Sarah made her first trip to Kenya to volunteer in children’s homes in 2005 and knew instantly she would return. Unfortunately a week after her visit Sarah was in a horrific car accident in the USA which resulted in her not being able to travel back for some time. Her road to recovery was long and during this time Sarah not only taught herself graphic and website design but also started her own business. She dedicated every spare moment to raising awareness and funds for the children she had met in Kenya and their communities.
In 2012 Sarah received a call from Anne Marie Tipper, a child therapist in the UK.
Sarah had met Anne Marie in Kenya, where she was providing Play Therapy to children and training for their carers. Anne Marie had since established a safe home for young girls who had experienced severe sexual trauma. Although the house was functioning well and had been referred over 20 young girls, the costs were escalating and despite remortgaging their own home in the UK Anne Marie was facing the possibility of having to close the doors unless she could find a way to raise some sustainable funds.
Anne Marie’s call to Sarah was for some advice and help in fundraising enough to cover one months running costs. Sarah couldn’t face the possibility of the house closing and rallied some friends together to run a fundraising raffle online via her own website. This raffle raised enough to keep the doors open for a few more months and led Sarah to set up Rafiki Mwema (meaning loyal friend in Swahili) as a charity in Australia.
Since then Sarah has worked tirelessly and has continued to build Rafiki Mwema from one rental property housing 25 children to purchasing land and building properties that are now home to 69 young girls, to ensure a sustainable future for them and others.
Rafiki Mwema receives no funding from elsewhere. The safety, security, ongoing therapy and care for the children at Rafiki Mwema is only possible due to the tireless work by Sarah and her small board and the growing tribe of sponsors and corporate sponsors.
FOUNDER RAFIKI MWEMA
Location: New South Wales, Australia