Friday, November 9, 2012

Save the Date - KGSA Foundation's U.S. Tour

The KGSA Foundation is working to bring the director of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA), Abdul Kassim, to the U.S. this December to kickoff our $200,000 fundraising efforts around our new 2012 Dormitory Campaign: Thriving Girls. Thriving Community. 

KGSA students and families have advocated for a voluntary dormitory that would provide safe and secure housing, afterschool tutoring and academic support, on-site counseling and referrals, and community programming as a way to strengthen the academic experience of our students.  Help us make this a reality and join us at a fundraiser nearest you!

1.) New York City

Address: 120 East Broadway, Manhattan
Date: Tuesday, December 11th
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm, presentation at 7:45pm
RSVP to Space is limited.

**Cocktails & appetizers provided. No Cover.

2.) Saint Paul / Minneapolis

Address: 420 Summit Avenue 55102, Saint Paul
Date: Thursday, December 20th
Time: 5:30pm - 8:30pm, presentation at 6:15pm

**Live music, appetizers provided, cash bar.  No Cover.

If you cannot attend but would like to make a tax-deductible donation, click HERE.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

United Nations International Day of the Girl

The International Day of the Girl is about celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities around the world, that is why the KGSA Foundation has decided to use this day to launch our 2012 Dormitory Campaign: Thriving Girls. Thriving Community.

The KGSA students and families have advocated for a voluntary dormitory providing safe and secure housing, afterschool tutoring and academic support, on-site counseling and referrals, and community programming as a way to strengthen the academic experience of our students, ultimately strengthening the larger community.  This past summer, the KGSA Foundation purchased land directly next to the school specifically for this initiative, and have been working with students, staff, and administration, along with a Kenyan architectural firm to design this very building.

In regards to community development, together the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy and the KGSA Foundation have always been about quality over quantity.  We know that through education, extra-curricular opportunities, and a supportive community, these students can become the next generation of leaders and will transform their communities and country.  We have no interest in competing in the numbers game within International Development in terms of 'how many girls we are educating' but instead, we tend to focus on how well we educate and what that translates into for the students upon graduation.  Six years after starting with a few soccer balls and interested students, nine graduates from KGSA have been admitted into universities and their final year exam scores continue to rise.  The 2012 Dormitory Campaign is a continuation of our belief in women as change-makers - when girls in Kibera thrive, the entire community thrives.

You may be asking yourself, "Why is this building necessary, there is already an existing structure?"

For most of our students, the time they spend at school is the only time they have to process and learn the material for the class.  Many of their households do not have electricity, they lack adequate space to read and study, and they have additional responsibilities within the household to attend to upon their return home. This will continue to address the issue of quality over quantity.  In order for the KGSA students to continue to excel and increase their performance, they need to be able to have the adequate space to study and learn.  This means that they space for tutoring, mentoring, quiet studies, and most importantly, distraction free housing options.  This is all voluntary, they can spend a night before an exam, or stay for a full year, it is up to them and their family.  We are only responding to what they have been advocating for over the past years.

The 2012 Dormitory Campaign will increase performance, participation and, engagement through:

1.)   Safe Housing:  Currently, one-sixth of KGSA students (~20) live in unsafe housing, including situations of abuse.  First and foremost, this dormitory will provide a safe, stable living environment for these students furthering their academic progress and development. Next, we will open the dormitory up to students in their last two years of high school.  This will provide distraction-free housing with additional academic support to study and prepare for their Kenya Certificates of Secondary Examinations (KCSE).  KCSE’s are final term exams that have a large influence on what one can do after graduation.

2.)   Academic Opportunities: We are incorporating an academic study room and library into the dormitory to serve as a quiet place to research, study, and receive tutoring assistance after school hours.  Space will contain 10 computer stations, high-speed Internet & a comprehensive library.

3.)   Counseling & Resource Referral:  KGSA Foundation is working together with the School of Social-Work at both Denver University and the University of Nairobi to find ways to create an on-site counselor to facilitate individual and group sessions for our students and families.

4.)   Community Programming /Micro Credit:  More space means more community programming.  A large community center will hold our micro credit meetings, vocational training, and social entrepreneurship skill building classes.

5.)   Craft Room: We will be expanding an already successful program of helping mothers of the students gain bead-working skills so that they can sell their products through fair trade organizations. More money in families means more meals for KGSA students, which supports their academic performance.

6.)   Eco-Friendly: The building will use solar panel technology to power the building and will incorporate a rain harvesting and water purification system to insure clean water for the school and surrounding community.

