Who We Are


The story of establishing the KGSA Foundation began through a chance meeting in a bar deep in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya. There, Ryan Sarafolean and a few friends who were studying in Kenya through the Minnesota Studies of International Development program, met Abdul Kassim. Over a beer, he told Ryan and others how he wanted to change the world, or at least the world around him and the inequalities that persisted for women. He told them about a soccer program that he had started as a way to get young girls off of the streets and into something productive. His dream was to create a free secondary school for girls as a way to promote self-awareness, empowerment, and equality. Ryan and friends emptied their pockets, raised several hundred dollars, and helped build the first-ever free secondary school for girls in Kibera, the Kibera Girls’ Soccer Academy.

Abdul inspired a sense of urgency and action within Ryan, who went back to the US, finished college, and decided to start a non-profit organization dedicated to building and harnessing the unique strength of women to lead their communities out of poverty, by supporting 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 has worked with high schools, universities, family foundations, corporations, and international aid organizations around the country and globe tirelessly advocating for KGSA and community-driven development.


Abdul Kassim, Founder of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy

Abdul Kassim is a community organizer, tele-communications engineer, and the Founder and Executive Director of the Kibera Girls’ Soccer Academy. Abdul was tired of the gender inequalities that existed in the Kibera slum so he taught girls the game of soccer. He then started the first free-secondary school for his players. His work is not done, and he will not stop advocating for the rights of girls and women within Kibera.

Ryan Sarafolean, Founder of the KGSA Foundation

Ryan Sarafolean is an educator, entrepreneur, and musician. He is also the Founder of the KGSA Foundation. He met Abdul in 2006 while studying abroad in Kenya and learned about the inspiring work that Abdul was engaged in concerning KGSA and its early stages. Ryan 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. Ryan served as Executive Director of the KGSA Foundation until 2016, when he joined the foundation’s Board of Directors.

Richard Teka, Program Director

Richard Teka is the glue that holds the Kibera Girls’ Soccer Academy together. He arrives before the students do, and leaves well after the last person has gone home for the day. He manages all programming on the ground. With the support of the KGSA Foundation, Teka received his degree in finance from the University of Nairobi in 2014. He is beyond interested in the CIA and every spy show ever created. He has been with KGSA since its inception and holds all of our institutional knowledge. You could say he’s our “Central Intelligence Agency.”

Shannon Murphy, Executive Director

Shannon joined the KGSA Foundation in April 2016. She holds a master’s degree in global social work from Boston College. Prior to joining KGSA, she worked as the director of development for a social enterprise in Nairobi, as well as in various fundraising roles for non-profit organizations in Boston and Bangkok.  She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Bulgaria and currently lives in Boston. She is thrilled to be a part of the KGSA community!

Fridah Wanda, Principal

Fridah Wanda is the principal and head-mistress of the Kibera Girls’ Soccer Academy. She was born and raised in Kibera and received her degree from the University of Nairobi. Fridah is proud to be involved with KGSA as she knows the challenges that the girl-child faces on a daily basis in Kibera.

Musa Rashid

Assistant Principal & Kiswahili teacher

Musa Rashid

Associate Principal

Claris Omondi

Head Teacher



Forward Under 40:
University of Wisconsin-Madison!

Ryan Sarafolean was honored with the Forward Under 40 Award for his efforts to combat poverty through the KGSA Foundation.

The Eli J. Segal
Entrepreneurship Award

Ryan Sarafolean was awarded the Eli J. Segal Americorps Alums Entrepreneurship Award for his commitment to social change and entrepreneurial spirit.



KGSA on the Road withJason David, Channel 5MN News!

Jason Davis, from MN Channel 5 News travels to Nairobi, Kenya to document the story of Ryan and Abdul and how they came to establish the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy

KGSA on the Road with Jason David, Channel 5 MN News (Part II)


Strength of a Woman!

Worldreader is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a literate world. They build on digital platforms and mobile connectivity in the developing world to make our books available to children and families who need them the most. In 2013, KGSA partnered with Worldreader to provide students with e-readers. The e-readers are very special to KGSA’s students!

Junior Achievement Worldwide

A partnership between the business community, educators and volunteers — all working together to inspire young people to dream big and reach their potential. JA’s hands-on, experiential programs teach the key concepts

University of Denver,
School of Social Work

We began a partnership with DU and the School of Social Work in 2010. We are working to develop a graduate studies internship component as a way to provide counseling and referral services to our students at KGSA

University of Minnesota
Learning Abroad Center

A part of the University of Minnesota has a study abroad program in Kenya called the Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID) program. We began a partnership with MSID in 2007.

Ashoka East Africa

In 2014, KGSA was honored as one of the first thirteen Ashoka Changemaker Schools in East Africa, the only one in Nairobi. These schools support children as changemakers – individuals with the skill set and connection to purpose that enable them to take initiative to solve problems and drive positive change in their communities.

Hearts on Fire

The Hearts on Fire Movement identifies and showcases some of the most inspirational and committed individuals working to change the world for the better. By telling the stories of today’s visionaries, Hearts on Fire hopes to inspire people from all walks of life to join the social change movement and to create and grow a community of like-minded individuals. Hearts on Fire honored Abdul and Ryan and visionary leaders for social change!

Strathmore University,
Macheo Achievement Program

KGSA partners with Strathmore University’s Macheo (sunrise) Achievement Program, which selects top students to receive three years of academic tutoring, personal mentorship, and leadership development. On Saturdays, students go to Strathmore where they are provided lunch before beginning mentoring and tutoring. On the last Saturday of each month, students participate in a fun activity, educational trip, or a community or environmental service project.

Umbrella Tree Foundation

The Umbrella Tree Foundation has been supporting KGSA for many years. We are so grateful for their support!

1000 Shades of Green!

Both Abdul Kassim and Ryan Sarafolean were named one of fifty-two visionaries of 2014 for the combined work with the Kibera Girls’ Soccer Academy and the KGSA Foundation