By Jessica Lyons
Through the support of The Kilgoris Project, the Kenyan village Kilgoris has been able to build schools, giving some of the village's students a chance to learn for the first time. One of the organization's founder's, Caren McCormack, told Study.com more about the work the project is doing to make a big difference in the lives of the villagers.
Study.com: When was The Kilgoris Project formed, and how did it come about?
Caren McCormack: The Kilgoris Project grew out of a chance meeting between Jon and Caren McCormack of Los Altos, California and Kilgoris villager Wilfred (Willie) Lemiso while the McCormacks were on safari in Kenya's Maasai Mara game reserve in 1999. Over the next several years the McCormacks learned more about Willie's village in rural Southwest Kenya, as well as their church, school and community needs. With the help of private donations large and small, the Kilgoris Project was formalized as a non-profit to meet the short and long-term health, educational and economic needs of this Kenyan community.
Study.com: Why did you find it important to get involved with these villagers?
CM: We have been amazed at the huge impact we can have on this community through relatively small monetary investments. For little money (in U.S. terms), we can deeply impact lives through holistic education, health and economic opportunities. For instance, a donation of $20 means a student in Kilgoris can receive a nutritious lunch every school day for an entire year. And for even less, we have put in place a deworming program, which can increase lifetime earnings by 20-25% per student!
Study.com: How does the organization fulfill its mission?
CM: We fulfill our mission through paced, sustainable growth and a strategic focus on three core areas - education, health and opportunity. We currently partner with the local community to operate six schools (serving more than 600 students), care for student medical needs and work with community leaders and a women's co-op to foster economic development.
Study.com: What sort of impact do you think education can have in the Massai village? How are lives of people of all ages improved because of the schools?
CM: We are dedicated to long-term and relationship-driven impact on this community. Our schools and educational initiatives have a residual impact on the entire village. We love seeing our students read to their parents, many of whom never even had the chance for an education.
Study.com: What is The Kilgoris Project's proudest accomplishment to date?
CM: Over the past couple of years we have partnered with Worldreader, an organization dedicated to ensuring that digital books are available in every corner of the world, thus enabling millions of people to improve their literacy and their lives. Though our collaboration with Worldreader, we have been able to bring 150 Kindle e-readers to Kilgoris - a community that does not even have electricity! It really is an amazing feat... the Kindles are charged via solar power and the students are enamored with their new learning tools. We've heard many stories of the children reading through recess.
Study.com: Does the project have any plans to open additional facilities or expand into other villages or areas?
CM: We are currently focused on serving the people in and around Kilgoris, Kenya. Today our schools provide education and daily nourishment (through a feeding program) to students in a widespread geographic region, with some living close to town and others in more far-reaching areas of Kilgoris.
Study.com: What are your future goals for The Kilgoris Project?
CM: Our organization is experiencing continuous growth as we aim meet the educational, health and economic goals of the Kilgoris community. Our goals include:
- Growing to serve 1,000 students by 2017 through expansion of our schools and adding both preschool and upper grade levels.
- Improving student health through the delivery of clean water solutions and expanded health education for all of our students.
- Identifying areas for continued economic development to allow members of the community to generate increased income.
Study.com: How can our readers help with your organization and its mission?
CM: Readers can donate to The Kilgoris Project at www.kilgoris.org.
We are a registered 501c(3) not-for-profit organization and are committed to minimizing administration expenses and overhead.
Study.com: Is there anything else you'd like to share about The Kilgoris Project?
CM: Please visit our website for more information and photos and videos of the people we serve.
Study.com has made a donation to The Kilgoris Project. You can visit the organization's website to get more information about their work and to learn about what you can do to also make a difference in the lives of the Kilgoris villagers.
Another non-profit organization, Not for Sale, is using education as a way to end human trafficking.