History of ERFA
In 2004, 10-year-old Ellie Ambrose heard Larry Warren speak to her church. That Sunday morning encounter would change her life and the lives of thousands of kids in Africa.
At the time a missionary with African Leadership, Warren shared stories and photos of children in the Kibera slum who had one set of clothes, torn shoes and no promise of three meals a day. Their ability to even go to school depended on their ability to scrape together $25 a year for shoes, a uniform and schoolbooks.
Shocked at their situation, Ellie did what most adults don’t do after a missionary speaks to a large church service in a religiously-oriented community.
She dreamed. And she took action on behalf of students she had never met.
Over the course of the next several weeks, Ellie prayed that God would help her find a way to give these orphans some of the same things she had in America – shelter, food, clothes and a chance to go to school. The result of her prayers was a conviction to start a 5K race that included a carnival, so that runners and families would be excited to attend.
At the age of ten, Ellie recruited a team of volunteers to help her host the first Ellie’s Run for Africa in September of 2004. Drawing approximately 700 attendees, that first event featured a 5K race, inflatable games, food and cultural entertainment for all who attended. In the end, it raised more than $18,000 for schools in Kibera – one of Africa’s largest slums.
That year, Ellie made her first trip to Africa to visit the students in Kibera she had only seen in pictures. Her time there was spent not only meeting the physical needs of hundred of children, but also connecting – kid-to-kid – with the children. Since that year, Ellie has now racked up three trips to Africa to continue to see how the funds raised through the race impact the kids she has grown to love.
Now in its eighth year, Ellie’s Run for Africa has raised more than $300,000 to benefit a number of educational ministries, and continues its mission to be more than just a 5K race. Our goal is to provide a local opportunity for individuals and families to walk alongside African children, supporting their education and giving them hope to get out of the slum. From runners to our Heroes fundraisers, there’s a place for anyone to become part of this movement.