About Us

Mission

The KGSA Foundation partners with the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) to provide access to free secondary school education for girls living in Kibera, Kenya – one of Africa’s largest informal settlements.

Through financial and other resources, we facilitate the holistic education of 130 girls every year. In addition to KGSA’s academic and extracurricular programming, we offer the supporting nutrition, healthcare, and mentorship initiatives that are critical to unlocking potential, expanding opportunities, and enabling our students to shape their futures.

Together with KGSA, we are working to break the cycle of poverty for the girls and their families and empowering their local community to create a stronger, more resilient Kibera.

Philosophy

We believe local problems need local solutions. We recognize the expertise of community leaders and invest in their ability to respond to problems on their own terms. When local leaders are given the chance to lead, they create innovative solutions to combat poverty that outsiders may miss, earn community buy-in leading to meaningful relationships with surrounding stakeholders, and illuminate the possibility that everyone is an agent of change and is empowered to strengthen their community.

History​


Founder's Story: Abdul & Ryan

 

The KGSA Foundation began through a chance meeting in a bar in Kibera. There, Ryan Banning and a few friends who were studying in Kenya through the Minnesota Studies of International Development program met Abdul Kassim, the founder of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA). 

Over a beer, Abdul told Ryan how he wanted to change the world around him and the inequalities that persisted for women. He told them about a soccer program that he had started to offer girls an outlet and a bridge to realizing their potential. His dream was to create a free secondary school for girls as a way to promote self-awareness, empowerment, and equality. He felt that through active participation in education, the arts, and athletics, our the girls would have the opportunity to develop confidence and strong minds, bodies, and spirits; empowering them to become inspiring leaders in their own communities and country, advocating for a brighter future for Kibera and Kenya.

Ryan and his friends emptied their pockets, raised several hundred dollars, and helped build the first free secondary school for girls in Kibera, the Kibera Girls’ Soccer Academy (KGSA). With a sense of inspired urgency from Abdul, Ryan went back to the US, finished college, and started a non-profit organization dedicated to building and harnessing the unique strength of women to lead their communities out of poverty through enrolling in KGSA.  Ryan moved back to Kenya for a year to work with Abdul and other community leaders on the logistics of an international partnership. In 2011, the KGSA Foundation was registered as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Today, the KGSA Foundation works with high schools, universities, family foundations, corporations, and international aid organizations across the US and around the world, tirelessly advocating for KGSA and community-driven development.

In 2015, twenty-six individuals climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for a new building to provide safe and stable housing for up to 80 girls experiencing abuse or poverty. Construction began in early 2020 and the dormitory opened in mid-2021. We will board 40 girls in the first year thanks to a generous almost $50,000 grant from the Girls Opportunity Alliance of the Obama Foundation. We hope to expand to a full capacity of 80 girls in the future as funding allows. Donate today to help make it possible!

Our Soccer Roots
  • Abdul Kassim starts a soccer team to engage and inspire girls in Kibera.
From Soccer to Secondary Education
  • Abdul Kassim founded the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy to start providing education to 13 girls in one classroom with two teachers.
An International Partnership
  • Ryan Banning, inspired by the school and its mission, starts an international partnership to provide support.  The KGSA Foundation is founded.
The Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb
  • Twenty-six individuals climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for a new building to provide safe and stable housing for up to 80 girls experiencing abuse or poverty.
Growth, Partnerships, and More
  • Enrollment grows from 13 students to 130 students per year.
  • Growth from one classroom to a two-story building with more local teachers and richer, more holistic programming.
  • Supporters from around the world gave resources to the school, enabling it to expand to holistically address the needs of the students.
  • KGSA responds to the Covid-19 pandemic caring for the girls and their families.
  • Dormitory breaks ground in 2020 and opens in mid-2021!
Child Protection Policy​

The protection of children is an integral component of KGSA’s approach; that the girls that are learning receive a quality education in which their rights are respected and they feel safe and protected. 

Leadership Team​

School Staff

Richard Teka​

Director

Teka grew up in the western part of Kenya as well as in Kibera. He graduated from Kibera Clory Secondary School in 2003. He joined the Youth Against Immorality in 2004 where he volunteered for two years before joining Kibera Girls Soccer Academy in 2006. He was one of the first two teachers at KGSA. He was KGSA’s Principal from 2006 through 2010. He graduated from the University of Nairobi in 2015 with a degree in Finance. He has been with KGSA since it started and loves seeing girls go through KGSA and later on succeed in their lives.

