We're creating freedom through education with Kenya Kids International

Kenya Kids International

08 March 2024 | 5 min read

We're creating freedom through education with Kenya Kids International

We support Kenya Kids International (KKI), an Australian charity that strengthens the lives of young people and communities in Karungu, Kenya.

Creating freedom for individuals and communities aligns with our ethos of freedom and social connection. We value the impact KKI continues to have as it supports the education, health and wellbeing of young people and their families. From providing school resources and facilities to covering school fees, uniforms, further education and training, micro-financing, improving water accessibility and supporting children with special needs.

Interview with Kenya Kids International Founders, Robert and Rikki Fisher

Hi Rob and Rikki! Kenya Kids International is doing meaningful work supporting young people in Kenya. Can you tell us your top three highlights of 2023?

  • Returning to Kenya in April 2023 was fantastic. COVID-19 and ill health prevented us from travelling for three years. This was a valuable time to connect with our volunteer Kenyan partners, the KPC Community Based Organisation. We visited the families of 25 new sponsored students as well as four university students, whilst two more students began their university studies.
  • Employing our first staff member in Kenya and renting office space was a huge step for us. The primary role of our Student Care Worker is to support all our sponsored students by purchasing textbooks, paying school fees, helping with living arrangements, organising doctor’s visits and anything else a student needs. Our staff member also performs other duties for various KKI programs

  • Restarting a feeding program at Agolomuok Primary School to provide breakfast and lunch for almost 300 children. Previously many children came to school hungry, often leaving at lunchtime in search of food but then not returning to school. The provision of meals keeps children at school with the energy to learn.

Kenya Kids International supports the Karungu community in Kenya — what’s your connection with the Karungu community?

In 2011 we spent three months backpacking in East Africa. At one point we stayed in Karungu with a Kenyan who wanted to show us the nearby Agolomuok Primary School. After returning to Australia we decided to help children from Agolomuok Primary School attend secondary school. From that decision grew Kenya Kids International.

Probably the most significant connection is in relation to the provision of clean drinking water for the Agolomuok community. Many years ago a bore was sunk to pump clean water using solar energy to generate electricity.

Some years ago both the pump and solar panels failed so families had to walk up to five kilometres to Lake Victoria to collect water. KKI provided a new water pump and new solar panels to get the system working again.

You return to Kenya each year to meet with teachers, students and their families. Can you tell us about your upcoming trip?

We leave for Kenya in early April. One of our sponsors will travel with us to meet his student and to see the work KKI does. He is also going on a five-day safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

We will visit 14 new students and their families and hold a meeting with all of our sponsored students. Our Student Care Worker has resigned so we will interview and appoint a new person to that role.

With the help of our Kenyan committee we will select participants for our micro-finance program called First Fruits. This program provides animals to breed or an interest-free loan to start a business, often selling second-hand clothes in the market.

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Supporting university students through Kenya Kids International

Ability Consultants is grateful to be supporting two university students in 2024. Can you tell us about tertiary education in Kenya?

Kenya has a population of over 56 million and about 90 universities. 10,000 students or more may attend a particular university. Students are “called” to a university depending on their marks and the course of study. Universities may provide accommodation and meals for some students but most need to find private accommodation.

Our students often go to university far from where they live. They always need help to pay for transport, to obtain a suitcase and to buy a mattress and bedding. Often they need more clothes and footwear as well as a mobile phone and computer.

One of our students rents a small room in a compound of about 20. He cooks his meals on a gas burner in one corner and has a bed, table and chair. There is no electricity. His few clothes hang on a nail in the wall. There is one communal toilet and one shower that everyone uses. He walks one and a half hours to and from university each day.

Ability Consultants is supporting Byrone — it’s wonderful that he’s pursuing tertiary education and that he plans to study medicine. Can you tell us more about Byrone?

Byrone is from a very low-income family. He’s 18 years old and is the second eldest of four siblings. Both parents are alive and his mother is the main breadwinner. She buys and sells tomatoes and kale whilst his father prepares and sells charcoal.

From the time Byrone was first sponsored in secondary school in 2020, his ambition has been to become a surgeon. Byrone’s interests are soccer, soccer and soccer…. and he is very good at it.

We’re also supporting Catherine, who is also pursuing tertiary education to study information and communication technology. Tell us more about Catherine.

Catherine is from a particularly low-income family. She is the eldest of six children and turns 19 this year. The thing she likes most is spending time with her family, encouraging one another. Her mother is a fishmonger and her father a fisherman.

Catherine’s interests are volleyball and reading novels. She enjoys listening to Swahili music and her favourite food is fried fish and chips.

How to support education and communities through Kenya Kids International

For those interested in supporting individuals and communities through Kenya Kids International, what are the next steps? Can you tell us KKI’s priority areas for sponsorship in 2024?

Have a look at our website www.kenyakidsinternational.org.au for more information. Call Rob on 0409 413 248 to discuss your interest or email [email protected].

A big priority for 2024 is to find more sponsors for university students. Currently, we have 6 graduates from secondary school who are eligible for tertiary study. Costs vary from $2,500 to $4,000 per year.

Another priority is helping the Macalder Mine Baby Home provide milk formula for the babies in care. $400 feeds a baby for 6 months until they move to solid food.

Rob, Rikki, Byrone and Catherine, we wish you and the Karungu community all the best for 2024.

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We're creating freedom through education with Kenya Kids International

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