In 2005, Jana O’Guin visited Kitale on a mission trip and was astonished by its abject poverty and the many street children begging for food and sniffing glue to self-anesthetize from the cold and pangs of hunger.
The mission team visited a men’s prison to deliver mosquito nets, basic necessities, put on a concert and share a message of Christ. Afterwards, Jana learned there was a women’s prison just on the other side of the wall but prison officials had “forgot” about them. These forgotten women tugged on Jana’s heart and she asked to visit them.
Inside the women’s prison, Jana discovered 75 women and 18 children living within its walls. Each woman could have a child with her until the child turned four years old. Yes, children in prison!
Jana was allowed to speak with the women, shake hands, and even give some hugs. Most of the children were scared of her white skin since most had never seen a white person before. Many screamed if Jana got too close.However, one little boy about five months old, Augustine, allowed her to hold him as he played with her long hair. A bond was formed. Sadly, Augustine had been born in prison!
When prison children reach four years in age, they must leave. Augustine was sent to stay with reluctant relatives. Jana and her husband, Michael, learned that Augustine was severely malnourished and very sick. They intervened and arranged for him to be taken to the hospital for life saving treatment and then to live in a group home and attend a Christian school.
Jana and Michael discovered that Augustine had a sister who was one year older. Elizabeth’s “job” was taking care of her uncle’s
house, including fetching firewood to cook with and toting water from the river, while her own basic needs of food, medical care and education were being ignored. Jana and Michael arranged for Elizabeth to join Augustine in the group home and attend school.
Jana recognized the importance of being in a family, so she found a family to take in the children and raise as their own. From these humble beginnings, the ministry has grown and now houses and educates 17 children.
Augustine and Elizabeth’s mother, Nolega, is now out of prison after serving 15 years. Nolega came to know the Lord in prison as she saw how her prayers were answered in saving her children. She became the worship leader in prison and trained in salon work and tailoring. Building Families For Tomorrow helped her start a small shop where she can do hair, beadwork and tailoring to build a future for herself and her children.