“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
In 2001, after being made aware of the urgent help needed for Kenyan children due to the AIDS crisis, the Newberry’s travelled to Kenya to see the situation firsthand. What they saw and experienced was life-changing. With hearts broken, they wondered what they could possibly do in the face of the staggering figure of over 2 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. It seemed so overwhelming, but The Starfish Story kept coming to mind. They concluded that if they only helped one child, it would matter to that child. From there, Starfish Kenya began. Supporting the first children personally, Roy and Pam came back to the U.S. and shared what they had seen and experienced. Family and friends from church wanted to help. More and more children were able to be cared for, expanding the number of children to over 600 thus far.
It seemed so overwhelming, but The Starfish Story kept coming to mind. They concluded that if they only helped one child, it would matter to that child.
Over the years, Starfish Kenya has been able to start schools in partnership with House of Hope and St. Anna Care Centre, build classrooms, dormitories, multi-purpose facilities, chemistry labs, computer labs, skills training facilities, a dairy farm, acres of cultivated land for producing food for the children as well as income, and recreational areas. Starfish Kenya has also provided uniforms, school supplies, school curriculum, library books, and funding for teacher training.
Not only have hundreds of children’s lives been enriched, but, in addition, Starfish Kenya’s impact on extended families and communities has been dramatic and uplifting. The children themselves are the ambassadors of how much life can improve with willingness and support.
Starfish Kenya has grown and adapted as the times have changed, but we remain steadfast and true to our mission statement and the conviction that each and every child is a child of God with inherent worth, gifts and talents.
It is our joy and privilege to make a difference in the lives of children in Kenya, where we have seen that a stone tossed in the water creates a ripple effect, not only in Kenya, but also in the U.S.
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
Roy Newberry, Sr. (May 23, 1934-June 3, 2016)
Roy traveled to Kenya for the first time the year after he was diagnosed with cancer. Moved to make a difference for what really mattered in life as a follower of Christ, he dedicated much of the last years of his life working for the welfare of the children supported by Starfish Kenya. We mourned his loss deeply, and still do. His love lives on in us.
Margaret Basigwa (August 12, 1961-October 9, 2013)
Margaret dedicated her life to the betterment of the children of Kenya. Margaret was the first child in her village to attend university. Having achieved a Master’s Degree, Margaret spent her professional life serving in the Department of Child Welfare of Kenya, and after her retirement, spent her remaining years as a consultant for UNICEF, in addition to establishing and directing House of Hope. Margaret fought for the children of Kenya with tireless effort. She was deeply mourned by us all. She was a shining example of the difference one person can make.
Naftali Basigwa (April 9, 1945-November 17, 2005)
Naftali was a high-level civil servant until his retirement from the Government of Kenya. With his retirement stipend, Naftali had the vision and insight to purchase the half acre that would become House of Hope. As support grew, Naftali began walking and praying for the 21 acres of vacant land that surrounded the House of Hope homestead. He was a man of great faith and vision—just like Roy. The land was purchased in the summer of 2004 through a fundraiser at Abundant Life Church, now Gateway Community Church in Webster, Texas.
“…with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26b NIV
The Starfish Story
An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean, one by one. “Why do you bother?” the old man scoffed. “How can what you're doing possibly make a difference?” The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. “It made a difference to that one,” he said.