children who live and die alone on the streets of the world’s cities. To help make a difference, OCC has been helping the orphaned and vulnerable children of Kenya for more than 20 years.
Besides coming alongside orphanages and drop-in centers, Overlake has also trained Kenyan churches, and served with hard-working local leaders to bring clean water and help improve the skills of farmers – key issues that are interwoven within Kenya’s orphan crisis. Over the years, we’ve learned WHAT REALLY WORKS to help vulnerable children.
The Kitale Project is the culmination of all those years of hands-on experience.
When God sent Jesus, He placed him within a family – which is His design for ALL children. Based on that truth, we’ve worked with our Kenyan partners at Agape Children’s Ministry who have developed an innovative yet practical program that takes children, who have been living alone on the streets, and carefully reintegrates them back into their families, extended family or into the families of well-vetted community members.
Already more than 1,800 former street children, in the Kenyan town of Kisumu, have been reintegrated into safe, loving families – but only after extensive rehabilitation that also introduces these kids to the redeeming power of Jesus.
We now want to replicate this model in the Kenyan city of Kitale, where street children currently live with little hope…and no family. The Kitale Project’s goal is to empty the streets and orphanages of children, and unite them with loving families in their home villages. This is a model we believe will work not only in Kenya, but around the world.
Message from Pastor Mike Howerton
Overlake Christian Church Commission
Message from Pastor Dan & Kathleen Hamer
More About the Agape Method
There’s No Better Strategy, Anywhere!
The Kitale Project’s approach is simple, because it is God’s plan found in Psalm 68:6 – “God sets the lonely in families.” Our Kenyan staff helps children living alone on the streets and places them in families, through this “Four R” process:
Children leave the extreme danger of life on the streets and receive a loving welcome at our transition center – where they find a safe place to live, nutritious meals, new clothing and necessary medical, emotional and spiritual care.
During the 30-90 days it takes us to return them to a safe home, these traumatized children enter into a caring rehabilitation process to address the spiritual, physical, and emotional anguish they’ve experienced – both prior to and during their time on the streets.
From the moment a child arrives, the process of reintegrating them into a safe and loving family begins. If their family of origin is not a safe option, we search for an extended family member or a suitable family in their home village.
Regular follow-up visits to the household continue through age 18. We also work to connect the child to a local church family, and if necessary, address social issues that impact community life – like clean drinking water, agricultural development and training for those who care for these traumatized children.
Children find new life in the redeeming message of the Gospel as they come to know and experience Christ’s love, forgiveness, and healing from emotional wounds – all while gaining hope and restored purpose.
• The campus that will house the transition center and rehabilitation facilities must be developed
• The Kenyan team to staff the project must be assembled and trained
• Expand partnerships with local churches in the Kitale region to support the children and
• Provide OCC short term teams to equip and train Kenyan staff, caregivers, and pastors
“I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken. My spirit is poured out in agony as I see the desperate plight of my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets.”
– Lamentations 2:11 NLT
Commit to the Kitale Project
When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. Romans 12:13 TLB
Our prayer and challenge for everyone at OCC is that you will participate in this revolutionary process, that provides hope to street children in Kitale and throughout the world. In addition to your prayerful support, we ask you to consider a financial commitment above and beyond your regular tithes and offerings at OCC.
Our goal is to kick-start the project with an initial funding of $250,000 along with monthly commitments totaling $14,000 per month.
Your consideration of a one time and/or monthly gift will be greatly appreciated as we care for God’s children.