Our Story

It all began when Matt from California
met Alfred from Nanyuki.

In 2010, Matt Orcutt traveled to Kenya to volunteer at Daraja Academy in the rural town of Nanyuki. After several months, he met a 13 year old boy named Alfred, whose father was disabled and who had no contact with his mother. Alfred spent his days on the streets, looking for money.

Matt and Alfred struck up a friendship. Recognizing the young boy’s potential and desire to learn, Matt decided to assist Alfred with his goal of attending school again. Together, the two navigated the enrollment process and Matt was able to provide Alfred with the necessary school supplies.

Within two weeks of attending class, Alfred had emerged as the top student in his class. Two terms later, he became the highest-ranked student in the entire district.

With the help of friends and family back home in California, Matt gathered enough resources to start The Simama Project, which he launched in partnership with a team of community leaders and social workers in Nanyuki. Over the following two years, dozens of children like Alfred were able to attend school.

It became apparent, however, that the issue of child poverty in Kenya was complex and nuanced. Education is important, but it’s difficult to learn without full support in all aspects of life. The project was expanded and now includes a scholarship program, meal program, social services and support and a Youth Transition Home.

And, thanks to our generous partners and supporters like you, we continue to grow our family of Simama Students one child at a time.

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