Flying Kites seeks to raise the standards of care for the world's poorest children by giving them the tools they will need – education, imagination, and resolution – to succeed in and contribute to a complex and changing world. Flying Kites strives to work in partnership with their neighbors to strengthen the community and help keep families together; to foster collaboration between Flying Kites and non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and businesses; and to facilitate thoughtful action on the crises facing orphaned children.
Flying Kites was co-founded by two recent Salve Regina University graduates, a British mountaineer working with street children and a retired Kenyan entrepreneur. Prior to establishing Flying Kites, the Founders volunteered in the slums of Nairobi and grew frustrated by the lack of comprehensive approaches to improving the lives of orphans. Poor quality education, lack of fresh air and water, and minimal preparation for a productive adulthood meant that these children were often condemned to an adult life of poverty. Out of these observations came the organization’s vision of remarkable childcare and sustainable community development.
This model is being put into practice on their first site in the Aberdares Mountains of Central Kenya, at Flying Kites Kinangop Children’s Center (FKKCC). Here, orphaned children who have endured unimaginable suffering reclaim their childhood on their magical site that boasts acres of crop fields, an extensive fruit orchard, varied livestock and a fresh mountain spring. In this setting, the organization’s wonderful, caring and qualified staff provides a safe and nurturing environment for all their children.
Flying Kites operates under the premise that removing a child from an existing family should always be the last resort. When parents die in Kenya, a relative usually takes on the responsibility to care for the orphaned child. This can put an overwhelming burden on what is often an already precarious financial situation. Therefore, Flying Kites provides small grants to such relatives to allow children to remain with their family. Flying Kites also assists the community by leasing 25 acres of land in Kinangop, which has been distributed in one-half acre allotments to 50 landless families. These families have been provided with initial training, seeds and fertilizer. Flying Kites expects this initiative to be self-sustaining within two years.
In addition to community outreach programs, Flying Kites runs a primary school for children living at FKKCC, as well as for 35 children from the Kinangop community. Flying Kites prides themselves on the high quality of education they provide; three of their children rank as the top students in Kenya for their respective age groups. Flying Kites wishes to expand to offer secondary schooling on-site within the next three years.
Flying Kites focuses on providing a holistic education that stresses the value of extra-curricular activities and community involvement. Their goal is to foster the desire for social change in their children, as well as to provide them with the necessary tools to make their voices and actions count. Thus, Flying Kites graduates will be positioned to have an impact on the world greatly beyond their numbers.