NAIROBI, KENYA - The Judah Care Center started out under the ministry of a church by the same name, according to Teresa Wangui.
Wangui said her husband, Simon Mukundi, is the "pastor and theological lecturer" and her son, Dennis, 24, and a recent university graduate, manages the sponsors' account and also serves as the church pianist and teaches math.
"All the little donations that we get he does proper accounting for," she said.
Children at the Judah Care Center, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, are happy and healthy thanks to the efforts of Teresa Wangui, above right; her husband Pastor Simon Mukundi, left; and their son, Dennis, 24.
Wangui said she teaches the approximately 110 children between ages 7 and 17 years served at the school/home, about 40 of whom are in "extreme poverty" and tries to "ensure that daily operations are well run."
"I worship there and all the kids learn there with us. We teach the Gospel of Christ Jesus," she added.
Wangui and her husband also have three other sons, Kevin, 26; Milkah, 16; and Bill, 11.
She said the Judah Care Center started "to support street and slum children and provide for them a serene environment."
"Most kids would come to the church for the teaching about Jesus Christ and from the look of things, most of them were needy, so the church decided to provide breakfast for them and also lunch every Sunday," she said.
The children's need was more than just food, she added, it was "immense and enormous."
"We realized that giving the kids food wasn't enough and wasn't satisfying at all, we knew that more had to be done in the lives of these children," she added.
That immense need was demonstrated one day following a house fellowship in the "Mbotela" region of the city, which is known as a very poor part of the city.
Wangui said she and her husband had a "life changing moment that defined who we would end up to be and what we have been doing."
Around 6:30 p.m. as they headed home, "a young kid stopped us. He looked terrified and was panting, his skin had bruises and he kept nodding. We knew we had to do something," she said.
The boy, who was 5 at the time, was named Lukas and he now is turning 20, she said.
"His story made us break in tears. It was touching and we needed to help him. Both the parents had passed away, and his uncle forced Lukas to go to the streets of Nairobi and ask for money from people walking," she said.
Every day his uncle expected $200 shillings from Lukas as he would walk from Mbotela to town, a distance of about 3.1 miles.
"It would take a normal adult about one hour to walk. The days that he was not lucky he was in for a physical war from his always-drunk uncle," Wangui said.
The Kenyan system of laws was weak then and no action was being taken to punish such people, she said.
"We arranged with the police for Lukas to sleep at our house and the next day we took action against the uncle," she said.
"Lukas's first good home was in our house where we bought him new clothes and we made him feel at home," she added.
Wangui said her house is not big, so Lukas had to share a room with her two sons, Kevin and Dennis.
"Dennis loves kids and has shown been of great assistance to this ministry more than any person we can thank. Dennis loved Lukas and to this day Lukas sees Dennis as a big brother," she added.
The church decided to start helping more street kids, but due to insufficient funds it only could manage to support 10 kids in 2001.
"The church was able to rent a building where the kids would sleep and also acquired a few beds, and that marked the Genesis of Judah Care Children's home," she said.
Judah Care has grown from grace-to-grace, step-by-step and glory-to-glory to where it is now, Wangui added.
"We have managed to rescue and save many kids who were on the streets, homeless, orphaned and suffering from other conditions," she said.
"God calls the fatherless whose cries are echoing from time to time waiting for the church to hear, we are the hands and the feet of our Savior to those in distress," Wangui added.
"As Christians we must give ourselves to others, we must be Christ to a hurting world and live for the one that comes next."
These 40 don't have a family to support them.
"Most of them lost their parents through different circumstances. These are the students who depend on donations from well-wishers and the church as well, the remaining kids are from the nearby slum of Umoja and some are also dependent on the center while others pay to attend classes," she said.
The funds collected are used to support the children at the center but "it's never enough," Wangui said.
"At Judah, nine teachers are employed to educate the students. The teachers are on payroll and they come and go depending on the availability of funds," she said.
"It's really hard to maintain loyal teachers when you can't pay them enough."
Although the church is doing all things possible to get funds, it is not able to support the children as it wishes to, so it is seeking funding from friends.
The church has about 50 members, she said.
"I am looking for people who can stand with me and Judah Care Home to support these kids," she said.
The children are in need of stationary, clothing, food, health care, shoes, entertain
ment and education, some of the services provided by the church.
"Currently, the food and living environment is way below average," Wangui said.
Wangui said she reached out through social networking trying to find help.
"Pass it to your friends and let's save the kids of Judah Children home and we will be saving future generation. The vision that we have will enable us to save more children from the streets," she said.
Wangui and her husband have purchased land on which to build "a big school where we can provide the best life for these children, but the little support we get from the church is not enough to service our daily needs."
"We have about two people whom I met on Facebook who support our ministry regularly sending $55 dollars every month," she said.
"We publish the little shopping we do on Facebook and try to get more well wishers because it's really challenging for me and my husband to raise the money that is required," she said.
Wangui said the monthly cost for each child is about $90-$120 depending on their age, size and needs for that month.
"That's the average. We spend about $4,000 a month on all of the kids. We account for about $20,000 shillings for the teachers which is about $2,115," she said.
"Most of our teachers don't get paid on time and they end up leaving and that's one of our biggest challenges," Wangui said.
"Raising this money is the biggest challenge for this orphanage and most of the times the kids end up having a non-balanced diet if we cannot manage to raise what is needed," she said.
"We mitigate this by having a small garden at the back of the school and the kids do their agricultural activities there," she said.
For more information about Judah Care Home visit its website at http://www.judahschools.kbo.co.ke/ or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Judah-CARE-HOME/278055288955300.