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Providing Possibilities for Kenyan Youth: Ignite Your Destiny International
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By Nigel Garnaitis

Ignite Your Destiny is a new ministry with a simple goal: to tell Kenyan youth that they have a purpose and a destiny because God loves them. Gacheri Muriuki, the founder and executive director of the organization, felt for many years that she wanted to build a school in her hometown of Meru, Kenya. It was not until recently, with God’s guidance and her home church’s discernment that she realized this was God calling her to action. “At first I though, ‘No, that’s not me!’ … But eventually, as I came to accept it, saying, ‘Yes, I want to do what you want me to do, Lord,’ then I started seeing the vision become clear.”

Muriuki’s vision is to help meet the needs of youth in Kenyan communities through vocational training. She recounts a visit to an orphanage where she learned from the directors that the young people typically leave without having a clear plan for their lives. On top of this, many Kenyan youth who live in poverty are not able to get a high school education. This is caused by family cultures that do not see the value in education, the high costs for uniforms and tuition, and the lack of capacity many schools already experience.

These conditions create bleak futures for many Kenyan youth. Muriuki shared a story of how a young boy attempted to sell one of his kidneys because he could not afford a high school tuition. Other children find themselves getting into trouble with the law, because they do not see any other options of earning a living. Muriuki explains, “These kids become idle, and they can be used for anything! In 2007, there was post-election violence in Kenya. According to a World Bank report, the killings that happened were perpetrated by the youth. This is because the people behind this use the youth! The kids have nothing to loose, and they get a few shillings out of it.”

To counter this, Ignite Your Destiny seeks to establish a vocational school to provide holistic possibilities to help them to become the people God intended them to be. Besides providing education to these youth, Muriuki wants to provide practical vocational skills training. “We don’t have a lot of mid-level colleges where kids can go for skills. So, we are hoping that we can set up a vocational school. If they don’t want to go into academics, we can train them in skills, like carpentry, welding, IT [intelligence technology], so that they can get a job or employ themselves.”

She wants to extend these opportunities to both boys and girls, as a girl’s education is not valued in many parts of Kenya. Muriuki herself is an example of how education benefits whole communities. Through her family’s early investment in her education, she was able to earn her PhD in the United States. She hopes to return to Meru through Ignite Your Destiny to provide new possibilties for the girls there. “When we go to orphages, we say specifically that we want to speak to the girls. We want to tell them, ‘You can make it!’ We want to show them the value of education.”

On top of academic and vocational training, the centre will also help to develop the character of the youth. Miriuki laments how many communities lack leaders who know their God-given purpose, and who have a strong character. By teaching these children about who God is and how he calls for them to live, she hopes that they will bring God’s light back to their communities. Miriuki is confident that if you build into the youth, you will improve everyone’s quality of life.

The first step the organization will take is purchase a plot of land in Meru, Kenya to establish it’s first vocational school. Over time, Muriuki hopes to see this model brought to other communities in Kenya. However, since it just became an organization this year, Ignite Your Destiny is looking for many levels of support. Currently, they are looking for people to pray for the initiative to ensure all things are placed in God’s hands. They are also looking for people to donate money and spread the word so that they can purchase the land and begin the process of developing programs.

Muriuki hopes that Ignite Your Destiny will provide the Christian community in London the chance to be involved in the destinies of Kenyan youth. She wants her organization to be a gateway to relationships and opportunities that extend from here all the way to Kenya. As the organization builds momentum, she hopes to bring people from London to Meru on volunteer trips. She also hopes that the stories from the school will inspire Londoners to continue to invest in youth both locally and internationally.

If you are interested in getting involved with Ignite Your Destiny in any way, click HERE to visit their website, or email