Believing that an education holds the key to a healthy adulthood; the Wana Duma Children’s Project is dedicated to removing barriers that children in Kenya and elsewhere in the world encounter which impede their access to education.
We believe that an educated child who has developed good life-skills is more likely to become a leader, a steward of the environment and help lay the foundation for a stronger community.
Project Survival believes that you can not save cats if you do not work to save people. These kids are the future to saving cats. If animal organizations help them, we hope in return they will help animals. They do not have to be biologists or veterinarians, just take a love of animals into the field of work they choose and animals will benefit.
Susanne began volunteering in Namibia for the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in 1997. While fundraising for CCF in the United States she was introduced to the Wildlife Safari located in Roseburg, Oregon, which works to heighten wildlife awareness and has a cheetah breeding program. Susanne and Wildlife Safari teamed up to bring a live cheetah to dozens of schools throughout western Washington and teach thousands of students about endangered animals. She joined the CCF Kenya project in 2001, as a volunteer organizing a new compound for education and a base for game counts. The following year Susanne became connected with 30 primary school children in need of help to pay for tuition and uniforms. Susanne agreed to personally sponsor the children for $70 each. It quickly became apparent that more guidance and aid was needed to keep each student in school. The need for books, school supplies and transportation had to be addressed individually. As 30 students turned into 40 children age 2 to 22 Susanne began bringing sponsors on board to help with individual students as well as accepting donations of clothing, school supplies and bicycles. Although Susanne was spending months at a time every year working with the project she found she was missed during her absences and more help was needed to address the children’s circumstances that change daily. In 2008 Susanne was excited to find Susan Nyambura to work on the project year round.
In 2008 the effort was officially named Wana Duma Children’s Project. Wana Duma means “Cheetah Children” in Swahili. In June 2008 Wana Duma was granted Washington State non-profit status. The project has grown to include a Board of five members in the US and four full and part-time employees in Kenya. The list of sponsors, donors, and volunteers has expanded rapidly. With the additional support Wana Duma has continued to grow leaps and bounds – we currently have 57 children in the program and 8 graduates.