MISSION
VISION

Our Founder

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.

Building Program

Our aim is to have our own purpose built community school, incorporating a Primary as well as a Secondary facility. We also want to build a medical center to provide healthcare for our families and the local community.

Community Outreach

Our sports field will be used not only for the school, but for the local community to host football and basketball competitions. There is little for the youth to do outside school hours and we plan to provide youth programs for the community through sport, where we can also encourage and influence good life choices for those facing hardship and limited options in life.

Sustainability

For the school itself we will harness solar power, provide our own water and develop an agriculture program as part of the Secondary school. We plan to be as self-sufficient as possible in order to reduce ongoing costs.

Funding

At present our levels of funding have been sufficient to maintain the Primary schools daily operations. With the new individual Student Sponsorship for the Primary school and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, we are aiming over the next two years to attract enough funding to cover running costs, so that all income from Fundraising activities can be directed toward the building program.

Community Regeneration

Our long term goal is to not only see our children succeed in education and move into influential roles in the community, but also to create permanent jobs through our school development. With the majority of workers in Kenya involved in the informal working sector, we will provide a step into the formal sector and the security that brings. We want our children to be running the school once they are qualified, taking up all the roles created in a successful school environment. We recruit locally and by providing education and jobs for the local community we are offering opportunities for our families to raise their living standards and escape the chains of poverty.

Even before my first visit to Kenya I had tried to educate myself on some of the problems facing the continent of Africa. I read a variety of authors, those both for and against, the traditional use of AID and development assistance, that has been poured into the worlds’ poorest continent since colonial evacuation.

I had always felt uncomfortable at the amount of money the large charities and AID organisations seemed to require, simply to exist.  Charity seems to have become a business with something of a conflict of interest. The largest organisations, like the UN, and developed governments, have constantly shown an inability or a lack of desire, to act efficiently and effectively, in attacking the many problems that grow from poverty.

This is not to say there are not thousands of people all over the world with the best of intentions to serve the poor and try to change impossible situations. But clearly, something isn’t working.

I have always been saddened and astounded at the ease with which the people of so many countries on this continent seem to be able to so easily turn upon one another, carrying out all kinds of atrocities, whilst blindly following the latest corrupt tyrant who only wants the opportunity to steal whatever wealth is available to the country.

At a school level we face many of the challenges that other schools face. The education level of teaching staff is very low. Primary school teachers only require a certificate that can be obtained in around six months of study. The curriculum is outdated and contains little in the way of developing critical, creative and logical thinking. The departments that are here to assist, don’t. People who are lucky enough to have work, don’t. If you suggest something isn’t working you are treated as an interfering outsider. Role models are few and failure is almost expected. There are a legion of barriers to achievement.

I believe things can change but I also believe that real change takes sacrifice and no real change happens quickly. What we are trying to do is change a few children in our community so that when they are adults and parents and, hopefully, have some influence in the positions they acquire in the workplace, they will do things differently. Small steps in a small part of Kenya, trying to effect cultural change over the course of many generations.

Occasionally I get the time to write about my experiences here in Kenya. Here you can find stories about bank queues, hospital care, mob justice and just about anything else I come across in my daily life here in Kenya.

Our Boards

Kenya

Edward Kaingu

Edward has worked with us since 2008 and has been in the community for 15 years. A qualified youth social worker, he spends much of his free time outside school working with our children and those in the local community. Edward also runs our sports program.

Judith Imbunyi

Judith has been with us since 2008 when she was working at the school our founder first volunteered at. She has lived in the community for over 20 years and is a qualified early childhood teacher. Judith also manages the Lunchtime feeding and Uniform programs.

Ritah Mathenge

Ritah joined us in 2011 as assistant director and works to bring innovation and integrity into our programs. From a background in IT she followed her heart into giving back to the less fortunate, eventually finding her way to us.

Grace Shangala

Grace is a qualified primary teacher who joined our school in 2011 and has served as both a teacher and now as assistant director. In addition to teaching, and running an organised office, her duties also include leading the Creative Arts program.

United Kingdom

Gena Parrott

Gena quit her job to volunteer at Kookaburra school in 2011-12 for eight months, loving every minute of her time and observing first hand the fantastic work carried out by all involved with the school. She now lives in London, works as a lawyer for a film and entertainment company and devotes much of her spare time to running the UK charity, raising funds to help improve the lives of the children that she came to know and love.

Chloe Sheppick

Chloe currently works in education as a lecturer in law at a London University and, prior to this, she worked for a number of years as a commercial real estate lawyer in both London and New Zealand. After hearing about Gena’s amazing experiences at Kookaburra, Chloe wanted to get involved with ACTION THIS DAY KENYA to help deliver education to children who would not otherwise have the opportunity to go to school.

Australia

Alison Wood

Alison met Brian in Kenya in 2008 and kept in touch when he founded ACTION THIS DAY. Passionate about Africa, she works to raise the profile of the charity. In 2010 Alison and her husband spent their honeymoon in working at Kookaburra and cannot wait to return.

Jodie Thompson

Jodie has 25 years event management and operations experience. On the Australian Board but currently working in the United Kingdom, she is a passionate traveler and cannot wait to visit Mombasa and share in the lives of the kids of Kookaburra.

Peter Wood

In 2010 Peter and Alison spent 3 months volunteering at Kookaburra as part of their honeymoon. An accountant and business analyst from Tasmania, Peter has held Treasurer roles on boards of community based groups and serves in that capacity.

Christina Noro

Serving on the board since the charity began in 2009, Christina is a mother to Connor, wife to Frank and the brother of our founder. Her love of children, books and education fuel her support for the service we carry out in Kenya with extremely disadvantaged families.

Dan Warby

Dan combined his interest in humanitarian causes and music by teaching and recording songs with the students at Kookaburra in 2013. A committed supporter of the school he works to improve the situation faced by our students and their communities.

Meet Our Staff

At the Kookaburra Community School we recruit from within the local community. We have cooks, cleaners, security and teachers and here you can read in their own words, what life at Kookaburra means to them.