Kenya Children’s Fundis the founding organization of the accredited Kinyago-Dandora Primary and Secondary Schools (KDS), is educating hundreds of children per year. We also provide post-secondary education for qualified KDS graduates in Kenyan universities and through a vocational-technical program at our high school. We are lifting children and their families from a place of hopelessness to personal achievement through the catalyst of Christian education from nursery to university.
For families residing in slum settlements, even the basic necessities are not possible for many reasons: acute poverty, home-life situations and unemployment. KDS programs provide an excellent holistic education including health-care, clean water, food and nutrition. Students flourish under the nurturing care of African professionals who impart Biblical principles during their most formative years.
The mission of Kenya Children’s Fund is to create an empowering environment for the youth of Kinyago-Dandora and Kenya in general so they can be independent, contribute to their communities and be active participants in the development efforts of the nation.
John and Babby Schwarz launch the Kenya Children’s Fund, Inc. (KCF) after a visit to the Kinyago slum which is located next to Nairobi’s city dump. Working with the local Anglican Church and community members, the Schwarzs’ decided to start a feeding program and nursery school for the many impoverished children they found living there. Kenya Children’s Fund (KCF) was registered as a 501(c)3 in MN and also as an NGO in Kenya.
The Kenyan Government decided to relocate the residents from Kinyago to a neighboring slum Dandora. At that time, KCF was looking to expand the mission in order to allow children the opportunity to attend primary school thus the beginning of the Kinyago-Dandora Primary School (KDS). Jane Njuguna is hired as the new Managing Director with 350 students in nursery, kindergarten and grade one. The school has a staff office, clinic, kitchen and dining hall serving morning porridge and hot lunches at noon.
Jane Njuguna (below), a high school teacher with a desire to serve the poor, is hired as the Managing Director of KDS which by 1997 is a fully accredited primary school (nursery-grade 8). The first class of 8th graders take the national exams (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) in the fall of 1997. John Schwarz, KCF Founder and President, announces his plan to retire from the ministry.
The Schwarzes now retired begin searching for a partner to operate KDS. World Vision graciously agrees to oversee operations until a successor for John Schwarz is established. During this time, Ginger Palm (above), an executive with a heart for impoverished children, is introduced to the ministry and is visiting KDS routinely with another organization. In early June 2001, Ms. Palm is asked to prayerfully consider the role of KCF President and oversee operations at KDS which she accepts in September. There are now 530 students enrolled at KDS.
Working together, Ginger Palm and Jane Njuguna form a strong friendship that bridges all cross cultural differences. The first class of KDS 8th grade graduates are supported in high schools across Kenya and the vision for the Kinyago-Dandora Secondary School is birthed. Land in Dandora with an abandoned warehouse becomes available for purchase (4 kilometers from the primary school) and is renovated to become the secondary school. In 2004, the first class of freshmen is enrolled and the community celebrates with a dedication service.
The secondary school is nearly completed as one side of the secondary story remains unfinished. There are now 200 students enrolled in grades 9-12. The student population at the primary and secondary schools has now grown to more than 850 and the staff has increased to 65. In 2010, a special service is held for our first class of graduating seniors. The Bernard Sewe Scholarship Fund is established to support KDS graduates in Kenyan universities and colleges.
The unfinished upper side of the secondary school is completed and the space is used for a small vocational education project for former KDS graduates and the community. In 2014, Jane Njuguna loses her battle to cancer. A beautiful memorial service is held at KDS to honor Jane’s selfless service of more than two decades. Mr. John Ngugi, High School Principal and team member since 2006, is chosen to serve as the acting Managing Director.
More than 180 KDS graduates have gone on to college and universities across Kenya. KDS is one of the top schools in its district producing the coveted Best Boy and Girl awards for the past 5 years.
We have experienced many challenges over the past 30 years but the joy in our mission to serve God and to empower His precious little ones has been our strength. It has been a wonderful journey thus far and we are excited about the future, especially as our former graduates are returning to KDS to fulfill their purpose of giving back to the community. With God’s help we are breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and producing competent young men and women ready to impact society and to serve as ministers of the Gospel.
– Ginger Palm, KCF President/CEO