  Help spread the word about the 2012 Dormitory Campaign: Thriving Girls. Thriving Community.  Share this on Facebook & Twitter, send to family and friends, and DONATE TODAY.  To ensure that your donation will go directly to this Campaign, please write the word Dormitory in the notes section and your donation will be moved to a separate savings account.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Soccer is more than just a game...

Soccer's role in KGSA
KGSA operates an Under 10, Under 12, Under 14 & a Senior's team for girls within Kibera building communication and teamwork skills. In addition, soccer breaks down the gender barriers and roles between men and women here in Kibera. Soccer builds self-confidence, establishes supportive community, and empowers our players.  Unfortunately, gender-based violence is a reality in Kibera.  We use soccer as as a space to gain confidence in the physicality of their bodies.  Soccer is more than just a game, it strengthens minds, bodies, and spirits to combat poverty.

Meet Rose Atieno   (below is an article written by the KGSA Journalism Club)

She is also among the famous footballers of Kibera Girls Soccer Academy. She is a 21 year old girl living in a family of nine. Rose Achieng plays as a defender in position three. According to her, she claims that football is the best talent she ever has had and always is ready to compete with other talented footballers as the best player. A part from all that, she also enjoys playing just as part of fun to manage her leisure time.
After graduating she would like to be a business lady, because through business she believes that she can be independent and also possess the high chances and ability to satisfy her siblings and provide for the family. Some interesting things about her are that she likes making jokes, watching football matches, and dancing.

For more information on how you can support the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, please visit: 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TED Talk Opportunity

Over the years, most of you have heard me talk about the Founder of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, Abdul Kassim.  He is one of the most incredible people I have ever met and is one of the largest reasons that the KGSA Foundation even exists today.  He inspires, challenges, and empowers everyone around him and has gone on to create the only free, all-girls high school in the Kibera slum, and provides educational, artistic, and athletic opportunities to some 130 girls every year.  It is an amazing, wonderful place filled with talented, driven and world-changing young women and the men and women who teach them.

In a well deserved stroke of luck (and a lot of hard work) Abdul got to present at the TED@Nairobi Talent Search. His talk was so excellent, he's eligible to be a TED Fellow, which would be an incredible opportunity for Abdul, but more importantly for the girls he's devoted his life to helping.

In order to make this happen, we need his video to be the most watched/commented upon video by August 31.  I know that these types of "asks" can seem like a burden but this is incredibly important.  PLEASE, take a few minutes to watch this inspiring video and share it with your family, friends, and colleagues.  We need votes and comments and if Abdul wins, he'll be on the 2013 TEDTalk series.  This could be the moment that drastically blows the door down (in a really good way) for these young women.

here is the link:;TEDNairobi

Thank you!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Input & Output

It has only been a month so far that Ive been back in Kibera at the school, and already I have witnessed so much growth as an organization on the ground and in the students of KGSA. Recently Ive been thinking a lot about the idea of input and output and how sometimes you never really know when youll see the results of your labor and intention. Every financial decision, every decision to expand, every decision to bring staff on board that Abdul has made since 2006 was intentionally to strengthen the schools ability to provide quality education. He had the idea to pay our teachers to return to school for diploma courses, to recruit a university graduate to serve as principal, to craft strong extra-curricular activities for the students to expand their studies, he pushed for a dormitory to provide safe housing. We are now at a point where after all of that input into KGSA, we are seeing the beginning of that output, and it will only grow into something more effective as time goes on.

Many of you probably read that one of our recent graduates from KGSA, Linnet, was accepted into Baraton University, Nairobi. This will be the first time that this has happened for a KGSA student. It’s been great to talk with her about her thoughts, expectations, and fears on entering university because I had all of the same thoughts when I left for college too. Every one of her peers is extremely proud of her; she has single-handedly raised the bar for each and every one of them and they love her for that.

Our most recent graduates also have a lot to brag about. The number of students that received a C- or higher rose from two in 2010 up to nine for the 2011 class. Because of this score, they are eligible to pursue a two-year degree in August. Four students have already looked into their programs and will be getting diplomas in mass communications, finance, and business management. This is obviously increasing the amount of money we thought we would be spending in 2012 but this is a good problem to have. After talking with Abdul, Christine (the principal) and Teka (Programs Manager), we decided that they best way to raise the overall performance of the school is to offer financial scholarships to any student with a C- or higher. We will need to find a way to pay for this additon but it is important that we create a system that can allow for the “full cycle” as Abdul puts it (from secondary to college). If case you are wondering how much money we’re talking about, a two-year diploma costs $635.00… that’s right, only $635.00 for two years and each individual student will have a greater chance at employment, leading to an independent, sustainable, healthy life.

