Providing a Refuge

Kenya is a country impacted by climate change and wracked by political unrest and tribal conflicts. The challenges could seem overwhelming, but for some visionaries in Texas and in Kenya, it’s a matter of one child, one cup of coffee, at a time.

After Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as Kenya’s president in the evening of Dec. 30, 2007, the country erupted in ethnic violence. Kisumu County, in west Kenya and about 200 miles northwest of Nairobi, was impacted significantly.

Dominican Father Martin Martiny established Our Lady of Grace School in April 2008. The school in Kanyakwar, Kenya, provides not just an education: it is a haven and hope for orphaned and vulnerable children who were victims of the post-election violence and who continue to suffer from the country’s political and economic woes.

Currently, the class sizes have grown to capacity. “While we are receiving requests from parents for more children to join the School, we cannot enroll more due to limited infrastructure facilities,” said Ebrahim Onyango, Head Teacher-Primary Section at Our Lady of Grace School-Kisumu. 

But OLG is not alone. They have the support of local leadership, along with financial donors from within Kenya and abroad. Salim Kombo, Assistant Chief of Kanyakwar-where OLG School is partly located, said that the local government administration makes regular food donations to OLG.

Today, Our Lady of Grace School is thriving, due to effective local leadership and to the financial support of donors, including individuals who purchase coffee from Saint Basil Coffee (, a nonprofit operated by volunteers in Houston, Texas.

Saint Basil Coffee