Our organization started as a result of a vacation gone awry. In 1998, Maureen took her husband, Ian, to Kenya for his birthday. There was a fire in the hotel on their first day there and they ended up sharing a room with two other ladies for the afternoon, just until the smoke cleared. They asked Maureen and Ian to excuse the mess in their room as they had brought out lots of things for the children of Africa. They told about a little school they were visiting in the next few days and invited them to come along. Maureen and Ian visited the school with these ladies and, while there, and asked if any child needed help. They were presented with a list and chose a little boy, Samson Chivatsi, and took on the opportunity of sponsoring him. When Maureen returned to the U.K. she could not leave behind what they had experienced and realized that this experience was an answer to her prayers. Since that vacation, the children of Kenya have been Maureen’s whole life.
The Samson Chivatsi African Children s Appeal was established and registered in the United Kingdom . The charity came to life as Maureen began working with a private Kenyan school, obtaining sponsors for children so they could attend. That affiliation was broken when it became apparent that the funds weren’t entirely being spent on the children, as had been promised. Maureen decided that in order to ensure things were being done right, she would have to do it herself…so she went out on a limb, leased an old disco club on the outskirts of a village, and began what has become the Jolaurabi Schools.
As of 2008, we have over 700 students attending classes in three separate schools (a Kindergarten school, a Primary school, and a Secondary school). 2008 has also been a banner year for the charity as we opened the long-anticipated orphanage for children who attend the school but have no family or other home.
Maureen is joined in this work by her husband, Ian, and her daughter and son-in-law, Yvonne and David, and several other key contributors, young and old.
It is only by and through the generosity of others that we are able to continue our programs. Hundreds of individuals all over the world, and many business and corporations have partnered with us in building and maintaining the schools.