Group leader Joseph Kirantu (middle) meets with members of the Neema Youth Government. All are current or former Compassion-sponsored youth with a desire to give back to the community.
Among the Maasai community of Kenya, age groups are sacred. From circumcision to Moranism (warrior stage) to marriage and beyond, a group becomes a band that will share everything for the rest of their lives.
Morans (warriors) are the pride of the Maasai community. They are young, energetic and fiercely proud. They've been known to take on lions! So it was with some excitement that I learned Compassion-assisted children at the Najile Child Development Center (KE-901) had formed an alumni group. I decided to go and check for myself.
I arrived at Najile to find the welcoming team of the Neema Youth Government. "Neema." I like that. It means "grace." Joseph Kirantu, 20, is the group leader. He tells me, "Back in August 1998, a group of us all sponsored children said to ourselves, 'We have received so much grace from God through Compassion; what can we do to sustain what we have learned and spread it to our community?'
"Thirty of us, 14 girls and 16 boys, started the group," Joseph explains. "Eighteen members are still under Compassion sponsorship. We set several objectives for ourselves. First, we wanted to economically empower ourselves. We each contributed $2.50 as seed money. We bought three rams that we fattened and sold at a profit. With the profit, we bought he-goats, and after we sold them, bought more. Now we have 16 goats and are adding more."
The group's second objective is to equip their neighbors with food-security strategies. "We do this in partnership with a local community-based organization," Joseph says. "We help provide our neighbors with drip-irrigation kits, drought-resistant crops and hardier livestock."
"Our third objective," Joseph continues, "is to spread HIV/AIDS awareness. We organize seminars to discuss the reality of AIDS and how we can stop the tragedy."
"The greatest gift we have received through Compassion's assistance is that we have been introduced to the Lord Jesus," Joseph asserts. "Of the 30 members, only one is not yet born again. We feel it is our responsibility to share Christ with our community, especially the youth."
There is no doubt this group of Compassion-sponsored youth have entered the warrior stage and, because of their sponsorship, have come of age for God.
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