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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Kaeme

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, International, International Relief, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Our mission is two-fold: to build families and protect vulnerable children by creating an Internet database of child profiles; and to provide service volunteers with a deeply meaningful experience that will remain with them for a lifetime.

Results: We have completed over 1,800 child profiles at 44 orphanages. 28 service volunteers have spent 2,900 man-hours working in Ghana.

Target demographics: UNICEF estimates that there are 1.1 million orphans living in Ghana along with thousands of vulnerable children. Many of these children live in poor conditions, deprived of the basic physical, emotional and intellectual support required for a healthy childhood.The Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare currently estimates that up to 80% of children living in institutions are there as a result of poverty and can be reunited with their families if appropriate support is provided. These are potential families in the making.However, many barriers stand in the way of building new families and reuniting existing families. Poor record-keeping, under-resourced welfare agencies and the logistical challenges inherent in matching a child to a family often prevent children from entering or returning to family-based care. Kaeme works to reduce these barriers, offering more children the chance to grow up in a loving home.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Each year we build profiles on 200-400 children, providing social workers the information necessary to reunite these children with their families or place them in family-based care.

Geographic areas served: We work in Ghana, West Africa, where one of the most pressing concerns is the care of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) within the country. Numerous factors, including the AIDS epidemic and the increasing social pressures of urbanization and modernization, have led to the growth of this at-risk population. This trend is expected to continue in the future, increasing the need to develop sustainable models for assisting these children.In Ghana, few of the 150+ orphanages have legally registered with the country's Department of Social Welfare, making it difficult to monitor the OVC population. A 2006 census conducted by the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare into the number of children housed in institutions, the conditions in these homes, and the shortfalls of the existing care system.In face of an international recognition that institutionalized care fails to meet children's developmental needs, Ghana also passed the Orphan and Vulnerable Child Care Reform Initiative (CRI) in 2006. The DSW is charged with enforcing the CRI, which emphasizes that institutions should be temporary homes of last resort for children. Additionally, the CRI lays out a number of new regulations and guidelines for both institutional and foster care.

Programs: Our Kaeme top priorities are to: Reunify children with extended families whenever possible, through the use of information compiled in child profiles and the support of donor sponsorships. Facilitate fostering or adoption when reunification is not possible. When no family care option can be found for a child use donor sponsorships to otherwise support happy and healthy childhoods for children currently housed in orphanages. Provide volunteers with the support and opportunities required to allow them to significantly impact the lives of vulnerable children.

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son went to Ghana with Kaeme as an intern this last summer to profile orphans. He had the most amazing experience. He learned so many important lessons and it changed his life to be able to have an impact on the lives of the children in the orphanages he visited. Kaeme is so important because nothing is more important than reuniting families or finding families for those who don't have one.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization. Inspired by the stories I hear from volunteers and by the work that they are doing.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is having a dramatic and personal impact on so many lives. I recommend this non-profit for anyone seeking to make a direct and substantial difference for the people of Africa. The leadership team is dedicated and thoughtful and their work is making a lasting impact.

Donor

Rating: 5

Kaeme is a remarkable organization that is enabling the placement of orphans in Ghana back into loving homes. Their strategy and approach is founded upon their strong mission of protecting children and building families.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a fascinating nonprofit. Run differently than other "help an orphanage" programs. Kaeme's main focus is to create a much needed record of how and why each child was placed into the orphanage. They help to establish if any known family is connected to the child, then create an official record with the Dept of Social Welfare in Ghana. Genius really - makes it possible for a comprehensive plan on what is the best possible placement for each unique child.

Donor

Rating: 5

We decided to donate to Kaeme because of their mission to unite orphans with family members. The people who work at Kaeme are hard working and totally dedicated to the work. We like it that 100% of donations go to helping reunite families in Ghana and none of it goes to administrative costs.

Donor

Rating: 5

This nonprofit touches my heart. I care about children and families. Kaeme is heroically and honorably trying to rescue children in unregistered orphanages in Ghana to find loving family situations for the betterment and well-being of the children. I know the founders so I strongly believe that their sole purpose is to provide lift and love and hopefully a home for as many children in orphanages as our donations will assist to provide.

Donor

Rating: 5

Kaeme is truly a Great nonprofit. They help children reunite with their families or be placed with a loving family. All proceeds donated go to work. The people who set up the foundation are caring, wonderful human beings who want to truly help build families and to protect the vulnerable children in orphanages. Kaeme means "Remember Me." A beautiful, moving name for a foundation that goes the distance and makes a difference.

Donor

Rating: 5

Kaeme gets kids out of orphanages, and back to families. There are few more noble actions. I know that when I donate to Kaeme, all the money I donate goes toward the goal of documenting children so they can get to a better situation, be that back with a family member or adopted by a caring family. The people who volunteer and run Kaeme are top notch. I have utmost trust in how they conduct and run this non profit. I will continue to support it wholeheartedly.

