En-Gedi – A Place of Refuge for Neglected Children in Kenya

KENYA – Margaret Njuguna is a native of Kenya. She was fortunate to have received training that qualified her to work at the Kenyan and Ugandan offices of World Renew, the global relief ministry of the Christian Reformed Church.

When she made it clear that she wanted to do “something more,” a co-worker urged her to consider going to the U.S. to attend Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which she eventually did.

Following graduation in 1994, Margaret returned to Africa to help develop communities and reach native people for Jesus Christ in Tanzania. As she continued her work and her spiritual growth, the told the Lord “I want to be a channel through which He can shine His light into the world of darkness.”

The Lord answered that prayer by drawing her attention and love toward a group of unreached among the larger community of the unreached. Her heart soon began to ache for African children with disabilities.

People with disabilities, regardless of where they live, tend to be treated as society’s rejects. They are often cast away, isolated, and lead a life-long lonely existence.

In many parts of Africa, in Kenya in particular, children with disabilities are often neglect or abandoned by their parents. In some cases, parents have been known to “sacrifice” their children.

The parents of some disabled children leave them in the bush where they are apt to die of starvation or disease or be eaten by wild animals. The more ‘fortunate’ ones may be abandoned in villages and towns where their only hope of survival is begging on the streets.

“I fell in love with people in the streets and I fell in love in a way that we are supporting so many poor people, but we don’t do anything for the disabled people who live in the streets. And I started reaching out to them on my own free time, to find out why they live in the streets. I made friends with them and they gave me their stories.”

Her passion for rescuing the neglected, disabled children in her home country of Kenya, where disability is often considered a curse or, at a minimum, a bad omen,” led her to establish a place of refuge which she named En-Gedi. She learned that the parents are often ostracized themselves because their communities consider them to be ‘carriers’ of the affliction of their children.

This is reminiscent of a man who had been blind from birth encountered by Jesus and His disciples. His disciples asked if it was the blind man’s sins or the sins of his parents that had caused his disability. (See John 9)

Jesus’ response was “neither,” but that he had been born blind so that “the works of God should be revealed to him.”

So, the refuge at En-Gedi was created that the works of God should be revealed. The facility houses 30 abandoned, disabled children who are taught that they have value and that God loves them just as He loves everyone else.

En-Gedi is not an adoption agency. The great hope of Margaret and her staff is that each child will eventually be reunited with their families in a home where the unconditional love of Christ is demonstrated within the home and the community as the entire family comes to recognize the immeasurable love of Jesus.

En-Gedi is a long-term project. It is, hopefully, the precursor of the establishment of other lighthouses of hope throughout Kenya.

Please pray for Margaret Njuguna, her staff, the disabled children, and their parents. Pray for the expansion of the En-Gedi refuge. Pray for these lights shining in the darkness.


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