We are firm believers that communities rise and fall based on leadership. So when we come across leaders who are really doing extraordinary things, it is hard not to be compelled to rally behind them.

As a result of our partnership with African Leadership, we had the chance to meet Irene Tongoi this past January and tour New Dawn Educational Centre. It was easy to see that a new friendship was about to be birthed. Our first impressions could not have been higher. The more we get to know her, the more impressed we are.

Irene is a very driven woman who excelled in her education; but after finishing her degree in education, she felt called to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. She was later to find that God was using this time to prepare her to begin a new ministry.

Seeing the toll that HIV was causing within her nation, Irene started a class that taught the importance of abstinence by focusing on biblical principles. This course, which started off very small, was birthed into an organization called New Dawn Kenya, and has graduated around 2,000 teens with too many success stories to count.

Through this work Irene was taken on a journey to a place she had never been, the Huruma and Githogoro slums located practically within the upper class suburbs of Nairobi. Irene was compelled to make even more of a difference in helping the teens of these slums see that they have a future and that with God anything is possible!

Says Irene: “If Jesus landed in Huruma, would he leave it the way it was? I don’t think he would. I am driven to co-labor with God to bring the solution to their brokenness.”

Irene, like Faith Kunihira in Uganda, and Peter Ochiel in Kenya, did not wait for outside funding to begin the work that God had called her to. She knew she was called and thus rallied local churches and friends to begin New Dawn Educational Centre as simply as they could, by identifying the assets the community had and growing from there.

Fast-forward to 2015. New Dawn Educational Centre is a beautiful, but simple school located within a very poor community just outside of Nairobi. Like any major city around the globe it is shocking how such poverty can be literally next door to such wealth.

The students are thriving at New Dawn, and more than 360 students have now graduated from this school. We are excited about this new partnership and grateful to be able to assist New Dawn in what God is doing within this community and the lives of so many students.