Interested in supporting our efforts? Click HERE

There is more to come… so much more. For now though, please spread the word about our work, pass on our website or this blog, and donate if you can, or else encourage others to do so. As always, thank you for your support.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time to do so is now.”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Linet is University Bound!

Linet Nyanchama grew up in the south-western part of Kenya in Kisii. In 1997, Linet and her family moved to Kibera when she was just six years old because her parents felt that the educational opportunities were stronger in the cities than in the rural area where they were staying.  Linet attended Mashamoni Squatters Primary School while in Kibera.  During that time, her father died leaving her mother alone to provide for the family.  When thinking of life after primary school, Linet never thought that attending a secondary school was an option. When asked about it she said, "I never thought I was going to go to secondary school because my parents I knew did not have the money. When my mom told me about Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) I was so very excited. I was the only one of my friends at that time that couldn't go to secondary school. They all had sponsorships or parents with money." 

Linet (first in red from left) in 2006 with rest of class.
Linet was one of the first students to attend KGSA in 2006 and felt right at home.  "It was more than a school to me, the teachers and staff there helped us with matters outside of school.  Abdul helped us when we didn't have food, they advised us students in many areas," says Linet.   Abdul and the staff went on to support Linet and her family during another difficult period in her life when her mother died in 2008. "When this happened, me and my brothers didn't have a way to make money.  Abdul took in my older brother as a teacher as a way to give him a job.  We were able to buy food and pay our house rent after that."

Linet holding her acceptance letter.
Linet ended up taking her final secondary exams in 2009 and was not happy with her score.  She decided that she wanted to take them again.  In order to do so though, she would need to sit for her entire Form 4 year again.  This is exactly what she did and it paid off as she received a higher mark that would allow her to apply for a University.  

Still though, Linet did not have the money to attend University and started working in Kibera at Linda Primary School where she worked with preschool students.  At the time, Abdul and the Foundation didn't have the resources to support Linet's education but Abdul kept in contact and continued to keep her spirits up, he was determined to figure something out.  As the Foundation continued to grow and as additional resources and support came into the school, he encouraged Linet to apply.  Linet applied to the University of East Africa, Baraton and she was just recently notified of her acceptance!  In regards to Abdul, Linet said, "Abdul has such a big heart, he can help whomever. He has moved our whole family up from where we were.  He follows up with you, he knows always where I am, not many people do that.  I never thought that this was going to happen, I am excited that i will be seen as an important person in the community. If you want to succeed, you must have an education."

Linet will begin classes in August and will pursue a degree in education.  She would like to teach Swahili, Math or Science in a primary school and wants to work in Kibera.  The Kibera community has done so much for her she says, that she feels it is important to give back to her community.  Everyone at the KGSA Foundation are incredibly proud of you Linet, congratulations!  We are confident that you will go on to do amazing things with your degree.

You can donate to Linet's education and the KGSA Foundation at this LINK

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hats off to you all!

You did it!  You all raised $3,260 for the KGSA Foundation and our StartSomeGood campaign that will bring Ellie Roscher to Kenya this summer to document the KGSA story.  Everyone at the Foundation cannot thank you enough for your generosity and support.  Without your efforts, this couldn't have been possible.  Thank you again.  We will be sure to keep you all posted on the developments throughout the summer and will follow up with each and everyone of you in regards to your specific gifts for donating.  Asante Sana!

Below is a list of the 38 donors (in no particular order) that made this possible: 

Jaclyn Carey, Jessica Hartnett, Dorothy Renstrom, Robert Fohr, Claire Bischoff, Shelly Talcott, Hannah Bernhardt, Jennifer Beilfuss, Debbie Wilson, Alison Brazel, Marc Ostlie-Olson, Maureen McGee, Adam Copeland, Janice Ramboldt, Brea Ellsworth, Daniel Ruth, Jacob Meyer, Michael Sarafolean, Gary Dickson, Tom Dawkins, Katie Rolnick, Jolene Goerend, Danielle Uliano, Mark McNairy, Erin Plachko, Anne Satterstrom, Joseph Riehm, Paul Ruth, Michael & Margie Roscher, Angie Keske, Robert Oxnard Bent, Emily Feig, Kyle Rolnick, Andrew Barron, Alex Grace, Bernadette Dodge, Mary Sarafolean, Alex Budak.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Today is a great day - International Women's Day