Claris Akinyi

Principal

Claris was born and raised in a middle environment within Kibera. Through the support of KGSA, she received her Bachelor’s Degree of Education and Counseling at Kenya Methodist University. She has taught girls mathematics and geography for more than ten years. She is proud to be a part of the team and is motivated to create the best possible future for the girls in KGSA.

Jedidah Philip​

School Counselor​

Jedidah’s childhood was in Nyeri county and studied Counselling Psychology at the University of Nairobi.She always had a passion to create change in her community. At KGSA She has the opportunity to practice social work by assisting the young girls grow through a key phase of their lives and create awareness of their mental health. She  loves working at KGSA because it’s the most caring environment that she has been part of throughout her career with a team that is intelligent, fun, and responsible.She feels respected and valued for what she brings on board and knows that she is making a difference in young lives.

Musa Rashid Seif​

Deputy Principal​

Musa has worked at KGSA since 2007 and teaches Kiswahili and History as well. He was born and raised in Kibera, studied at the University of Eastern Africa Baraton, and received a Diploma in Education Kiswahili and History.He loves working at KGSA, because he wants to give back to his community through education.

Dalifa Hassan​

Mathematics and Chemistry Teacher​

Dalifa grew up in the western part of Kenya in a town called Busia and graduated from KGSA in 2012. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education Science from Maseno University and teaches mathematics and Chemistry at KGSA. She loves mentoring and empowering the girls through education. KGSA provides a great platform for that.

James Miyare​

Business Studies and Geography Teacher​

James teaches Business Studies and Geography. He grew up in Yala in Siaya county in Nyanza province and studied at the University of Nairobi. James likes working at KGSA because the administrators treat all staff equally and with dignity. The students are disciplined and are motivated. Finally, the school gives the students more support than just academics.

Khadija

Social Media Manager​

Khadija grew up in Kibera and is a proud graduate of KGSA’s 2015 Class. In 2017, she obtained a diploma in graphics design and entrepreneurship from AkiraChix. Khadija manages the school’s social media and creates content for the Foundation’s communications. She loves researching what’s new in the tech field and designing in Photoshop.  ​

Mohammed Ibrahim

Soccer Coach

Mohammed is KGSA’s soccer coach.

Mondestah Isalamba​

History, Government and Religious Studies Teacher ​

Mondestah grew up in Kitale in the Rift Valley region of Kenya and studied at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology. Having been born and raised in a humble background, KGSA provides her with a platform to teach as well as an opportunity to share her life experiences with the girls. Mondestah wants to enable them to develop a positive attitude towards life in order to overcome the challenges they face, especially in growing up in an informal urban settlement.

Ngobina Moses​

Biology and Chemistry Teacher ​

Ngobina graduated from South Eastern Kenya University after growing up in Ingotse village in Kakamega county in the western part of Kenya. He feels happy and proud to work at KGSA due to the support given to the young girls who come from humble backgrounds. Here, they are able to realize their dreams and future goals. The life skills and academic support makes the learners so happy and joyful.

Nyameyo Sammy​

Mathematics and Physics Teacher​

Nyameya grew up in Nyakach in Kisumu county in the Nyanza province of Kenya. He studied at the University of Nairobi. The reason he enjoys working at KGSA is that it is not just an institution of learning, but a family. Since joining the school, he has developed professionally and also received immense support financially, morally, and emotionally. Although the students are from humble backgrounds, their determination to succeed makes him want to give his best always.

Zahra Ahmed Obeid​

Secretary

Zahra grew up in Kibera and studied business management at the Kenya Institute of Management. She is currently pursuing a course in tax administration in the Kenya School of Revenue Administration. She loves being a part of KGSA, because she is passionate about empowering girls through education.

