a handwritten letter - two Harwood Union middle schoolers reading letters from their pen pals in Kenya


Connecting with students

In 2007, Ruth began a writing program called “Messages of Mercy,” connecting students who attend public and private schools in the United States with students at primary and secondary schools in Kenyan villages. Since then, hundreds of American and Kenyan children have been able to connect with each other simply by writing a letter.  Some of these Kenyan children live ordinary lives, others have been orphaned by the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, and still others have been displaced by political and tribal crises.

Their friends in the USA face their own issues as well.  All of the children have one thing in common: they want to have a friend on the other side of the world.  Messages of Mercy provides a safe way for students on both sides of the globe to share their ambitions and frustrations about everyday life.  After introducing this program to students in Vermont, Ruth heard an 8th grade girl exclaim, “My pen pal is  just like me!  She worries about the same things I do!”

a drawing of two children connecting across the world
Messages of Mercy by Morgan, 4th grader at Waitsfield Elementary School

Click on the link below to see Kenyan students connecting with their pen pals in America: https://youtu.be/HhM82vkcKcg

For information on how your classroom can write letters to students in Kenya, visit  Messages of Mercy.

Collaborating with others

An important goal of Everyone’s Child is to promote education for children through participatory partnerships with local leaders and citizens.   While Ruth was conducting her doctoral research in Kenya, she became aware of an important collaboration  between the village, the sponsors, the school and the government.  This connection among four central groups in Kenya plays a significant role in the education of future generations.

• Watch our video below to learn more:

Everyone’s Child: changing a generation through education.