KASIMU EDUCATION FUND

Rating: 5 stars   12 reviews

Issues: Education, Food

Location: 1667 Springer Rd Mountain View CA 94040 USA

Mission: Creating educational opportunities for the children of Malawi.
Geographic areas served: Manyesa, Malawi

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

This is a wonderful organization that translates all of its donations into aid for the project. It is run by an elderly couple who donate their time, talent and treasure without counting the personal cost.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Personal meetings with the founders (Mary and Bob Burns) to discuss their objectives and share with them my own observations from 14 years working with NGO's in Kenya in the 1970s' and 1980's

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Over the summer of 2010 I had the amazing opportunity to intern at KEF working closely with co-founders Robert and Mary Burns. The depth of their conscience and understanding when speaking about the lives of the villagers in Manyesa, Malawi is inspiring. KEF is not a charity, it's a group of board members and individuals who are trying to help a village succeed after years of famine and poverty. The overall mission of Kasimu Education Fund is that villagers have the opportunity for better education. Funding this education is minimal in comparison to the ultimate impact. This single goal of better education transcends through generations to improves the livelihood of villagers in the Manyesa area, an education gives locals the wherewithal and opportunity to put an end to the devastating cycle of poverty. Regarding poverty, Mohammad Unis once said, "it is only our arrogance that prompts us to find unnecessarily complicated answers to simple problems" KEF is a humble and simple the solution to what many look at as overwhelming. KEF operates on a model based on local empowerment, that they one day all operations in the village will be self-sustaining and locally run. My experience with KEF has been to say the least enlightening to the profound impact a small group of individuals can make.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

meeting with the co-founders and board members to talk about future goals and aspirations of current operations in Manyesa, Malawi.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Experiencing the impact a what can be done with just a few people in a few years. It brings light to the realities of life in developing nation and the hardships that can easily be overcome. Simple things like education make the word of difference.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Its a very small organization so it didn't take long to meet everyone involved. The Members of KEF are all very motivated and passionate about the success of their foundation. The board brings together many differing perspectives.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

The difference they make with a few thousand dollars is remarkable, I am certain with extra funding the highschool would be completed, corn mill installed and running, micro-finance program expanded and self sustaining.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

The founders of Kasimu Education Fund or KEF, originally planned only to send some children from Manyesa, Malawi to high school for further education. Three girls have now graduated from High School and one is attending Nurses College. From this beginning, KEF has evolved into building a grammar school with the help of the local villagers. However, hungry children have a hard time learning without breakfast. We purchased three Rocket Stoves and provided the rice, corn and sugar so that each child can have one meal. The women now cook more easily without having to gather so much wood or getting burned. A micro-finance program was started to help the villagers gain more independence. This has been very successful with a high rate of repayment of loans. Now we are collecting funds to build a high school that will serve this community and the surrounding villages. The goal of KEF is to have the villagers self-sufficient by 2015.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

A video of the village was made celebrating the arrival of the KEF founders.It showed the new school, the children in their new uniforms, cooking of food, and the joyous nature and thankfulness for the help the villagers have received.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

I am proud to be part of the wonderful charitable group since its inception, Kasimu Education Fund. Through the efforts of a few dedicated people we have been able to provide classrooms; food program; provide uniforms for orphans; supplement the salary of 9 teachers for 1100 elementary students and provide scholarships for those continuing on to high school. We are now in the process of seeking donations to build a high school.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Knowing that I am helping to educate children from one of the poorest countries in Africa, Malawi.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Knowing that what I do is helping others less fortunate. Who knows I may be helping educate another Einstein.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

All members are volunteers. We have no paid staff.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

It could education many who in turn could support themselves and others.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

My name is Mary Mangwiza Manyusa and as a Malawian I really cannot find the right words to express the wonderful work the Kasimu Education Fund (KEF) is doing for the people of Manyesa, Malawi especially the young boys and girls who are the future of the nation of Malawi. The little ones would have died of malnutrition if it were not for the meals KEF provides for them. A lot of girls and boys drop out of school because they are orphans and they cannot afford to pay school fees for their own children. So Kasimu Education Fund is helping a lot of People in Malawi. To the people of Malawi, the Kasimu Education organization is the best women's non-profit making organizations. I pray that KEF covers the whole country in the near future.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I am a Malawian and I have first hand experience of the progress of this program.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

See to it that it has the necessary money to keep going.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Seeing the progress for boys and girls in my country.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Professional and motivated with love and caring

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Bring opportunities for education to all the children of Malawi, create a way to irrigate fields, bring electricity and clean water to the Manyesa area. Change lives for the better and ensure that the children of Malawi make a better future for all.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to spend with this organization.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

The lack of funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

This is a great organization and needs funding.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

