Serving others is a passion of Katherine Rodgers ’15, M.S. ’17, but serving those who are in need and often ostracized has become her life calling. Rodgers established Purposefully Made Ministries, a nonprofit organization in Kenya that provides education and health care to children with disabilities.
Her passion for serving children began at an early age and grew as she pursued her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Orlean Beeson School of Education.
“During my time at Samford, my professors and the experiences provided to me—truly molded me into who I am today. I was reminded who I am and whose I am, first and foremost in Christ. I was given the opportunity to experience the beautiful and diverse community around me in a way that prepared my heart to serve the least of these wherever the Lord called me to be—to the ends of the Earth,” Rodgers said.
Her passion led her to travel to several countries on mission trips and ultimately start Purposefully Made Ministries.
“I established Purposefully Made Ministries after seeing the vast need for resources within the area of special education in rural Kenya. After witnessing the heartbreaking stigma associated with many children with disabilities, I felt called to create a ministry to not only provide education and resources for these children and their families, but to spread the gospel to these villages, one child at a time, teaching them that every child has a unique purpose from the Lord,” Rodgers said.
According to Rodgers, many children with disabilities do not attend school in their communities for several reasons, one being the stigma associated with having a disability. Due to the lack of education, many people view those with disabilities as being “cursed or possessed.”
“Our ministry focuses on serving the whole child: spiritually, emotionally, physically and academically. We partner with local Christian therapists who meet with several of our children regularly to help process trauma and learn new coping strategies. My staff and I teach our children in a one-on-one or small group setting by focusing on crucial developmental milestones, such as cognitive, social, emotional, sensory and fine motor skills. Each child receives routine wellness visits by local doctors, and when severe medical cases or emergencies arise, our team partners with other contacts in larger cities, such as Nairobi,” Rodgers said.
Despite challenges, Rodgers says she continues in her mission of serving children in need thanks to her faith in God, who she credits for the success of the organization.
“There have been challenges along this journey, such as communication and cultural differences. However, the Lord has used these opportunities to allow me to grow in my dependence upon him and his plan, for it is his story and all for his glory,” Rodgers said.
For more information about Purposefully Made Ministries, go to purposefullymadeministries.org.