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Founding Years

Inspired by a New York Times article on the UN Millenium Goals to eradicate global poverty, Mary Gerritts Stusek decided to dedicate her retirement to creating opportunity for others.


In 2004, she founded the Kenya School Project in support of the developing democracy's goal to provide free primary education to millions of school-aged children. In 2008, the organization became Kenya Works to represent an expanded focus on social enterprise.

Leadership Change 

Upon her retirement in 2014, Julie Schaller-Schmidt became the organization's executive director, bringing with her a deep background in psycho-social support services, as well as experience working in Kenya with the Schmidt Family Foundation and US Venture's focus on supporting VICODEC, a Kenyan community center in Ongata Rongai.


Schaller-Schmidt launched the Makini Pad Initiative in 2014, uniting the social enterprise and educational goals. Makini Pads are Kenyan-made reusable sanitary pads produced on the VICODEC campus, employing women and providing needed Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) products and education to school-aged girls to ensure periods don't force girls to miss school or take risks to gain needed products.

From day one, Kenya Works has prided itself on using over 95% of donations for projects in Kenya. Kenya Works continues to collaborate with Kenyan communities to enhance self-sufficiency and reduce poverty within Kenya. We work to increase opportunities in education, financial literacy, and social support by working actively and directly with individuals, groups and communities across Kenya.

While a US-based non-profit, we have deep connections through our 13-year history. We are listening to communities and finding ways to work with partners for positive, empowering change along with the Kenya Works team. We look forward to the future as we continue to partner with communities to expand opportunities for the people of Kenya.

Our Vision

Bringing opportunity with dignity to the people of Kenya.

Our Mission

Kenya Works empowers Kenyans in vulnerable circumstances to overcome poverty and tackle key human rights issues.

Our Programs

Our core programs address period poverty; gender equity and human rights; education; and long-term partnerships with Kenyan community-based organizations. Our donors are deeply connected within this borderless community as well.

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