In early 2010, we were three college students studying abroad in Kenya. One weekend we took a weekend trip to hike Mt. Longonot. After we were dropped off on the side of the road by our minibus, we started walking towards the mountain without knowing where the park entrance was. We heard voices coming from a small wooden shack and stopped to ask for directions. As we approached, children began pouring through the door and shouting greetings to us. The shack, it turned out, was a pre-primary school serving about 40 children in two small run down rooms. We were struck by how the teacher never asked us for money or any other help; she only requested we send her one of the pictures we took of her and her students.
We returned to the school several times after that to bring small materials to the school and visit the children. We soon decided we wanted to (and could) do more than simply bring a few school supplies out of our own pockets. What the school needed most was a new facility—one that was safe, child-friendly, large enough for all the children in the village, and conducive to learning. One year after our first visit to the school, we started the Longonot Education Initiative—a non-profit organization with a mission to work with the school and to support and develop sustainable education opportunities for children in Kenya.