Baylor alums bring healing and a home to orphans in Kenya
The stories of the children at Naomi’s Village are heart-wrenching. All of have lost their parents, many to extreme brutality at the hands of terrorists or other family members. Still others were abandoned. Sadly, their stories are not uncommon. The orphan crisis in Africa is particularly acute in Kenya, where nearly 700 children are orphaned each day.
Dr. Bob Mendonsa, BA ’88, and his wife, Julie, BSEd ’89, saw that need and wanted to help — but Kenya is a long way from the north Dallas suburbs.
Dr. Mendonsa’s heart for Kenya was sparked when he served as an interim orthopedic surgeon in Kijabe, Kenya, in 2003, where he treated men, women and children dealing with a range of injuries, from a man whose leg had been crushed by a hippopotamus to maladies that had gone untreated for weeks. Moved by his experience, he returned to his family in the Dallas area with a passion to help the people of Kijabe.
Five years later, Bob and Julie (and their two children, Emily and Will) left the comforts of home behind and embarked to Kenya to found Naomi’s Village, which provides a home, education, healthcare, spiritual care, counseling and more to orphaned children. Today, they serve more than 50 children who have dealt with some of the worst the world can deal a child, hoping to equip those orphans to become part of the solution to the problems afflicting Kenya. The Mendonsas have also opened Cornerstone Preparatory Academy to help their children avoid the lives of crime and prostitution that entice so many impoverished Kenyans.
As their mission grows, many others are partnering with them on mission trips and service projects throughout Kenya — one of them a Baylor grad who was recently was hired by Naomi’s Village. After volunteering on two mission trips, Rachel Lewis, BBA ’05, left her job as a sports planner to join Naomi’s Village as their stateside director of development. From Baylor to DFW to Kenya, the Mendonsas have taken Baylor’s mission of “worldwide leadership” quite literally.
Sic ’em, Naomi’s Village!
[Learn more about Naomi’s Village in this article from the Spring 2014 issue of Baylor Magazine or by visiting them on Facebook and Twitter.]