KGSA Executive Team

Katy Troyer

KGSA Foundation Executive Director

Katy is a dedicated international humanitarian professional with more than fifteen years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She worked with a Mayan women’s association in Guatemala for two years and is passionate about girls’ empowerment and local solutions. Prior to becoming KGSA’s Executive Director, Katy worked at Global Dental Relief coordinating pediatric dental projects in five countries including Kenya. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Kalamazoo College and a Master of Arts in International Development from the University of Denver. Katy lives in Colorado with her husband and two children and enjoys traveling, Zumba and exploring the outdoors.​

Ryan Banning

Founder of the KGSA Foundation

Ryan Banning met Abdul Kassim in 2006 while studying abroad in Kenya. Inspired by Abdul’s leadership and work within the Kibera community, Ryan returned to the US motivated to establish a Foundation that would further support Addul’s efforts. In 2009, Ryan both established the US Foundation, and moved back to Kenya for a year to be close to the school, and to establish the in-country partnerships and relationships needed to move forward. Ryan led the Foundation until 2016, when he joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors. He has a Master’s of Science Degree from American University in Development Management with a focus on Monitoring and Evaluation and Gender Studies. He has been awarded the 40 Under 40 Award from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, the Eli J. Segal Entrepreneur Fellowship, and a 2014 Visionary Award from the Hummingbird Foundation for his work with the KGSA Foundation. He now lives in Portland, OR and is the Director of Community Partnerships & Events with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. ​

KGSA Foundation Board of Directors

Becky Albright

Board Chair

Becky visited KGSA in 2012 and fell in love with the students and the faculty of KGSA. The education and programming impressed and inspired her so much that she immediately got involved and has been ever since. She started on the Board of Directors in 2014 then became Chair in 2015 and participated in the Elevate Education campaign – summiting Kilimanjaro to raise funds for a dormitory and community center. Becky has been working as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Monument, Colorado since 2004, and lives in Palmer Lake, Colorado with her husband, Philip Tedeschi – who introduced her to KGSA in the first place.

Diane Gorder

Board Member

Diane became connected to KGSA through her friendship with Becky Albright, our Chair. Diane and her husband, Pete, have been long-time supporters of KGSA and have been a part of several benefit concerts throughout the years. She has had the great privilege of meeting Abdul, Teka and several of the girls over the years and has been inspired by their strength, their hope for the future, and their pride in Kibera and the school. Diane is an engineer and business leader and has a special passion for girls education especially in the sciences, math and technology. She is also a founding board member of Wholly Kicks, a Colorado nonprofit, and a Marketing and Strategy specialist for the medical device industry. Most recently, she served as Director of Strategy, Business Development and Advanced Research for Philips. She brings her expertise in strategy, organizational development and marketing to support KGSA’s mission and programs. ​

Dr. Dan Harris

Board Treasurer

Dr. Dan Harris is board certified in internal medicine and practices hospital medicine in Grand Junction, CO. He became involved with KGSA after participating in the Elevate Education climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2015. He has served on the KGSA board since 2015.​

Cathy Huber

Board Secretary

Cathy Huber has more than 20 years of higher education experience in international education, both in sending U.S. students abroad and with international students studying in the U.S. Since 2007, she has worked at the University of Minnesota in the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, the central international office for the University of Minnesota system. She has extensive experience developing and managing experiential study abroad programs in Africa, and it was through this work that she first learned about KGSA. She has had the privilege of visiting the school on several occasions and has seen first-hand the extraordinary work that is going on there. Her most memorable moments have been visiting the classrooms and the opportunities to talk, listen and laugh with the amazing young women!

Nadia Martyn

Board Member

Nadia is the VP, Deputy General Counsel and Privacy Officer for Delta Dental of Minnesota. Nadia holds a B.A. in History from Boston College and a juris doctorate from the University of MN Law School. She has been on the KGSA Board since 2015, and also currently serves on the board of Benilde-St. Margaret’s School. She lives in Edina, Minnesota with her husband Joe and their two young children.​

Hosain Lipson

Board Member

Hosain Lipson joined the Board in 2016 after climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro the previous year to raise funds for the KGSA dormitory. He lives in Minnesota and is the National Director of Sales for Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA. Since 2008 he has served on the fundraising committee of CornerHouse of Minnesota. Hosain was introduced to KGSA through Becky’s husband Phil Tedeschi. Hosain and Phil were classmates from 3rd grade through undergrad at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Sean Rush

Board Member

Sean spent most of his professional life with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM. For the last eight years of his career, he served as CEO of one of the largest global NGOs, JA Worldwide. It was through JA that he discovered KGSA during a visit to Kenya and has returned to the School multiple times since then. Now retired, he serves on a variety of non-profit boards throughout the United States, the KGSA Foundation being the most important.​

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Play Like a Girl by Ellie Roscher

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