Our Story


 

Darla and boys framed

Agape began in Kisumu, Kenya in 1993 as a response from the compassionate heart of our founder, Darla Calhoun, RN. Darla was working in community health in the villages and small towns surrounding Kisumu. Whenever she came to town for supplies or to pick up her mail, she would immediately be surrounded by groups of begging street boys.

 

They were dirty. They were hungry. Some of them were sick. Many of them were high from sniffing glue. They were desperate. And she knew in her heart she needed to do something to help them.

 

 She began giving them small bags of peanuts to eat or pieces of soap so they could bathe in nearby Lake Victoria. As the number of boys flocking to meet her grew, she began to meet with them in one of the town parks.

Alarmed by the prospect of as many as 80 to 100 street boys all gathering in one place at the same time, city officials told Darla she would have to end her meetings in the park. At that point she boldly asked the city to provide land where she could care for the boys. In the meantime, she rented a small house, hired a cook and a guard, and invited five boys to leave the streets and come live at what she called, “Agape.”

The city did donate land for the ministry and the local Kisumu Lions Club helped fund construction of the first dormitory building on campus. By 1995, there were 16 boys living at Agape in that single building.

Over the years, the Lord has provided the resources for the ministry to grow and to reach out to many more street children and children at risk.

 

Darla and boys with bread framedToday Agape has three campuses and employs a dedicated Kenyan staff of more than 85 teachers, house parents, guards, and administrative personnel. Additionally, seven missionary couples oversee our operations, train and equip the staff, and help provide guidance and direction for the ministry.

From the original five boys Darla offered to help, the Lord has enabled Agape to grow and now blesses us with being able to provide some form of assistance to scores of children every week.