In this update, we want to introduce you briefly to our wonderful local board in Kisii, Kenya. These folks are part of a much wider team working to raise the 220 children at our school, strengthen our programs, and position us for long-term impact. From left to right, the team includes:
Kwamboka Okari, Founder and Executive Director: Kwamboka grew up in the hills of Kisii, Kenya. She began supporting orphans in the mid-'90s while living in the United States and founded the Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation (MOCF) in 2003. After receiving a land grant from the local government, Kwamboka moved home to Kenya in 2008. She opened Margaret Okari Primary School in 2009 with a vision to establish a premier residential school for orphans and vulnerable children. Since then, she has devoted herself to building Margaret Okari Primary into the top school in the region.
Wekesa: Wekesa joined Margaret Okari Primary School as a teacher in 2012. He was promoted to Deputy Head Teacher the following year and became Head Teacher (essentially a principal who also teaches) in 2014. Wekesa is widely beloved by students, many of whom affectionately call him "dad." He is deeply loyal to our children and mission and, to our great fortune, has declined multiple attempts by other schools to lure him away. He is the driving force behind our students' academic success, often arriving on campus at 5 am and staying until nearly 10 pm to ensure students prepare for class in the morning and study after dinner in the evening. And he frequently goes for a morning jog before coming to school!
Wilma: Wilma moved to Kisii from Washington State in 2012. Since then, she has established a beautiful farm, launched multiple entrepreneurial efforts, and emerged as an important ally and supporter of our school. Wilma is passionate about and experienced with driving nonprofit sustainability, and we are very fortunate to have her on our team.
Francis: Francis was born and raised in the hills near our school, an area of Kisii County known as Gotichaki. He left to build a career working for British Airways but now spends much of his time back in the Gotichaki region. He is widely known and very well respected in the community. In addition to serving on our board, he was recently elected to chair the Gotichaki Community Water Committee, which manages the pumped water system we helped bring to the community thanks to the hard work and generosity of the Rotary Club of Andover, MA.
James: A former university sprinter who has represented Kenya in international competitions, James moved to Kisii several years ago to start his family. His daughter, now 6, was diagnosed with autism at 2.5, and James has spent much of his energy since then establishing a center for autism in Kisii to address the educational needs of children with autism. Autism is still highly stigmatized in Kenya, and James is deeply committed to raising awareness of autism while creating opportunities for children with autism to develop and thrive. His concern for marginalized children extends beyond those with autism, drawing him into the Margaret Okari Primary School family, where we are lucky to benefit from his positive energy, strong work ethic, and strategic thinking.
We are very grateful to all, including those not featured here, who work hard every day to ensure our children are safe and healthy and positioned for educational success. And we thank you for your continued interest, partnership and support -- we couldn't do it without you!
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