My name is Brian McIver and I want to thank you for caring enough about our work to visit and read this site.
Our journey began in 2008 when I spent three months volunteering at a school and orphanage project in Bamburi. I had been reading widely and traveling extensively, educating myself about the complexities of delivering AID and attacking poverty in developing nations, whilst visiting projects in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Kenya. Nothing however prepared me for the situation at the project an international volunteer organisation had sent me to.
The local manager was clearly taking advantage of the situation, keeping the project in a state of disrepair with no power, water or toilets for the children and staff. He was also using volunteers (mostly young with no teaching experience) almost exclusively, to teach the children. Any funds received went into his pocket. Worse though, were the obvious signs of physical abuse and the hidden ones of sexual abuse, which were rampant at the project.
Neither the local authorities nor the volunteer organisation were prepared to do anything about the situation, so after consulting with the parents and some of the local teachers, we decided to start our own school and rescue as many children as we could from the corruption and abuse they were suffering.
After starting the charity in 2009, I returned to Kenya to establish the Kookaburra Community School in 2010, managing to rescue around 70 children from their abusive schooling environment and one of the girls who was suffering sexual abuse at the orphanage.
Initially I thought I may be spending two to three years in Kenya in order to establish the school. However, my volunteer experience had prompted me to promise myself, on behalf of the children, that I would not leave until I considered we had achieved our “goals”. It quickly became clear in my time here that making real and meaningful change would take a lifetime, and then some. So I am still here and still learning every day how better to help our community, whilst at the same time, facing a never ending list of challenges, some old, many new, that continue to visit us on a daily basis.
Over the years we have responded to the need for our graduates to be supported through high school by establishing the Graduate Program. We have provided support for families and children in extremely vulnerable living situations, through Kookaburra House, and we continue to work in our community, providing assistance with medical care where needed and attempting to patiently alter a community culture that has for too long been devoid of hope and resistant to change.