Kasimu Education Fund is a great story of people being able to make an impact in a community no matter the distance. The founders, Ms. Mary and Mr. Bob Burns work very hard to enable the Kasimu Grammar school alive. They care about the future of these children, they believe that through education these children can have an opportunity to survive and improve their life styles. If you ever seen these amazing hard working couple talk about the children and KEF, you will understand that there is good people in this world that no matter the distance will do their best to help others. They do not have to do this, but they continue to work hard and have faith to bring "HOPE" and love to these children.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I volunteered for the past two summers with KEF doing fund-raising and helping in administrative manners. I continue to help them whenever I am available, Ms. Mary is very good to keep in touch with different volunteers to help when it is needed!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

A few years ago, my friend started this non-profit to fund high school scholarships for the few young men in a Malawi village who had passed their exams. I donated money for some of these scholarships. Gradually, it became obvious that the elementary education was inadequate to properly prepare these youth. That's when the Kasimu Education Fund took off! They began to train teachers, and give them scholarships. A new school was built, with bricks made by the villagers. A food program started when it became obvious that there were severe shortages. A micro-lending program was developed to help with seed for crops and small businesses. and so it goes. Kasimu Education Fund has impacted these villagers in so many empowering ways.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen the documentary film made by the founder's adult son. The villagers welcomed her and her family with open arms. The happy families, the new school, the support buildings, the food...is all there in this inspiring documentary.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

The Kasimu Education Fund has been sucessful in providing high school scholarships, elementary school facilities, training teachers, providing a daily meal for 1,300 elementary school students, initiating a preschool and planning for the construction and operation of a high school with a solar/wind powered electrical and water systems. The essential part of the program is goal to empower the villagers to develop and manage these improvements. KEF's goal is to provide "startup support" for these improvements which are to be completed by 2015 when it is intended that the operations will be self supporting. The financial requirements of the villages will be met through a micro-finance program which is currently supporting 190 small businesses and 240 farmers (via seed and fertilizer).

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

We visited the eight villages in Malawi in 2008, to organize management committees and we maintain regular communications with the committees who manage the programs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Provide funding to construct the high school, construct the designed solar/wind powered electrical/water systems and provide an irrigation system to enable multiple harvests for farmers. These are essential elements needed for self sufficiency.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the enthusiasm and support for education for all children and the for adult education. Example, the villagers hand-made 400,000 bricks for the construction of facilities.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Retired teachers who started pre-school; young adults who volunteered as teachers' aides to assist teachers; villagers who serve on scholarship committee, facilities committee and the mothers who prepare the daily meals for 1,300 students.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

We don't need $10 million bucks. If we can obtain grants of $350 thousand over the next four years, the physical facilities development would be completed and the villages would establish self sufficiency without funding from the Kasimu Education Fund.

Ways to make it better...

Sufficient funds were available to support the "start-up" of programs and to fund the high school. Improved electronic communications is also needed.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Adequate funding to provide high school facilities, an irrigation system and to fund the start up of revenue producing businesses. Adequate electronic communications capability is needed to improve management and support

One thing I'd also say is that...

The people of Malawi are the most joyful, generous, self sacrificing people I have ever worked with. We in the Northern Hemisphere can learn a great deal from them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I met Bob and Mary Burns during a school support project in N. California and became increasingly familiar with the Kasimu Education Fund over the past several years. As a professor emeritus in education and former member of the Commerce Faculty at the University of Nairobi, I know the challenges they have faced in Malawi. I have watched this project grow in amazing ways with whatever support they could muster. The project is especially well-conceived and little by little it is impacting more and more children and their families. While it has been some time since their request, now that I have retired, I intend to follow up on my promise to go there and conduct teacher training, something I have done in several locations. It is a joy to write anything about Kasimu and support this project in any way I can. Their service is genuine and exemplary and continues to inspire me to carry on with the service I do in the highest and most loving manner. They have long ago retired and have made this their lasting contribution to simple, yet incisive human goodness.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

ways that keep me updated on all of the new initiatives and developments at the school. I have seen pictures and videos and have witnessed the wonderful progress.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Bob and Mary Burns, through their organization, Kasimu Education Fund (KEF), have done so much to bring hope and opportunity to a village in Malawi, Africa. Children who once came to learn with naked bodies, empty stomachs on a bare patch of land now have food, clothing, schools and teachers. Through KEF micro-loans have made possible the creation of small businesses making school uniforms, bricks, producing food and poultry and more. What began as a small act of kindness (the Burns' copying and selling a priest’s tape of his Malawian villagers music to sell in the Burns' church) has grown over the past few years into the non-profit KEF, responsible for building a community center, school buildings, hiring and training teachers and inspiring the creation of much needed small local businesses. As a donor I want to know that my dollars are used to serve, not to fund administrative staff in fancy offices. Bob and Mary Burns run KEF with great efficiency, taking nothing for their efforts; all monies raised go directly to the village for school construction, teacher salaries and housing, and microloans. It gives me great joy to be associated with such a fine organization doing such essential work in the world.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen photographs and films of the village and its residents as it has blossomed with the resources and opportunities KEF's support has made possible.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the knowledge that my donation is being used to do great good.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

passionate about KEF and their work in Malawi.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help the village develop running water, a power supply and medical facilities and more.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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