Daughters of St. Mary
In Kenya, common societal myths about HIV/AIDS encourage the practice of rape, especially younger girls. MFC saw a need for young girls to not only be protected, but also educated. Out of this need, the Daughters of St.Mary program was established in 2006 for girls 10 through 18 years old. Daughters of St. Mary offers the girls a holistic education in both spirituality and women health education. It was used as a preventive measure against HIV/AIDS and rape as it empowered the girls with education on those topics. The aim for the program was to keep the girls protected through their knowledge of Christ and knowledge of the true facts rather than societal myths. The girls would meet once a month, learn about health and spirituality, and engage in other sports and activities. They would also be provided with various supplies they needed for school as to encourage their education. The program grew, and every year, an average of 250 girls would be accepted. By the grace of God, throughout the years, all the girls would receive testing of HIV/AIDS, and 0% tested positive. Another blessing was that during the program, early and unplanned pregnancy rate was at 0%, compared to the outside world where many girls would become pregnant at this age.
Women Bible School
Women in the Kenyan society do not have as many education opportunities as the men, such as the opportunity to learn about faith and service. In 2009, the Women Bible School was established as a one year program to offer women a pre-servants training. Once a week, the women would gather for classes on the New Testament, Old Testament, Spirituality, Church Sacraments, Church History, and Cultural Traditions in the light of the Bible. The program ended after two years in 2011.
St. Athanasius Theology School
With the growth of the services and the need in Kenya, MFC found a dire need for more church leaders and servants* to be part of the mission. Therefore, the St. Athanasius Theology school was founded in 2006. It was a one year boarding program aimed to teach people interested in service about the Coptic Orthodox church and the life of mission. The program involved not only theological and spiritual teaching but also a hands on experience. The students would spend time preaching and doing mission work in different villages, prisons, and markets. Graduates from the St. Athanasius Theology school became leaders, deacons, and priests. Since its foundation until its end in 2009, the school has had about 100 graduates.
*In the Coptic church, we call anyone called to the life of mission or service in any kind a servant following what St. Paul said in 2 Corinthians: “But in everything commanding ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in much afflictions, in hardships, in distresses.”
Leaving the Jar
Human trafficking is a prevalent growing issue in Kenya, and with the rising numbers, MFC launched Leaving The Jar in 2012. Leaving the Jar’s mission is to rescue and care for any trafficking and prostitution victims. The program aims to provide physical, mental, and spiritual rehabilitation for the victims of sex trafficking and prostitution. It also provides career training programs to ensure that victims have the necessary economic power to transition into mainstream society. The program has even allowed a chance for those women who choose to continue their education and receive higher education degrees. Since its launching, the program has helped over 300 women, and it still continues to this day. This year, a new group of 30 women are currently enrolled in the program.
Widows are a part of Kenyan society that often get neglected. With the passing away of their spouse, their families oftentimes face economical hardships and emotional instability. In 2009, MFC launched Christ’s Brides to offer care for the widows. The program equips the widows with the ability to start small businesses. The businesses allow them to have a steady income to care for their families as well as help them cope with the loss of their spouse. MFC also provides for other various needs as they arise such as home renovations. In addition, to offer them a community, they gather once a week to study the Bible together. Such a community offers them a place to receive emotional and spiritual support. Since its foundation and to this day, the program has helped over 70 widows.
In 2002, MFC expanded the leadership of the Christ’s Children program. In Kenya, the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” cannot be farther from the truth. One orphan is another family’s adopted child. However, as some families adopt more children, the economical burden may increase. Christ’s children aims to provide for the educational and financial needs of the young children through provisions for the home and the children’s education. The program also takes care of the children from a spiritual aspect by having an interactive spiritual day once a month. Over the years, the program has been able to support over 300 orphans per month.
MFC provides both in person and virtual trainings to any mission group coming to the different sites. The training is used to teach about the culture, language, and different customs that the missionaries will be exposed to. Such training is necessary to ensure that the group would be prepared to serve the people with a correct understanding of the culture and societal differences.
Education Scholarship Program
Kenya has about 86% poverty rate which leaves children no choice but to work to help out their families and leave their education. MFC saw a need to educate the youth to give them a bright future, so the Education scholarship Program was launched in 2003. This program offered an education opportunity from elementary school through college. To encourage them to stay on the path and not turn to prostitution or other ways, the students had to keep attending church regularly. The program was especially beneficial to girls as it is common in Kenya to marry off a girl if there is not enough money rather than provide her with an education. Some girls even found themselves selling their bodies to provide an income for their family. Therefore, they needed a path to continue their education. Since its foundation, the program has had over 800 children.