In honor of  International Women's Day, we at KGSA Foundation are launching our first ever on-line fundraising campaign through StartSomeGood (SSG) to ensure that we can bring Ellie Roscher, a published author, to Kenya this summer to document the KGSA story.   Check out our campaign HERE and please post the link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.   We are launching a 40 day campaign to raise $4,000 and we need your help.  You are only charged if we make our fundraising goal.   With Ellie's commitment to tell the inspirational story of Abdul Kassim and the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy it will dramatically increase the exposure around KGSA leading to more prospective volunteers, donors, & partnerships. That's why we need to make this happen!  Finally, the voices of the Kibera community will be heard, please support this initiative.  Do what you can to spread the word, thank you.  StartSomeGood Campaign

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Field Trip to the Nairobi National Museum

Just last week, 68 students from the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy went on a field trip to the Nairobi National Museum. 
Here's what Richard Teka, the Programs Director had to say about the day.  "It was a good session, apart from the two classes (form one and form two) being able to interact, they were able to learn more about their own history, geography, and science subjects.  Later on they played soccer in a nearby park as they waited for the bus to come. The students really had a great time and we were able to organize for them a snack of chips and soda.  Thank you for letting our younger classes have this experience this early."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

If I were a Tree (Ningelikuwa Mti) - by Jeremy Levinger

If I were a tree, I would grow in the depths of Kibera; down there, like Lindi, or in the holes, like Mashimoni. I would grow where people respect my roots, because they know the beauty of what's hidden. My branches would gota (fist pound) every passerby and my bark would be stapled with flyers of Ohangla (traditional Luo music) and Reggae concerts. Mothers would carry unga (maize flour) under me and my leaves would protect them from the rain. I'd bear fruits for the local crazies, who need food for thought to reveal how clever they really are. I'd build seats where my ways split, so students could climb me to study and reach even greater heights. I'd have loose limbs that children could hang on to cross sewage water and my leaves would blow away smoke from burning trash. I would be a monument, so people could say "I live near the big tree". People would know where I come from and  would understand my roots, because underground is just a concept. If you look close enough, you would see my roots, drinking tears of abandoned mothers and drunkards, inspiring me to stand tall. You'd see green, deep in the heart of the chocolate city, and you'd hear the same birds that wake you up every morning. You'd see pain, gripping to the same beaten soil as usual, but I'm still smiling, still focusing on what I'm carrying; the nature of the community. If I were a tree, only the poor would hug me.

- dedicated to Kibera, Africa's largest slum

Jeremy Levinger is a poet, educator, activist and a student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  He recently volunteered at the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy for a semester through the MSID program and made an immediate impact at the Academy.  Thank you Jeremy for your hard work and who you are in the world.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2nd Annual 5K Walk/Race-athon - Denver, CO

To register for the race, click HERE

For the second year in a row, Denver University and graduate students in the School of Social Work have organized a 5K race to raise awareness and funding for the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy.  Just last December a group of students and faculty visited with the students and staff in Kibera, exchanged stories and perspectives, and continued to foster a relationship between two educational institutions.

This May, the KGSA Foundation and Denver University will host another successful 5K race at Sloan's Park on Sunday, May 13th - Mother's Day!   For all of those important women in our lives, including our mothers, invite them all to join us and help a community of young women in Kenya continue to have access to an education.

                                                 CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Monday, January 9, 2012

The first of many grant applications

After weeks of skype conversations, gchats, and lots of writing, KGSA Foundation has submitted an application for the Echoing Green Fellowship which would award Jamie Clearfield and Ryan Sarafolean $90,000 to work full-time for the KGSA Foundation.  As Echoing Green puts it, they invest in and support outstanding emerging social entrepreneurs to launch new organizations that deliver bold, high-impact solutions.  These social entrepreneurs and their organizations work to solve deeply-rooted social, environmental, economic, and political inequities to ensure equal access and to help all individuals reach their potential.

We're extremely proud of the way the grant turned out and deeply appreciate all of the assistance that our supporters provided in terms of editing and other suggestions.  Through this grant experience alone, we were forced to dig deeper into our work and identify more clearly why do we do what we do, why this work is necessary, what are the impacts, and how do we plan to strengthen our efforts.  It was a great challenge, and we will keep you posted throughout the process.  We should hear back from Echoing Green in late January or early February.  Thanks again to everyone that assisted in the process!

  Echoing Green Website: