Starfish Africa is a New Jersey-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that sponsors talented but needy Kenyan teenagers at top-notch Kenyan secondary schools. Over time, we hope to expand our operations into other African countries. Below are our organization's guiding principles and a synopsis of how we pursue our mission.

Our Principles

  • Africa's future is bright, so long as we empower Africa's brightest
    We hold high hopes for Africa's future, and those hopes depend critically on the continent's next generation of leaders. We believe that if we help identify, enable, and empower those leaders, Africa will be in good hands.
  • Aid is a catalyst and not a solution
    Tuition grants alone are not the answer. We use finances to help eliminate hurdles, but our commitment is to our students, not their diplomas. Additionally, to diminish dependency and facilitate ownership, we require the families and communities of our sponsored students to foot a very small (but economically meaningful) portion of the education bill.
  • Stewardship is paramount
    We use our resources carefully. We grow our organization's scope only when it is operationally feasible. We invest as heavily as we can in our core mission - our on-the-ground needs in Africa.

How we work

  • We target a specific niche in African education
    While many notable organizations sponsor children of varying age and ability, we choose to target a very specific niche - Form I (freshmen) applicants who excelled against the odds in free primary school but are on the verge of leaving school altogether due to steep secondary school tuition costs.
  • We partner with elite schools
    Our sponsored students have exceptional intellects. To optimize their educational opportunities, we partner with a handful of the very best secondary schools to find appropriate homes for our students.
  • Our sponsorships are proactive
    We organize recess activities for our students, to include overnight camps and service projects. We correspond with them and review their academic progress each term. And we aim to partner each student with a local mentor to further enhance their overall development.

Our Motivation

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Matthew 25:40

Why Africa?

Africa's per capita income hovers around 500 USD, and the continent is home to roughly two-thirds of the world's fifty poorest countries. Due in part to these economic hardships, Africa's educational system is sorely lacking, leaving its human capital potential untapped. In sub-Saharan Africa, just 3 in 5 adults are literate, and only 4 in 5 children enroll in primary school.

In Kenya, where we currently focus our efforts, hundreds of thousands of children benefit from free primary education, a product of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and the World Bank's Education For All (EFA) initiatives. However, fewer than half of these children will ever attend secondary school, and even fewer will graduate.

Since widespread access to education is a precursor to democracy and sustained economic growth, we believe Africa is ripe for targeted, proactive sponsorships at the secondary school level.

Story of the Starfish

"One day, an old man was walking along the shore when he came upon a young man reaching down to the sand, picking up starfish, and throwing them into the ocean. "Why are you doing this?", he asked. The young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back in, they'll die."

The old man replied, "Do you not realize there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish along every mile? You cannot possibly make a difference!" At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference for that one."