Photo Album: Sack Gardening in the Slums

Mike graduated in 1996 from Daystar University. After graduating, he began a unique project, helping families in Nairobi slums with “sack gardening”.

Mike gave families large plastic sacks that are easily filled with soil and grow sukuma wiki, a highly nutritious green. Mike taught the families about gardening and how to care for their vegetables. Because the slums are crowded and have very limited green space, the sack gardens provide fresh vegetables to people with even the most limited resources.

Mike used his education and experiences from Daystar to help families in an unexpected way.

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After graduating, Daystar alumni bring culturally-relevant solutions to their communities, helping solve the continent’s greatest problems.

Today's students are tomorrow's alumni. You can help sponsor a student who is struggling to get an education. 

Africa Rise: Songs from Daystar University's Afrizo

We all treasure the experience of Afrizo: the joyful melodies, the rich voices, and the colorful personalities that create a vibrant African experience.  But Afrizo’s songs and voices are more than just entertainment—they tell the story about how Daystar University is impacting the entire African continent, one student at a time.

Every Afrizo song has a deeper message waiting to be discovered. It's often a message that reflects Daystar's dedication to educating Christian servant leaders to impact Africa. Let’s look deeper at one of Afrizo’ songs and see how it exemplifies the mission of Daystar University.

Those who have traveled to Africa know the poverty, oppression, and despair that often chains its people. Despite these hardships, many good things are happening across the continent. Afrizo's song “Africa Rise” tells the story of how perseverance and faith brings reward:

 

 


From the ashes of pain, to the ashes of shame
We’ve come this far, thanks to God
Now there’s no looking back, we’re moving forward
We’re moving forward, tunasonga mbele (we are moving forward)

Nitasonga mbele (I will move forward)

Haven’t you heard that we all have a different story?
We want what they have but we are not the same
Patience pays; it never disappoints
So hope and trust that we are
And you will see, we will be
Every day we will press on, just believe

Nitasonga mbele (I will move forward)

Pamoja, twasonga mbele (together we are moving forward)
Pamoja, twaenda mbali (together we are going far)
Na kwa umoja, tutazidi (and in unity we will increase)
In peace love and harmony

Words and music by Manasseh Shalom


Afrizo did not simply record, sing, and perform “Africa Rise” to give its audiences an African experience; it traveled across five U.S. states to raise funds for scholarship students studying at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya. No one knows the truths in the song “Africa Rise” better than these students. One particular student, Thomas, shares his experiences growing up and struggling through lots of “ashes”— pain of a family death and the shame of poverty—but he found hope to move forward.

“I am the seventh born in a family of eight. After the death of my father in 2005, all my five elder sisters went into early marriages. Due to our increased poverty and hostility from our father’s family, my mother, two brothers, and I were forced to move into a Nairobi slum. We had nowhere to live, and we thank God that a church opened its doors to us as a home for three years. Later, my mother did get a job, but her salary could not sustain the family and pay for my school fees for me and my brothers.”

Since receiving a scholarship funded by U.S. donors, Thomas knows what it means when Afrizo sings, “Patience pays; it never disappoints.” Thomas hoped, trusted, and believed in God, and he pressed on through hard times to see his dream of a university education come true.

Thomas has come this far thanks to God, as the “Africa Rise” song begins. He says: “I believe God has good plans for my future; plans to give me hope. I am convinced that the blessings of the Lord on me will overflow to others. It is my prayer that at some point in life I will be in a position to support a number of students to study at Daystar, and build schools and orphanages to care for the poor children in Nairobi’s slums.”

Afrizo met with Thomas (fourth from right) and other scholarship recipients prior to leaving for their U.S. tour. 

Afrizo met with Thomas (fourth from right) and other scholarship recipients prior to leaving for their U.S. tour. 

“Africa Rise” reflects Thomas' life and the lives of so many who have faced many ashes in their lives, yet still rise up and move forward with hope for a better life.

Daystar U.S. is privileged to hear the stories of over 100 students every year who share how they’ve come from ashes of shame to a solid and hopeful place at Daystar University, thanks to God and generous American donors. Your gifts give them strength to move forward. 

Tunasonga mbele! We are moving forward!

Alumni Report: John

John Ndegwa studied communication and marketing at Daystar University. When he graduated in 1999, he asked himself, “How can I glorify God in what I do?” John didn’t think he had the right skills to become a pastor but knew whatever he did, he wanted to have a role in furthering God’s Kingdom.

