Whilst on a visit to Kenya in September, Kevin and Rob, Trustees of Soma Leo, had the great fortune to have a meeting with Mama Sarah Obama, President Barack Obama’s grandmother.
President Obama spent a number of months living with the woman he calls “Granny Sarah” when he was in his early twenties. His father was born and grew up in Kogelo, a small village in western Kenya.
Mama Sarah established her Foundation (MSOF) following many years of leading her community in efforts to improve education and welfare for the most disadvantaged children.
The Foundation has a broad range of objectives and activities to make a significant impact on the village of Kogelo and education in other communities. These include directly supporting schools in Kogelo (Senator Barack Obama Primary and Secondary Schools), placing orphans with families in the community, running a scholarship fund for higher education, economic empowerment programmes, all alongside health and wellbeing initiatives.
Kevin said afterwards, “It was a great pleasure to meet a woman held in such high esteem across Kenya and internationally. Despite being 94 she has great energy and ambition for what her Foundation can achieve. We talked about the challenges our Foundations face and the significance of the priorities we are pursuing. It was clear that some very serious benefits can be realised by our Foundations working closely together”.
Subsequent to the meeting Samwel Manda has met with MSOF representatives to work on some joint initiatives and a plan is in place for Mama Sarah to visit The Soma Leo Academy in Nyiera in the near future. In the coming weeks MSOF will also benefit from sharing in the shipment of clothes, toys and learning materials Soma Leo will be sending to Kenya.
Debra Akello, Director of MSOF, said “I’m so excited about our partnership to help the needy children. I am also extremely grateful that Soma Leo will help us source much needed resources.”
MSOF is negotiating with NGOs, Kenyan authorities and businesses to improve services in the Kogelo schools and it is anticipated that Soma Leo will also be a beneficiary of these discussions.
Kevin commented “Soma Leo is a small charity having a direct but limited impact on a small community. MSOF is a local charity but with a globally recognised figurehead. We have different resources available from which each can benefit. I look forward to a fruitful partnership through which we will deliver an even greater and wider impact on the very underprivileged children in western Kenyan communities.”