Mission and Vision
The KGSA Foundation partners with the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) to provide a free, holistic high school education to 150 girls every year in Kibera, Kenya – one of Africa’s largest informal settlements.
Through financial and technical resources, the Foundation supports KGSA’s academic programming in addition to nutrition, health care, extra-curricular and leadership initiatives along with higher education scholarships for graduates to unlock potential, expand opportunities, and enable each girl with the ability to shape her future.
Together with KGSA, we are working to break the cycle of poverty for the girls and their families, empowering them to become stronger, more independent and resilient women
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.
We believe in the power of the #girleffect. Investing in girls transforms their lives and uplifts their families and communities.
We stand by our Child Protection Policy. The protection of children is an integral component of KGSA’s approach: that girls receive a quality education in which their rights are respected and they feel safe and protected.
We value transparency and accountability.
Founder's Story: Abdul & Ryan
The KGSA Foundation began through a chance meeting in a bar in Kibera. 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, 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 Kenya and 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 dormitory to provide a safe and stable learning environment where the girls can thrive. Construction began in early 2020 and the dormitory opened in July of 2021. We boarded 46 girls in the first year thanks to a generous $50,000 grant from the Girls Opportunity Alliance at the Obama Foundation. KGSA is currently boarding 90 girls for the 2022 academic year. We hope to offer room and board to all 150 girls in the future as funding allows. Donate today to help make it possible!
- Abdul Kassim starts a soccer team to engage and inspire girls in Kibera.
- Abdul Kassim founded the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy to start providing education to 13 girls in one classroom with two volunteer teachers.
- Ryan Banning, inspired by the school and its mission, starts an international partnership to provide support. The KGSA Foundation is born.
- Twenty-six individuals climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for a new dormitory to provide a safe and stable learning environment for the girls.
- Enrollment grew from serving 13 students to 150 girls in 2023.
- Expansion from one classroom to two school buildings and a dormitory.
- Two volunteer teachers evolved into a professionally-trained staff.
- Supporters from around the world helped the school develop more programs to holistically address the girls' needs such as school meals, computer and science lab, social worker, life skills training and boarding.
- KGSA responds to the Covid-19 pandemic caring for the girls and their families when schools across Kenya closed down in 2020.
- Dormitory opens in July of 2021 hosting 46 girls in the first year thanks to a grant from the Girls Opportunity Alliance at the Obama Foundation. Boarding expanded to 90 girls in 2023 and we hope to board all students in the future.
Madame Claris was born and raised in a middle environment within Kibera. She played soccer with KGSA before it evolved into a free high school for girls. She attended secondary school up-country and returned to KGSA in 2007 to teach math and geography. During her 15 plus years working at KGSA, Claris obtained a Bachelor’s Degree of Education and Counseling from Kenya Methodist University and was promoted to Head Teacher, Principal and Director. Claris is a beloved teacher and colleague and loves playing soccer. She’s an excellent goalkeeper and still dives after the ball during matches with staff and students. Madame Claris is a role model to the girls and inspires the students to follow their dreams. Her favorite part of the job is when alumni come back to the school to report their successes.
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. Madame Mondestah has been teaching history, government and religious studies at KGSA since 2016.
Musa Rashid Seif
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.
Business Studies and Geography Teacher
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.
Fatuma Hassan Sebit
Fatuma grew up in Kibera and studied at Diakonia Institute where she received her diploma. She sets up the laboratory practicals for all science classes and also teaches physical education. Fatuma feels privileged to be a part of KGSA, because she is part of a team making a difference in the lives of girls from humble backgrounds.
Lilian was born and raised in South Nyanza. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education Arts at the University of Nairobi in 2017. She likes working at KGSA, because it gives her a platform to practice her profession and is passionate about helping girls. Madame Lilian also oversees the Journalism Club and was the Class of 2022 advisor. These girls loved her dearly and still call her Mama Lilian even after graduating.
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.
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
For over ten years, Latifah has worked with various organizations dedicating her life to the plight of the marginalized, vulnerable & disenfranchised communities. Latifah was born in Kibera and holds a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in Humanities and a post graduate diploma in advanced project management from the University of Johannesburg. Latifah is a recipient of the International Christian Organization Media
Award for her positive involvement in assisting with the refugee crisis in South
Mohammed has been coaching the school soccer team since the early days. He led the 2022 team to a third place ranking in Nairobi County.
Naima grew up in Kibera, Nairobi. She graduated from KGSA in 2016 and is now managing the library
and E-readers. Naima is grateful to work in KGSA because it gives her the opportunity to give back
and she also loves working with the girls.
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 and Zumba. In February of 2023, Katy led a team of 40 supporters from the USA to visit KGSA with her mom and daughter tagging along! Katy cherishes every trip to Kenya – KGSA truly feels like home.
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
Diane became connected to KGSA through her friendship with Becky Albright, our Chair Emeritus. 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. Diane began her tenure as chair in 2023.
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. After many years of service as Board Chair, Becky transitioned to Chair Emeritus in 2023.
Dr. Dan Harris
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 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 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 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.
Anne discovered KGSA in 2008 while studying abroad in Nairobi with Kalamazoo College. She fell in love with KGSA’s students and mission, and volunteered her time as a math and physics teacher at the school. She was awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant to return to Kenya in 2010 and conduct an educational seminar at KGSA, teaching physics students to build solar lanterns. For 10+ years after returning to the US, Anne has been committed to fundraising for KGSA with lots of support from her family and friends. She is also an accomplished healthcare data specialist and encourages women in STEM careers in everything she does. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her partner Dan and many pets, and she enjoys hiking, growing her own food, and woodworking.
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.