H.O.P.E Amplified (Kenya)
Tony is a long time friend of Heather’s and someone she has worked alongside many times. We are partnering with Tony and supporting his basic living expenses as well as ministry expenses, so that he can continue impacting the lives of street kids. We want to continue to raise support to help the children of H.O.P.E. Amplified. Please partner with us to help this incredible ministry.
Tony’s story, in is own words:
Read Tony’s incredible story by clicking here.
Click here to help support Tony’s ministry to street kids in Kenya.
I think for anyone to understand my passion for working with kids and the youth, it would be helpful to hear my story so you can understand where I am coming from.
My full names are Antony Shisia Makokha Were. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya to my parents, Calisto Makokha and Josephine Were on September 22, 1981. My mum is deaf. She was born a normal healthy baby girl until she got mumps at the age of 7. The childhood disease wasn’t treated in time (medical facilities in the rural areas back then were non-existent) and after a while it complicated to her complete loss of hearing.
My father was working for the Kenya Railway company in Nairobi when they got married. [When I was 2], my mum separated from my dad after he turned violent due to his worsening alcoholism. My mum who didn’t have a job at the time took me to my grandmas as she looked for work in the city. I stayed with my grandma until I was about 5. My mum came back for me after she got a temporary job as a copy typist at a newly formed NGO for the deaf – Kenya Society for the Deaf Children. I lived with her in a one room house near the Kibera slums. I attended the old primary school in the same slum (Toi Primary School), until I was 8 years old.
A missionary who had flown in to work with deaf people in Kenya met my mum just as the African Children’s Choir/Music For Life was launching its outreach in Kenya. (The ACC had originated in Uganda in 1986 following Idi Amin’s reign of terror.) The missionary was touched by my mum’s plight and my sickly childhood and she urged my mum to take me for auditions which were actually happening in the same slum- Kibera! This was in 1990. I was among 26 children selected to form the first African children’s choir from Kenya- Choir number 6. They cleaned me up, treated me, taught me about Jesus and taught me how to sing. It was life transforming- even before the actual tour! After about 5 months of training in Kenya, we jetted out of the country for a one and a half year tour of North America – Canada and USA.
Those were some of the best days of my life. I was loved and cared for and taught about Jesus every single day through devotions by the chaperones who had volunteered to work with us. We were told we were special and that God had a plan for us. We were told to dream of becoming anything – and we would achieve it through Gods help. We performed to thousands of people in various churches, halls and gymnasiums – they clapped for us, cheered us on and told us we were amazing. That did a lot to my self-esteem. Imagine what such an experience did for a slum boy – singing and performing to presidents, celebrities and other famous people! It was definitely a new dawn for me.
I did three other tours, much shorter than the first: Northern Ireland- 6 months, Taiwan- 4 months, Seychelles, Singapore and Malaysia – 3 months. After this, Acc/ Music for Life put me through school until college. I pursued Broadcast Journalism and graduated with a college diploma in early 2005. ACC actually helped me secure an internship with the BBC for six months in Cornwall-Southwest England. I came back and got a job almost immediately due to the fact that I had the BBC experience on my CV. I worked for the largest media house in East Africa, Nation Media Group, as a radio news reporter for both of their English and Swahili radio stations.
I took a break from Journalism towards the end of 2008 and barely 2 months later, I got a call from African Children’s Choir who requested me to volunteer with them as a chaperone for a period of about a year and a half (3 months of training and 16 months of touring) I thank God I did, because that experience is the reason why I have this dream! God gave me a passion for teaching and mentoring children that I never knew existed in me.