In 2012, The Nourafchan Foundation signed a ‘Strategic Partnership Agreement’ with the Equity Group Foundation to explore means of cooperation with the intention of developing joint programs to focus on the following six social thematic areas: 1) education and leadership, 2) financial literacy and access, 3) agribusiness, 4) environment and sustainability, 5) health, and 6) innovation and entrepreneurship. The Equity Group Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Equity Bank, East Africa’s largest bank and microfinance lender.
The “Wings to Fly” Scholarship provides the brightest yet most socially marginalized and economically disadvantaged children in Kenya with access to education through academic scholarships, as well as leadership training and mentorship. Other sponsoring partners include USAID, UKaid, KfW, and The MasterCard Foundation. Collectively the parties have raised around $100m to fully fund and provide for approximately 10,000 children through four years of secondary education. By facilitating the kids’ transition from primary to secondary education, getting these children into the right schools, supporting their academic growth and development, mentoring them, empowering them through exposure to the right leadership qualities and values, they are enabled to move from the poverty that currently defines their lives and leap into a bright, more prosperous future for themselves, their families, communities and ultimately the country.
Located in Limuru, Kenya, the Angel Center for Abandoned Children is dedicated towards rescuing babies that are abandoned at hospitals, thrown by the roadside, dumped in trash bins or left at churches. At any one time, approximately 20 infants, some with HIV, are being cared for and raised. The center serves as a halfway house by taking in infants, and raising them to an age of 12 to 24 months, after which a caring and supporting family is identified to adopt and raise the child. If no family is identified, the children remain at the Angel Center for as long as needed.
TNF first visited the orphanage in October 2010 when it was located in a one-room shack. Appalled at the conditions, yet warmed and inspired by the mission, TNF decided to intervene in order to save the operations of the Center and allow it to thrive and expand its operations. The Nourafchan Foundation moved the Center into a larger, permanent 5-bedroom house, the costs of which were paid for by TNF. Additionally, TNF has provided funding for other operational and one-off costs, staff fees, clothes, healthcare, food and other general provisions.
TNF is constantly upgrading the housing and working with the Center to secure regular supplies of clothes, food, milk powder, nappies, immunizations and other requirements. It is the Nourafchan Foundation’s goal to create a more sustainable operation for the Center with home grown foods through farming, larger housing to accommodate more orphans where the Center owns the real estate and is not renting, and to increase the number of caretakers, which at present stand at only 3 who have the daunting task of taking care of over 20 newborns and infants. With the success of the Angel Center’s flagship operations, it is our goal to start additional branches and grow this model of orphan care.
The largest slum in Africa is Kibera. Located just a few miles from the central business district of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, Kibera houses anywhere from half a million to one million people, which is more than 25% of Nairobi’s population, crammed into an area the size of Central Park, making it one of the most densely populated places in the world.
People live in makeshift shacks with no utilities or access to clean water, let alone a quality education. The average size of a shack is 12ft x 12ft built with mud walls, a corrugated tin roof, and a dirt floor. These shacks often house up to 8 or more, with many sleeping on the floor.
Other facts plaguing Kibera include: life expectancy of 30 years; half of all Kiberians are under the age of 15; one out of five children in Kibera do not live to see their fifth birthday; extreme poverty with residents earning less than $1.00 per day; few schools, with most unable to afford an education for their children; high unemployment rates; scarcity of clean water, and related diseases caused by poor hygiene; HIV/AIDS rates are amongst the highest in Kenya; and little or no access to healthcare or infrastructure.
We believe that education is key to breaking and reversing the cycle of poverty. Moreover, TNF has focused its efforts within Africa’s largest slum on education by supporting and sponsoring the slum’s best performing school, the REC School. The REC School was established to provide the community with hope and promise, as an oasis of learning and refuge for children growing up in the midst of such devastating poverty and hardship. Of the 1,000 students who attend the REC School, all are impoverished and the large majority are orphans. The school provides free school meals, uniforms, books and healthcare.
Due to TNF’s effort and support, a total of $373,517 was raised between 2012-2013 to help build a landmark facility with classrooms and laboratories. Additionally, TNF has provided books to over 1,000 children for two years, as well as laboratory equipment. Given that the REC School has been one of the best performing schools in the county, despite being located within the slums of Kibera, TNF is keen to expand our efforts to grow this model of educational success.
The Nourafchan Foundation sponsors an orphanage in a remote village outside of Mombasa, Kenya. The orphanage, known as the Sheikh Mabarak Mohammad Al Nahayan Orphanage (SMO), has over 100 orphans and 2 full-time staff, who are all fully supported by TNF with food, lodging and other provisions like mattresses, toys, clothes, and books.
The orphans find their way to the orphanage via word of mouth or are usually taken by relatives of their deceased parents. Before they are taken in, the administrator at the orphanage asks the relatives to bring in the child’s birth certificate as well the death certificate of the deceased parents.
The orphanage facility includes outdoor kitchens and rooms with bunk beds for the kids. The facility was tremendously over capacity, at which point, TNF funded and built an entirely new wing to increase the number of orphans that may be supported. The new wing will support an additional 50 orphans, bringing the total to around 150 orphans.
As part of the new wing, TNF has also built workrooms, which will allow for the provision of vocational training to the orphans. Social programs and skills will be taught to the kids such as farming, carpentry, gardening, housework, cleaning, cooking, and sewing in order to enable them to venture into the real world and survive on their own.
On February 11th, 2005, The School of Foreign Service and Georgetown University suffered a tremendous loss in the passing of Shahin Allen Nourafchan at the age of 30 due to cancer. Shahin graduated with honors from the School of Foreign Service in 1997 and went on to lead a brief, but distinctive, career in international business.
During his time at Georgetown, Shahin had an immeasurable impact upon the student body, the faculty and upon the University itself. Shahin was an inimitable presence, possessing a sharp wit matched only by his awesome charisma. However, what set him truly apart from his peers, was a fearlessness that allowed him to create magic out of every experience, elevate every second of life, and somehow share it with everyone he cared about.
Shahin distinguished himself in countless ways and the loss of his life has left a void for many in the Georgetown community. We have created a way to fill that void through The Nourafchan Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarships for deserving students in the School of Foreign Service. Together, our efforts will ensure that Shahin’s legacy will continue to be felt at Georgetown for generations to come.
Once total gifts reach $100,000, a permanent scholarship bearing his name will be established as a lasting tribute to Shahin’s contributions to the Georgetown community.