Ben Mwangi Kinyanjui grew up in the slums of Korogocho, one of the largest in Nairobi, Kenya. The conditions inside his parent's home mirrored those outside on the muddy, garbage-filled streets. In Korogocho, most families live below the poverty line, earning just U.S. $1 a day. Unemployment has bred a potent mix of crime, drug abuse and alcohol abuse.
Ben had no safe place to retreat -- until he found Compassion. At age 10, he was registered in Compassion's local child development center. Suddenly he had a peaceful place to do his homework after school. He could play with his friends in the safety of the center without being accosted by local gang members.
As Ben progressed in Compassion's programs, he became more determined to forge a life different from his peers. He began leading Bible studies and was soon recognized as a leader at his church. He studied hard in school and was accepted into Compassion's Leadership Development Program, which covered the cost of his college education through sponsorship. Ben says, "To me, university was a dream until I got the scholarship. Sometimes I wonder, why was I chosen from all of the students in Korogocho. But I believe the Lord works in miraculous ways and Compassion is my miracle."
Ben now aims to disciple teenagers through Teen-Teen Connection, which connects a teenager in a developed nation with another in a developing country. He believes that through Compassion, teen sponsorships will build mentoring relationships and that materially rich teens will learn to relate to those in a world that is materially poor and vice versa.