Virginia Fresne

Flying Kites

Overview

My passion for education and philanthropy began as a volunteer in college. I spent one summer volunteering at Flying Kites in Kenya, observing and learning from an organization that fully understands the impact and investment high-quality education and high-quality care can have on a child. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in International Relations, I was still so struck by Flying Kites’ work that I applied (begged) for a job working side by side with some true gam…

My passion for education and philanthropy began as a volunteer in college. I spent one summer volunteering at Flying Kites in Kenya, observing and learning from an organization that fully understands the impact and investment high-quality education and high-quality care can have on a child.

After graduating from Boston University with a degree in International Relations, I was still so struck by Flying Kites’ work that I applied (begged) for a job working side by side with some true game changers in the nonprofit field. I feel truly lucky every day to be able to fuse my passion with my career.

I believe I am a Charity Warrior because I am committed and passionate about leveling the playing field for some of the world’s poorest children.

As of May 2012, Kenya had over 2.4 million orphans, with 47 percent of children being orphaned as a result of HIV/ AIDS. Most of these children find themselves without a proper social support system, due to the weakening extended family system in the Kenyan society.(Office of the President National Aids Control Council., 2012).

Flying Kites was started in 2007, when a little boy living in an overcrowded orphanage in the slums of Nairobi challenged a small group of volunteers to see him as a child, and not as an orphan. Orphans need bowls of rice. Children need families, people to invest in the quality of their education and the possibility of their dreams. They need nourishment and inspiration and adventure and security; they need to be shown that the world cares about who they are and who they will become.

And so, at Flying Kites, we believe that education is the path out of poverty. More than that, it is the key to poverty alleviation for families and societies alike.

We believe that providing students with access to high-­quality education and holistic support is vital to alleviating suffering, increasing gender equality and promoting economic sustainability. By meeting the needs of the whole child, our programs give students the tools they need to build their best lives and positively impact their families, communities, and country. We seek to ensure that our students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.

Our primary school operates as both a boarding and day school, providing a competitive education and holistic support to students and their families in the wider community, as well as opportunities for housing and care for students who are orphaned and homeless.

Our LaunchPad Initiative ensures that the young people in our program are able to develop healthyrelationships, pursue meaningful career paths, contribute to their communities and establish a life trajectory of self­sufficiency. LaunchPad helps students develop critical life and leadership skills by providing them with access to year­round support and intensive workshops.

We distribute fundraising dollars between our primary school (day and boarding students) and our LaunchPad program. This includes (but is not limited to) basic needs (food, shelter, water, clothes) school fees, scholarships, school supplies and textbooks, health services, psychological services, teacher salaries, farming, workshops, job shadowing, IT and computer classes, health and sex ed workshops, on-site social worker, field trips etc.

As of Fall 2016, we are also directing fundraising efforts towards our first ever expansion with the goal being to triple the size of our school and programs. This includes adding a two new dormitories, academic building, kitchen/feeding center, library, computer lab and staff accommodations.

Our budget is currently 82% programs and 12% operations.

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