After working in the slums of Nairobi and witnessing the poor quality of education, lack of fresh air and water, and the minimal preparation provided for a productive adulthood, two young women, Leila Chambers and Wambui Kimani, decided to take things into their own hands and attempt to remedy the issues they had witnessed. In 2007, these extraordinary young women launched an organization with the mission to support students from impoverished backgrounds and orphans in Njabini, Kenya by providing them with a comprehensive quality education and the tools they need to succeed in an ever-changing global world. The organizations name, Flying Kites, embodies everything it stands for: the embracing of childhood wonder, the fueling of imaginations, and the importance of holistic education and development. From its inception in 2007, Flying Kites has been a site of education, innovation and development in Kenya.
When they first started their project, Chambers and Kimanis goal was to ignite the potential of vulnerable children in the Njabini region, which, in their words, sits at the intersection of poverty and opportunity. And this is exactly what they have done. Flying Kites runs a competitive primary school which provides incredible educational opportunities to both orphans and critically-poor children in Njabini. For the orphans, Flying Kites not only provides them with an education but also with a safe and welcoming home on their 9-acre site in the Aberdares Mountains of Central Kenya at their Childrens Center. This site boasts acres of crop fields, a fruit orchard, and livestock. In this incredible open space, children are given the opportunity to partake in everyday childhood activities such as exploring the community, climbing trees and swimming in the river. Most of all, this site provides a place for orphaned children to begin to heal from the unimaginable trauma they have suffered.
Despite their dedication to orphaned children, Flying Kites also believes that removing a child from an existing family should be a last resort. For this reason, Flying Kites provides small grants to families in order to allow children to remain with their relatives. They also have allotted a half acre to 50 landless families in order to help them restart their lives and provide a sustainable home for their children.
The students who attend Flying Kites primary school, whether they be orphans or children from the community, receive the highest quality education at a low cost. In fact, three of their children rank as the top students in Kenya for their respective age groups. Flying Kite goes beyond providing a high-quality education however. They stress the importance and value of extra-curricular activities and community involvement. This allows the students to foster a desire for social change and action and provides them with the tools to help make their voices heard and their actions count. Due to the holistic approach taken by Flying Kites, students are not only encouraged and empowered to improve their own lives but are also shown the importance of improving their families and communities.
Beyond its incredible endeavor into providing vulnerable children with a high-quality, holistic education, Flying Kites has a particularly unique and spectacular program that helps students adjust to life after high school. This program, called the LaunchPad program, provides job training, college counseling, workshops and internships to nine secondary students who receive scholarships from Flying Kites. LaunchPad provides students with the confidence and tools to strategically navigate life after high school, the ability to develop healthy and safe relationships, and the means to participate in their country's economic development.
Nine years after its founding, Flying Kites has helped 180 orphaned and critically poor students obtain an incredible, comprehensive education. Although this is a remarkable feat, the determined people behind the organization want to expand their outreach and change the lives of even more children in rural Kenya. Over the next few years, they plan to more than triple the size of their campus in order to position the school to compete on a national stage and enable them to provide transformative opportunities in education to hundreds of students who would otherwise have nowhere to turn. With Givology and its generous donors help, we can assist in this mission by garnering more advocates who believe in the rights and dreams of the children that Flying Kites serves, in order to provide them with the funds to expand their outreach and further change the lives of children in Kenya so that they can succeed and contribute in our world.
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