Little did Kiwi woman Denise Carnihan know that what started as her son’s school project on ‘family origins’ would result in visiting her newly discovered family in South Africa in 2009, and lead her and her family on a completely different life journey, culminating in building a fully functioning school in a poor region of Kenya in 2011.
Inspired by her initial adventure, Denise decided to do a volunteer stint at an orphanage in Kenya and after witnessing the poverty and squalor first hand, she understood the enormous importance placed on education in this developing country.
“Wouldn’t it be cool if we could build a little school in a big slum for say 50 kids”…was the random comment she made to her husband, Chris when they both returned to Kenya the following year. Incredibly, this became the reality for Denise and Chris Carnihan from a small coastal town in New Zealand.
They then literally “stumbled” head first into building and establishing their very own primary school - in a large slum, opening with not 50 children as planned … but 117. Within 18 months the roll had grown to 380+ children and 12 staff.
In her 2015 book "I Share My Heart with Africa" Denise, talks passionately about her love for Africa and her beautiful African journey. And she describes candidly the joys; the immense satisfaction and the overwhelming drive needed to persevere, together with the enormous challenges, battles, and frustrations in establishing a project in a slum of Kenya, where communication and culture operate in extremes.