October, 2014

Kiwimbi Global

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This original student artwork depicts a typical day in the life of a child from Amagoro. This boy is reading a book he borrowed from the Kiwimbi library as he watches his cows. 

Kiwimbi began its art program in the Spring of 2014.  We have a number of enthusiastic students since art is not taught in the schools. The program has been run by Kiwimbi friend, Hosea Otulia, the brother and mentor of well known Kenyan artist Peter Elungata.


Imagine the excitement of these students when Venetian Artist Radu Leon, his wife Lucia and son Luca visited Amagoro and got the Kiwimbi community creating artwork in variety of new drawing and painting workshops. 



Approximately 600 students associated with Kiwimbi participated in the workshops.  The art materials were donated.  Mr. Leon brought back many of the children's artwork to Venice where he had a showing entitled "Dark White". The title comes from an art lesson when Radu asked the students what color the cloud was, and one of the children replied "dark white"! 



Kiwimbi Global is comprised currently of two entities:  Kiwimbi International, a US organization registered as a charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; and Kiwimbi Kenya, a Community Based Organization established in the Teso North District in Kenya.  Ultimately, our goal is to replicate best practices from Kiwimbi Kenya elsewhere, creating more organizations under the Kiwimbi Global umbrella.


We see a world where all people are empowered through education to enrich their lives and reach their fullest potential. 


To achieve our vision, our mission is to create regional community centers internationally.  


These centers will:


provide education, training and other learning opportunities; 


facilitate cooperation and coordination among other resource organizations; and 


provide access to innovation and technology.  


The combination of these efforts is intended to maximize self-sufficiency and self-actualization for individuals and communities to prosper.

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The US Visits Kenya

A group that included Lynne and John Rathgeber, Maggie Rathgeber, Carol Ulmer, Nick Patrick and Radu, Lucia and Luca Leon traveled to Amagoro, Kenya, in early August.  The group was met with enthusiastic students and members of the Kiwimbi community.  Tremendous progress has been made at the library since the last visit from the US, including not only the painting and move-in itself, but also:

  • The book lending program
  • Regular visits from tribal elders who tell traditional stories and sing songs in the native Teso language
  • Transformation of the courtyard with stone underfoot and a tent overhead so that it can be used for class
  • Creation of an art room and space for vocational training
  • Safe-keeping and training in the use of the 25 E-Readers which hold the complete Kenyan national curriculum as well as other volumes of interest to students and
  • Much more!

The most exciting part of the visit was the opportunity to see the fledgling vocational training program now in place.  It includes not only art training for interested students (art is not taught in local schools), but also traditional weaving and beadwork.  We are moving forward with additional programs in sewing (Kiwimbi was thrilled to receive our first sewing machine while we were there - an old-fashioned treadle machine, very practical in an area with unreliable electric service), pottery and eventually carpentry. 


A group of young women were at the Library daily, with babes in hand, to learn traditional weaving techniques.  The women made placemats and other items in bright, vibrant colors and patterns.  Along with being beautiful, these items will serve as a source of income for these women. 



The group also met with musicians, the South Teso Jazz Band, hoping to partner with them to cultivate local culture and vocational training. We will be bringing some of their music to our friends in the near future; in the meantime, we are working on bringing one of the musicians to the Library with the goal of starting our pottery training - these men are potters by profession and musicians by aspiration! 



A very special highlight of the trip was a meeting with His Excellency, Sospeter Ojamong, the Governor of Busia County.  They shared ideas and strategic plans for the area. 



University Students In Amagoro!

As we have reported before, Kiwimbi is thrilled to have been integral in bringing KCA University to Amagoro where classes in accounting and teaching, among other things, are now available for the first time to the local population.



This summer, though, we went a step further - two US students from Columbia University dedicated six weeks of their lives to our efforts in Amagoro.  Kiwimbi benefitted immeasurably by the contributions of Clement Gelly and Julian Nebreda, who taught English and public speaking to our interns, assisted in the local schools, worked with the English Access class Kiwimbi runs with The Elewana Project,  wrote three plays with the library staff, and helped to establish a daily co-ed soccer game with community members and school children. Clement and Julian helped to teach public speaking tutorials by leading discussions and debates with the staff.







New Trustee And Advisor
Kiwimbi International is thrilled to welcome our newest Trustee, Derek Mithaug as well as a new member of our Advisory Group, Mary Dickey.  


Derek has served as Executive Director of the Judith G. Wharton Music Center and of the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey.  An accomplished musician, he's an alumnus of the Julliard School, and also served in administrative positions there.


 Mary is an innovative communications professional with extensive managerial experience and expertise in a variety of media platforms.   She has a record of success in promoting the growth of both for-profit and non-profit organizations.


Kiwimbi Trustees and friends have begun a series of outreach efforts to help spread the word about our progress in Kenya. 

If you receive an invitation, we do hope you will join us. If you would like to join us for one of our events but haven't been invited yet, please feel free to reach out to your closest trustee or email info@KiwimbiGlobal.org.  We'd love to hear from you ~ the more insight we receive from people who care about our mission, the more effective we can be!

Kiwimbi International is a public charity under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  We welcome contributions, which are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.    

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For more information about Kiwimbi or details about other ways to help, please contact us at info@KiwimbiGlobal.org