Donor

Rating: 5

Kaeme is doing such good. Proud to know the good people involved.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Working for Kaeme was such a great learning experience! The children we interacted with were absolutely amazing and they made the trip more than worth while. Being in Ghana for nearly 2 months, I can tell that we made a great impact on the organization and only hope that these children can eventually be placed in better homes because of that. Not only were the children great, but so was the Ghanaian culture. I learned so much and experienced so many things I will never forget! Thank you so much Kaeme for allowing me to have such an experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Had the opportunity to volunteer with Kaeme this past summer and it was nothing short of amazing! Had an incredible time working with and getting to know children that lived in orphanages. It really opened up my eyes to how important families are and living in a happy loving home really is.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Kaeme Foundation is a great Non-Profit that actually is making a difference. It was great going to the orphanages and doing more than just playing with the orphans (though we did a lot of that anyways). We always worked hand in hand with the Department of Social Welfare in Ghana. The work wasn't too difficult but the work load that the DSW has doesn't allow them to spend as much time as we did collecting all the information on the Orphanages. My family has been involved with different volunteering in Africa and Kaeme blew them out of the water with their professionalism and effectiveness.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a great experience working for Kaeme this summer. Besides helping the children and government through our work profiling, I learned a lot about Ghanaian culture. Though I could never get a grasp on the language, the experience was immersive and gave us the authentic Ghanaian experience. This internship allowed us to connect with the orphans on a human level and give them the attention that they so desperately needed. I made friendships that will definitely last a lifetime both among the interns and among Ghanaians. I recommend this experience to any prospective interns because it offers an adventure off the beaten path that truly affects great change in the lives of a voiceless demographic.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

the experience volunteering with Kaeme was a incredible experience! I first joined because i was passionate about helping the children in this country with a non-profit that was conducting operations in a culturally sensitive way. i ended up falling in love with the people and the country, we were able to see many different areas and meet and form relationships with many local people. It gave me a new appreciation on what i take for granted in america and gave me more appreciation for the education i have been able to receive in the states.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was familiar with and inspired by Kaeme's mission before going to Ghana this summer, as my sister Hannah was a Kaeme intern last year. However, nothing quite prepares you for being with children in less than ideal situations. I love children, and I think they sense how much I like them and most are comfortable around me. Still, I was sad at times and heartbroken that the little children who climbed into my lap- a stranger's lap- to fall asleep did not have a loving home in which to nap. That children can be so resilient in the face of abuse and the lack of love was surprising and humbling to me. So now, after experiencing first hand the impact that Kaeme is striving to make on the lives of these vulnerable children, I am so honored to have been a part of this remarkable organization. And I feel that the sustainability of the relationship between Kaeme and the Ghanaian government will ensure that, in time, most of these beautiful children will find families and homes.

Brandee C.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered with Kaeme in Ghana for five weeks this past summer. I really enjoyed working with Kaeme and admire their work because of the unique approach they take to tackling the social issue of taking care of orphaned and vulnerable children in Ghana. By partnering with the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare to implement an existing initiative, Kaeme’s efforts will be more effective in the long term. Also there is an inherent sustainability to this approach. As a volunteer, the experience with Kaeme was really fun and rewarding. I loved working with the Ghanaian social workers as they were incredibly interesting, kind, and fun people to spend time with every single day and it allowed us to gain very interesting insight into the work that the Department of Social Welfare is doing to help these vulnerable kids. It was so much more than just playing with orphans, which is what a lot of volunteering abroad with other groups is, it was being a part of a system that will truly help improve their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked in Ghana with Kaeme the summer after I graduated high school, and one of my first impressions was how capable, kind, and caring the staff and leaders employed by Kaeme were. I was incredibly nervous for this trip, but i always felt safe and taken care of. I think it is amazing that Kaeme works with social workers in Ghana, but always defers to their knowledge and judgement and leaves people born in Ghana in charge of dealing with and talking to the children. I was so so happy to feel like i was making a difference in these children's lives, and that once i left the country, these children would still be helped my Kaeme. I think it is incredibly inspiring how long-term this organization is; in the sense that there is a continued plan to help orphans and vulnerable children in the long term. Kaeme is the BEST!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was born in Sierra Leone, and I came to the states when I was 8 and I have been trying to find a way to get back ever since. When I first found out about KaeMe I knew right away that it was an organization I wanted to be a part of. I am usually very suspicious of non-profits or organizations, which attempt to do work in Africa because even though they have good intentions, their work is sometimes not needed or well directed. In addition, most of the time the work is not sustainable. Thus, although some organizations have good intentions, they don’t necessary lead to good outcomes. KaeMe, on the other hand, is not trying to implement a Western ideal, instead it is trying to help the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare implement an initiative which aims to create electronic profiles for all kids in homes and orphanages in Ghana. KaeMe is not only a well-intentioned program but also a well-directed one. Signing up for KaeMe as an intern was a great decisison. It was an amazing experience for me. The best part for me was going to the homes and letting kids that I have never met before have a huge impact in my life. When we first got to the homes the kids were shy and were sometimes reluctant to talk to us. But, as time passed, the kids got more and more comfortable with us. They started opening up. I would ask them they what games they liked, what subjects they liked in school, what they wanted to be when they grew up etc. I found myself wanting them to succeed so badly. I really loved letting myself truly bond with the kids, caring so much for them, and wanting so badly for them to make it in life. The kids, and knowing that I was doing what I could to help them, was the best part of the internship, and the reason why, if I could, I would do this internship over and over again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was drawn to Kaeme because of its partnership with pre-existing, community efforts in Ghana. As interns, we supported the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare's efforts to collect information on orphanage children, and in doing so were able to support a nationwide effort to bring about long-term and sustainable reform. To be a part of something so much larger than ourselves was incredibly rewarding. That is an experience I do not think I would be able to find anywhere else. Along the way, I had the chance to interact with Ghanaian social workers and community leaders who were a part of our team. Their personal experiences and insights greatly deepened by understanding of the issue.

In addition to our work, we also had the opportunity to explore various places in Ghana: we visited the largest open-air market in West Africa, scaled one of the tallest waterfalls in the country, and trekked through breathtakingly beautiful forests. All of this combined into an entirely unforgettable experience. I am very grateful to have spent the last few weeks with a team of such dedicated individuals and interns, and know that I have grown both as a volunteer, student, and person throughout my time in Ghana.