Our Team

The Simama Project is a Community Based Organization (CBO)
in Nanyuki, Kenya.

The Simama Project’s on-the-ground work is guided by a community-based advisory council consisting of local leaders, social workers, education experts and former Simama Project students under the leadership of Founder and Executive Director Matt Orcutt.

The Simama Project is supported by Simama International, a California-based 501(c)3 organization as defined by the US Internal Revenue Service that identifies and supports innovative education-focused grassroots organizations working on the ground in developing countries.

Operations Team

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Matt Orcut

FOUNDER

Matt is the Founder of the Simama Project and Executive Director of Simama International.

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Alfred Maina

STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE

Alfred is the Student Representative.

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Regina Nduku Kakue

SOCIAL WORKER

She has extensive training in social work and counseling psychology with over 17 years experience working in the community.

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After graduating from UCLA, Matt spent several years in LA and San Francisco. It was a trip to Kenya in 2009 that inspired him to start the Simama Project. Currently he divides his time between San Francisco and Kenya. While in Kenya he oversees operations on the ground and in San Francisco he works closely with his Board of Directors and helps with fundraising. In his spare time he takes up the eternal search for the perfect burrito, following the San Francisco Giants, reading Shakespeare and spending time with his nephews.

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Alfred is in many ways the founder of Simama. Although he was only 13 at the time, it was his bravery, perseverance and hard work that ultimately made Simama successful. Currently a Form 4 at St. Mary’s Secondary School (Nyeri) He is one of the greatest architects of Simama Programs and spends all of his free time making Simama better.

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Regina is a married mother of three. She has extensive training in social work and counseling psychology with over 17 years experience working in the community. She serves Simama as the Simama Transition Home manager, and head of Social Work. She is very passionate about street children, having worked with them over the last two decades. Her hobbies include travelling, meeting new friends. She comes to Simama from Rescue Dada in Nairobi.

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Ngina “Wendy” Wairimu

She joined Simama Project as the Centre of Worth Director after having worked for several years for Children Foundation.

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Esther Wainaina

Esther has a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Communication from the University of Nairobi.

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Wendy is a mother of one, she studied at Kenya Methodist University, where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Business Management. She joined Simama Project as the Centre of Worth Director after having worked for several years with One More Day for Children Foundation as a Project Manager. Her hobbies include watching movies writing stories and developing content. Wendy is a woman without Limits.

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Esther has been with us since early 2016. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Communication from the University of Nairobi. Esther first fell in love with Simama after volunteering with us for three months.

Esther loves working with the kids and loves the opportunity to grow and learn with the kids. Esther works with Simama as a counsellor and social worker.

Esther loves travelling, especially to the beach!

Kenyan Board of Directors

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Kinyua Hezron

He has 15 years of experience working for the department of social services in Nanyuki.

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Jesse Kigotho

He is a happy volunteer with simama because of his passion and respect for education.

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Charles Mbuto

With over 10 years of teaching experience is currently the Academic Dean at Daraja Academy.

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Mr Hezron holds a Bachelors degree in Sociology from Nairobi University and a Diploma in Community Development from Moi University Eldoret. He has 15 years of experience working for the department of social services in Nanyuki. Hezron has been involved with Simama before it even existed, performing the first case assessments for the first kids in our project. He is married and has two kids. In his spare time he enjoys swimming.

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He has a Diploma in Education and has worked as a teacher for the last thirty years. He is a happy volunteer with simama because of his passion and respect for education; He is a husband and a father of two. His favorite food is choma and ugali. Jesse works hard to ensure that the project prospers.

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With over 10 years of teaching experience, Charles or “Mr. C” as he is referred to by his students, is currently the Academic Dean at Daraja Academy in Nanyuki, Kenya. Being a teacher and having lived in Nanyuki, Charles understood the need and saw the Simama Project and it’s mission as a great opportunity for local children. Charles hold a bachelor of science degree in Biology from University of Nairobi and currently pursuing a post‐graduate diploma in Education. He lives in Nanyuki with his wife and two daughters

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Hania Muthon

Hania completed primary school in 1997 but her family was unable to afford a secondary school education for her.

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Victoria Gichuhi

Victoria Gichuhi is the Principal of Daraja Academy, whose role is to ensure all learning and activities that support secondary education are well coordinated.

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Mohamed Adam Shaiya

Mohamed is passionate about Simama because we help rehabilitate kids who would otherwise not have the opportunity to succeed in life.