John always had an interest in tourism and so with one van and a dream to serve, John started Aramati Safaris. He started his tourism company with the intention of accommodating pastors and missionaries in particular. “I might not be a good pastor, but at least I can serve them,” John said.

Aramati means ‘stewardship’ in John’s native language. “It is a constant reminder that I am a steward to God’s resources, my clients, and my employees.” John now has four vans and four drivers. He is good to his employees, paying them fair wages and even giving them opportunities to buy the vans they drive, so they can have a stake in the company.

Aramati Safaris has proved itself to be a reliable company, earning the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) bonded rating. Aramati provides transportation, lodging, safaris, and all the details in between. John serves clients such as Calvin College and Habitat for Humanity.

John gives the success of his business to God and Daystar University. “When I look back, I see how Daystar prepared me. Daystar is impacting Africa with wholesome education.”

In Loving Memory of Dr. Jon Masso

Daystar U.S. is incredibly saddened by the unexpected passing of Daystar U.S. missionary, Dr. Jon Masso. Jon served Daystar University in various capacities for nearly 20 years. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, his four children, and 12 grandchildren. Memorial services in his honor were held at Daystar University on March 1 & 2.

 
Clayton Peel, lecturer at Daystar University, shared his thoughts about his longtime colleague and friend:

Dr. Jon Masso, a retired Deputy Vice Chancellor of our university, is the epitome of a leader. I speak of Dr. Masso in the present tense, firstly because the God he believes in promises and grants eternal life. I also speak of Dr. Masso in the present tense because his works of charity, faith, good stewardship, good citizenship, and integrity are very much alive with us, and will be with us in this community for a long time to come. Alumni and current students whose education at Daystar was and is supported by Dr. Masso and his wife Phyllis; the School of Sciences, Engineering and Health which he pioneered and led as its first Dean; his pioneering work as an early resident in the wider Lukenya community; his compassionate contribution to addressing child destitution - these are just some of the pearls Dr. Masso bestowed on our community and the great country of Kenya.

Dr. Masso often accused me of flattery, an accusation he would make with his trademark smile whenever I pointed out to others what an important brick in the Daystar foundation he was. But I stand by every word I ever uttered of Dr. Masso. He embodied the finesse of academic management, knowledge, and people skills. He was quality with humility. And from what I knew and saw, he did not really crave the recognition of others that I believe he deserved.

One more thing: he and his wife, Phyllis, loved Kenya. Those of us who talked to them about their decision to relocate to the US know the anguish that accompanied that decision. It was fitting in a sense that, when the Lord called Jon Masso to glory, He did so during a three-month return to the land that had a special place in Jon Masso's heart - Kenya.

Rest peacefully, Mzee.

Clayton Peel, Senior Lecturer of Communications

Along with their dedicated work at Daystar University, Jon and Phyllis founded Ahadi Family Kenya, a Christian children's home in Chunvi Machakos County for at risk young boys in the community.

Along with their dedicated work at Daystar University, Jon and Phyllis founded Ahadi Family Kenya, a Christian children's home in Chunvi Machakos County for at risk young boys in the community.

 

We appreciate keeping Phyllis and the Masso family in your prayers during this difficult time. Phyllis has asked that memorials be given to the Jon & Phyllis Masso Scholarship Fund through the Daystar U.S. Office.

New Daystar Law Program to Bring Hope to a Continent

Quality of governance is a major obstacle to development in Africa. There is no doubt that legal professionals play a major role in the structuring and operations of governments. Africa is in dire need of legal professionals of integrity. In order to address this need, Daystar University has developed a unique Bachelor of Law curriculum that emphasizes ethics and accountability to man and God. 

In the face of governments that are riddled with corruption, the development of servant leaders with integrity is the greatest need in Africa. Daystar graduates are leaders prepared to do just that – stand up for truth in a world that seems to offer no hope for a solution.

Each year approximately 1,000 students from more than 30 different countries in Africa graduate from Daystar. More than 90% of these graduates remain in Africa. In fact, a significant number return home with a commitment to be involved in the development of their community.

Daystar’s liberal arts approach to training will ensure that its graduates are well-rounded professionals who integrate faith and learning with innovative law practices. The University plans to launch the program this spring and bring a new hope of integrity and transformation to the African continent.