Who We Are
Upendo Kids, Inc. was established in 2007 by Eunice and Robert Menja. Robert and Eunice moved from Kenya to Oklahoma in 2004 where they attended Oklahoma State University. Robert and Eunice met in a Kenyan college, Jomo Kenyatta University located in Juja. Eunice taught Sunday School children at their home church, Presbyterian Church of Juja before moving to the United States. When Eunice told the Sunday School kids that she was coming to the US, the children and teachers were sad. They met on a Sunday Afternoon for a farewell party. There were a lot of tears, but there are some words that Eunice kept in her heart; “teacher Eunice never forget us” is what the kids said over and over as they hugged each other good-byes.
After arriving in the US, Eunice’s family decided to help her honor the promise of “remembering” the kids in Kenya. The family raised the first two hundred dollars that was saved in a piggy bank. The money was sent to Kenya to another Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Mahui to provide a Christmas party for the kids. It is after that party that Eunice started receiving requests from several children and parents asking for education sponsorship. One letter that struck Eunice came from a boy named Kelvin. Kelvin was one of Eunice’s students at church who had graduated eighth grade and needed financial support to attend high school. It is this need that awakened Eunice and demanded more from her side. She then started to make necklaces and bracelets (with beads from Kenya). After selling them, she raised enough money to send Kelvin to school.
Over the years, the scholarship demand increased. That is when Eunice decided to look for other sponsors to support more children to attend school.
In Stillwater, Eunice became a teacher at Early Head Start where she discovered the need to give poor children in Kenya early childhood education. The reality hit her after the extensive trainings that led her to understand children’s brain require stimulation right at birth.
Eunice remembered the children in the streets and those from poor families where early childhood education is not free. Her focus then became providing scholarship to children in the age of 3 to 5 years. The number of children receiving sponsorship through Upendo is about 80. Some of the children are attending High school and others have moved on to colleges.
Helping children in Kenya with school fees also led to mission trips. The mission teams took supplies to the children who were receiving sponsorship and others who were attending the public schools around Juja.