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Hania completed primary school in 1997 but her family was unable to afford a secondary school education for her. Hania now works in the MP’s office as a field officer for her home area, Likii Village. Until meeting Matt in 2013, she had no alternatives for many of the kids that she was meeting. Since joining Simama

Project’s Community Advisory Council, she has served as a temporary foster Mother for several of the program’s kids.

Hania lives in Likii Village with her husband and two sons.

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Victoria Gichuhi is the Principal of Daraja Academy, whose role is to ensure all learning and activities that support secondary education are well coordinated. Since Simama’s inception, Victoria has worked closely with Matt in Kenya on consultative grounds. In the year 2013 she joined in as a member of Simama’s board of directors.
Victoria holds a degree in Education and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Business administration at Kenyatta University. Her passion is to change the world through children’s education.

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A native of Kenya, Mohamed earned a degree in business finance from Ryerson University in Ontario Canada. He has worked in the film industry since 1996. Mohamed is passionate about Simama because we help rehabilitate kids who would otherwise not have the opportunity to succeed in life. He loves to cook and owns one of the best restaurants in Nanyuki.

US Board of Directors

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Chris Bennett

CHAIRMAN

Chris is a long time friend of Matt’s and served as an advisor during the creation of the Simama Project.

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Ajit Pareenja

TREASURER

Ajit is a friend of Matt’s since their college days at UCLA. As the organization grew and more oversight and compliance was needed on financial matters, Ajit volunteered his experience to help support the project.

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Jessica Danforth

VICE CHAIRMAN

Jessica joined the Board of Directors in 2013 and helps lead fundraising strategy and events.

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After learning about Matt’s work on the Simama Project in 2012 and returning from travels across Africa and the Middle East, Chris jumped at the opportunity to help establish Simama International and manage the Board of Directors. He leverages his eight years of experience managing global programs at NGOs large and small to support Simama’s organizational development, strategic planning and fundraising. In his spare time, Chris enjoys playing with his American Bulldog puppy Layla, reading books on economics, watching any sporting event that is on TV and taking advantage of the many things to do in the Washington, D.C. area. Chris holds a BA in International Relations from UCLA and will complete his MA in International Policy at George Mason University in 2016.

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Having followed (and being inspired by) Matts passion and work in developing the Simama Project, Ajit joined the board in 2012. His primary area of focus is on managing Simama’s finances and ensuring the organizations strategic goals and objectives are appropriately met. In his spare time, Ajit enjoys traveling and waiting for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series. He graduated from UCLA with a BA in Business Economics and serves as portfolio manager for Fillmore Capital Partners.

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Jess first became involved with the Simama Project in 2012 during a trip to Nanyuki. Since that time she has spent over a year in Kenya working for the project. She uses her professional experience in Marketing, venture capital, and finance to steer Simama in the right direction. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, looking at pictures of French bulldogs, running marathons and spending time in San Francisco, where she has recently relocated. She is an amateur photographer and most of the photos on the website are her work.

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Perry Tyler

Perry Tyler joined the Simama Board in 2015, as she believes in the power of education.

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Ryan Borcherdt

Ryan joined the board in 2015 after spending three months on the ground with Matt in Kenya experiencing first-hand the difference that Simama in making in the lives of Kenyan youth.

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William Newsom

SECRETARY

William joined the Board of Directors of Simama International to help establish the official structure of the organization and assist with development of the bylaws and articles of incorporation.

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Perry Tyler joined the Simama Board in 2015, as she believes in the power of education. She helps with development and communications. Perry graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and works in television. She is known for her love of the outdoors, exploring new cities, and is on a constant quest for the best pizza. As a California native, she spends her days praying for rain.

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Ryan joined the board in 2015 after spending three months on the ground with Matt in Kenya experiencing first-hand the difference that Simama in making in the lives of Kenyan youth.  Having worked with small to medium sized businesses his entire career as both an investor and a small business owner, Ryan’s role is to continually improve the organization’s operational efficiency and procedures.  Ryan enjoys playing soccer, fly fishing and backpacking whenever he has spare time.  He graduated from UCLA with a BA in Business Economics and runs an organization that operates enrichment programs for children throughout the Bay Area.

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A college classmate of Matt’s, Will joined the board in 2012 after learning about Matt’s vision to grow Simama into a world-class charity and expand it reach to more youth in Kenya. Will leverages his legal background to help keep Simama compliant and transparent, and jumps in wherever he is needed to support Simama’s U.S. organization, from fundraising to copywriting. In his spare time, Will keeps up with local politics, reads science fiction, plays soccer, and works on his plan to one day own an asteroid mining company. Will graduated from UCLA with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, Hastings College of the Law with a JD and currently works as a venture capital attorney at Cooley LLP.