In 1992, Cheri Thompson and friends witnessed ten boys – one only three years old – getting beaten by police because they were begging for food.
Cheri Thompson is the Founder and International Director of Challenge Farm. She has a BS in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri and more than 30 years of teaching experience in three countries.
Cheri has five children, three from her late husband Dr. Richard Thompson and two that they adopted from Kenya.
She divides her time between Kitale, Kenya and North Carolina. Her time in the U.S. is spent fundraising and public speaking. She’s known in Kitale as "Mama Cheri" for her deep love for Africa and the African people.
As a result, Cheri and several friends began a weekly feeding and education program for those ten boys. The program quickly grew from a once-a-week program to a full-time program serving over 200 children. It became known as the Light and Power Center. The program located in Kawangware, one of the worst slums in Nairobi, Kenya, provided children with food, literacy training, and basic work skills as an alternative to street life. Challenge Clubs, also part of the program was designed to encourage boys and girls to come off the streets and get involved in literacy, arts, sports, and Bible study. Gift bag making and welding became a source of income for many of the young men. More than 50 street kids came - After training Kenyans to run the project, Cheri and her family moved to Kitale, Kenya in 1999. They established another Light and Power Center in Kitale, a drop-in center where more than 50 street kids came for hot meals, medical care, and training in literacy and life skills.
The mission was to provide a more stable, safe environment for children - The following year, the Thompsons bought a ten-acre farm 7km northeast of town, in order to expand their ministry. The mission was to provide a more stable, safe environment for children currently living on the streets. Before the farm could be developed into what we now know as Challenge Farm, Cheri’s husband Rick was diagnosed with cancer and died ten months later. However with the help of short-term missionaries, and missions teams from various churches and many supporters Challenge Farm continues to grow.