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.
Review from Guidestar
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.
Review from Guidestar
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
For many, many years Mary Burns has worked diligently with all her heart to fund the education of the children in Manyesa, Malawi. In the film Mary has sent me I see the strong, trusting and enlightened faces of the children and all their families in this community impacted and nurtured by the ongoing support of the Kasimu Education Fund. I will donate ongoing and more with any funds that come to me.
In 2005, The Kasimu Education Fund (KEF), a 501C3 NGO, working to improve the lives of the people in the Manyesa area of Malawi began offering high school scholarships,for graduates of the Kasimu Elementary School, scholarships for college, building classrooms for the Kasimu School, and now provides a daily meal for 1,300 Kasimu students. In 2008, KEF started a pre-school, began a micro-finance program for the 5,000 villagers, improved the infrastructure of the elementary school and is now making plans to build a high school in the elementary school area. In kind donations allow one hundred percent of all other donations to go to fund the on-going improvement of the area's educational needs. Please see our website: www.kefmalawi.com. For more information call (650) 986-0723. Mary Burns, President