Kisima academy

For people who send Kisima Academy donations directly to FTKI, the address has changed. It is now: FTKI, 6614 Van Winkle Dr., Falls Church, VA 22044.

Kisima Academy, a mission of COS, is a Christian orphanage and school in rural western Kenya.

Many of you know that I returned recently from a visit to Kisima Academy. It was a great trip. There were twelve people, six from here, four friends from Michigan, one from Ohio, and one from New Jersey. We went with two 50-lb. suitcases each, filled with 300 books, about 250 pairs of shoes, 14 tablet computers from TAP, curtains for the 29 windows of the dorms and dining hall, 20 dresses sewn by the Women’s Ministry Group of the Community Church, lots of sports equipment and lots of school, sewing, and craft supplies.

Everyone went with lots of plans and lots was accomplished. My primary aim was to set up a library. First the Director and the staff had to be convinced of the importance of recreational reading--how it broadens horizons and improves reading skills. Only one of the teachers had been in a library and the concept of checking out books was foreign to them. Another former librarian on the trip spent the entire time working with the teachers and training the teacher librarian and student aides. The kids were so excited to check out books! Nearly everywhere I went there were kids reading.

Other activities: teaching sewing to the older kids, doing vision testing on all the students, teaching music, coaching sports, doing crafts, and generally interacting with the kids. One person planned and created a carnival for Sunday after church including face painting, making origami frogs, playing pin the nose on the clown, fishing in a “fish pond,” bowling ping pong balls into plastic cups, playing a corn hole game, and having tortillas with butter and cinnamon sugar. The grand finale was breaking a piñata which was great fun for the spectators as well as the participants.

Here's a link to a photo album from the trip: (Kisima Visit Album)
You might know that we also went on a short two-day safari after we leave Kisima. If you’re interested you can click here to see some of those photos: (Masai Mara album)

This is the first year that we’ve had kids graduating from high school. We’re trying to work out how to handle their future training or college. Of course we’re hoping that their sponsors will continue sponsoring them but in most cases their financial needs will be greater than in high school. If you would like to help give a scholarship to a deserving orphan or contribute to the final building project, a much-needed computer lab/library, please go to the website

Gerda Fink, COS Kisima Committee Chair-person,, on Facebook at Friends of Kisima Academy.


Plans are shaping up for the October trip to Kisima. There are 12 people going, half from here and half from Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The luggage allowance for Africa is two 50-lb. suitcases so we can take a lot of things to the school. We’ve been asked to bring shoes for the high school students and people here have been generous in donating gently used shoes. We’ll also be bringing books, school supplies, clothes, Frisbees, and whatever else we think would be useful there.

There are eight women and four men going. What each group does that visits Kisima depends on the interests and talents of the individuals going. My goal this time is to establish a library. Thanks to a generous donation from a COS couple and from other donations we have about 250 books so far. I’ve been busy cataloging and processing them. The children have no concept of a library so another former librarian and I will be holding classes to teach check out/check in procedures, the rudiments of the Dewey Decimal System, etc. We’ll be training student “librarians” and the teacher whose job it is to oversee the library.

Dee Butler, from here in Tellico Village, wants to teach sewing. Since home economics was removed from the curriculum several years ago that idea was enthusiastically received. Dee and a couple of others will be teaching how to sew on a button and how to sew a seam and a hem to all the students, girls and boys, from grades 5 to 8. Several others will be helping. Time permitting, she will teach cutting out a pattern, etc. She’ll be providing a sewing kit with scissors, tape measure, different colors of thread, etc., to the 8th grade girls. Martin’s wife, Margaret, said that many of the community children don’t have so much as a needle at home.

I can’t sing but a couple of the others can so I plan to teach some hymns to the younger children. A couple of the men have expressed interest in building a piece of playground equipment. One man’s interests are music and sports so he will be working in those areas. More plans will develop in the coming months.

Gerda Fink