Christmas 2020

Graduation Day.

A day of celebrating a year of hard work and

exciting new beginnings ahead.

As we heralded in 2020 almost 12 months ago with great expectations for an amazing year of growth at our school and celebration of the continued success of our graduating students, who could have imagined that instead, the new year would become the year they will be talking about 100 years from now. As we come close to the end of 2020, please allow me to take you on a one-year journey of our achievements, and where we survived and served because of your support and amazing commitment to those who we care for and about.

Our overseas volunteers are a huge part of our program.  As well as sharing their knowledge of women’s health issues, including HIV/AIDS awareness, they share their knowledge of business management, budgeting, computer training, creativity, and fashion design. But most importantly, through their example, our overseas volunteers encourage our students to work hard to become successful women

That all came to an abrupt end on March 18th when the first case of Covid 19 was detected. Kenya closed all of its borders, small businesses, open-air markets, and closed all schools and universities, including Kijiji Mission.

We had to pivot very quickly. Many of our students are total orphans, coming from villages where another person to feed during these unprecedented, uncertain times would not have been a welcomed homecoming. The girls were all ordered to return to their villages by Monday morning. In an attempt to convince the local authorities that we would not function as a school, we immediately started making facemasks out of our off-cut material. Our first recipients being our local police officers and area chief.

When the government mandated that everyone must wear a facemask in public, we realized that not many struggling families could afford to pay $1.00 (US) for a facemask that probably wasn’t totally effective anyway. Martha did her research and came up with an effective, 3 layered facemask that we started producing and distributing to the elderly and vulnerable families within our community.


To date we have made and distributed over 13,000 facemasks within our community.

The students who were permitted to stay on with us graduated in August. It certainly wasn’t the celebration we have become accustomed to, but Martha and Beryl made sure that they had a memorable graduation celebration. Unfortunately, no friends or family could share in their big day. Those who had no families to return home to are welcome to stay with us until life returned to some sense of normality. We were working on a great business opportunity for them. The Rotary Club of Brisbane-Mid City had donated start-up money to purchase the industrial equipment the girls needed to get their own business up and running. We have a separate building on our compound that is set aside for their business. We have a UK designer who was very interested in working on a line of clothing that was made by Kenyan women, empowering Kenyan women. The designer sent the samples she wanted the girls to make. Under Martha’s supervision, the designer was very happy with their work and was excited about moving forward with the clothing line….

Hmmm…Hopefully, 2021 will bring brighter news and opportunities for the girls.

We could never have imagined a year that is about to close and a new one to begin… but where there was sadness, death, disappointments, and fear… our year also held hope, growth, and the ability to do our small part to serve the most vulnerable in our community.

We did not do this on our own we did it and can only continue to do it because of you. Here in Kenya, we are currently going through our second wave of the pandemic, with insurmountable problems for our children and families… food parcels must continue on a weekly basis, we are not aware of the sickness here in the slums as there is no testing of our people.

We have come from far you and I, on a journey that changes lives, alleviates suffering, and making so many lives better.

We wish you peace, joy, and comfort where needed, the courage to face continued fears and arms of comfort to surround you.



Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom


Springs of Hope Foundation