CORONA, CA – Tumaini International Is a faith-based, grass-roots organization that is specifically focused on assisting children who have become victims of the AIDS scourge in Kenya. It is fitting that we share the Tumaini story with our readers during the month that begins with the observance of World AIDS Day.
How do you pronounce Tumaini?
It’s really not that hard. You pronounce it just like it looks: “two-my-EE-knee.” Tumaini is a Kiswahili word that means “hope.”
Who started Tumaini?
Dr. Stanley Mutunga is a native of Kenya and the youngest of 10 children. He understands first-hand the obstacles faced by families in the sub-Saharan country on a “normal” day before the nation was engulfed with the AIDS epidemic.
Dr. Mutunga has come a long way from his humble beginnings. He wasn’t even able to attend school until he was 12 years old. Today, he holds degrees in theology, intercultural studies, and international development. He is the President and CEO of Tumaini. The former World Vision worker is a church planter, a minister, and a college professor.
Why did Dr. Mutunga start Tumaini?
Not long after the turn of the century, when Dr. Mutunga was the Dean of the Graduate School & Professor at Hope International University in California, several of his family members in Kenya succumbed to AIDS. When he went to Kenya to see the situation for himself, he witnessed children becoming parents to their siblings and families being ravaged by the disease.
He saw people building and selling caskets in booths along the roadsides. More startling, he discovered that casket-making had become one of the fastest-growing businesses in Kenya. At the time, around 700 people were dying from AIDS in Kenya every day. By way of contrast, about 1,500 people have died from COVID-19 in Kenya this year to date.
What does Tumaini do?
Tumaini intentionally assists AIDS-affected children by helping to place them into loving, nurturing, and protecting family environments in a program of Extended Family Care.
“Our model is to place children in the loving care of responsible relatives: grandparents, aunts, uncles, or caring neighbors; and we partner with these guardians to assist them in meeting the family’s basic needs. The children are then able to grow up in a loving home and retain the values of family and community.”
Children are sponsored by the monthly gifts of donors, just as many similar organizations function. Tumaini also has a donor-supported Hope Fund. Financial resources from the Hope Fund are used to supplement and maintain the support of children currently without sponsors.
What has Tumaini accomplished?
What Tumaini has accomplished is truly remarkable.
In 2019, Tumaini was able to serve nearly 54,000 orphaned and vulnerable children across Kenya.
The group has partnered with a dozen Community Based Organizations to help another 15,000 Kenyans with technical training, business startup loans, and grants.
The Tumaini International Girls High School was founded in 2015. By 2019, two cohorts of students had graduated. Of the 17 graduates in 2019, eight qualified for university educations, another eight for professional career colleges, and one opted for vocational training.
Of the eight high schools located within the Masai Zone, the girls from Tumaini ranked the highest in their national exit exams. Of the 452 high schools in the county, Tumaini came in 14th place.
A free medical clinic has been established in hopes of eventually opening an entire hospital. Last year, Tumaini International treated nearly 7,500 patients at the clinic and more than 1,500 via their mobile medical team.
Meanwhile, Tumaini staff have been educating more than 27,000 young people in schools and churches about the dangers of AIDS and other STDs.
Learn more about Tumaini by visiting their website.