When twenty-three year old Dorothy Dulo returned home from school to her village in western Kenya, she found her parents had taken in many orphaned children.
The AIDS epidemic had ravaged her village of Alendu, abruptly orphaning dozens of children. Unexpectedly left with only distant relatives to relatives to provide for their basic needs, these children had little hope of living a good life.
Dorothy’s father, a retired educator by trade, began teaching a kindergarten class for these children who had no where else to turn. Without access to a classroom, the students started their education under the shade of a nearby tree. This is where Rafiki Africa Foundation’s story begins.
Twenty-one years later, we are still around.
While the needs of the students have changed over the years, today our first kindergarten students have graduated from college. Our under-the-tree classroom has grown into LightHouse Academy, a school with two-hundred kindergarten through eighth grade students. More than 75% of them are girls who would otherwise likely not have access to a solid education. These students are fed nutritious meals using produce from our own farm, while also receiving basic medical care, helping them stay healthy enough to attend school.
For the women and girls of the community who aren’t part of LightHouse Academy, we empower them with job training and trade programs, so they can provide for their children and families independently.
The community of Alendu will soon have access to clean water for the first time, a rare commodity in this part of Kenya that will help alleviate innumerable health challenges.
We keep seeing hope grow: people actually believe their lives can be different and they are willing to work for it. And change really happens! We love it. We’re in it for the long haul with Alendu.
We are Rafiki Africa, and we want to see African communities thrive, holistically.