Meet our past volunteers and read about their time working with CFK staff in Kenya!
Our volunteers have come from several universities and professional schools, and have come with varied interests and backgrounds. Click one of the links below to read about volunteers from a specific year, or simply scroll down the list!
If you are a UNC student and are interested in volunteering with CFK in Kibera, please check out our Fellowships page for more info.
Micaela traveled to Kibera in the summer of 2014 with CFK’s Peacock Fellowship, where she helped gather stories and statistics for CFK’s annual report, and worked on improving CFK’s evaluation and reporting processes. Before being awarded the fellowship, she volunteered with CFK in Chapel Hill for two years, helping to organize screenings of the documentary “Without a Fight”, run CFK’s annual Kick for Kibera soccer clinic fundraiser, and produce various communication and marketing materials. In the summer of 2013, she also volunteered with a nonprofit organization in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, where she taught English classes at the nonprofit’s vocational school and worked with volunteer teams from the United States. Micaela is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying Global Studies and Political Science. She is spending her last year of undergraduate study abroad at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
Brandon traveled to Kibera in the summer of 2014, where he worked with the Economic and Entrepreneurship Department (EED) team to evaluate applicants for CFK’s first Marketing Plan Competition and conduct market research for new economic sustainability initiatives. Brandon is a rising junior at UNC-Chapel Hill with a major in Religious Studies and a minor in Entrepreneurship. After studying in Southeast Asia last summer, Brandon took a break from school this past fall to do a NOLS Semester in the Rocky Mountains. He previously interned at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in Washington D.C.; on campus, he has worked on projects with the Campus Y Executive Board, Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship, Community Empowerment Fund, UNC Answers, and HumanitySector.org. CFK is an organization that Brandon has admired since he first read Rye Barcott’s book It Happened On the Way to War, and he is incredibly excited to jump into the community this summer and learn as much as possible! He is currently studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.
Madison Hayes traveled to Kenya in the fall of 2014 to study abroad at the University of Nairobi School of Public Health. In between attending classes, she worked with CFK’s Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Officer and also spent time working at the Lishe Bora Mtaani Nutrition Center. Before coming to Kibera, Madison traveled to Nicaragua to work on topics in rural health. She also spent a semester interning in the House of Representatives learning about health policy. Madison is a junior at American University studying public health, international studies, and biology. Once she graduates in 2016, she hopes to build her career in global health working towards health equity for all.
Kai traveled to Kibera in the summer of 2013. During her time there, she worked with the Angaza Education program by supporting staff, and conducted an internal evaluation of the program itself. Kai graduated from Colorado College in 2008 where she majored in History and Politics with a focus in Latin America. After college, she worked for a variety of political campaigns in Colorado and New Mexico including the Obama campaign, a national environmental campaign, and a number of different local elections. In 2010, she began leading outdoor experiential education trips and she has worked in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and North Carolina. Kai is currently a graduate student at the UNC School of Social Work.
Caitlin traveled to Kibera in the summer of 2013 as part of CFKs Peacock Fellowship. In Kibera, she completed photo, video and audio stories on CFK’s programs by gather personal stories from participants in all of CFK’s programs. In this way, her stories highlighted CFK’s impact in the community.
Caitlin holds a Masters’ Degree in Health Behavior & Health Education from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. She had traveled to Kenya previously on a FLAS Fellowship to study Swahili. Currently, Caitlin is completing a Masters’ Degree in photojournalism through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC. Caitlin focuses her photojournalism efforts on public health and international medical issues. She has traveled to Ethiopia, Malawi, and Cuba to photograph health systems and other research projects.
Andrew Rotolo has been to Kibera several times. He made his first journey to Kibera in the summer of 2011 by way of a Duke Engage Independent Project grant. On that trip, he looked at issues of education, healthcare, politics, and youth development in Nairobi. The following summer, he returned to Kenya to continue learning Swahili and attend a Kenya field school led by CFK Board Member, Dr. Jennifer Coffman. He finished this program in summer 2012 by spending a few weeks as an intern for CFK. This past summer (2013), he returned to Kenya for a third time to intern with CFK, where he led efforts to develop and implement a new inventory system for tracking sports equipment and financial footprint of items used for CFK’s Sports Association. Andrew is currently a senior at Duke University studying International Comparative Studies, Markets/Management, and Political Science.
Kathleen traveled to Kibera during the summer of 2012. She heard CFK founder, Rye Barott, give a speech about CFK, and felt drawn to the idea of participatory development. She was also touched by Tabitha’s story and liked that CFK is an organization built by Kenyans, for Kenyans. While in Kibera, she worked with the Tabitha Clinic providing information about cervical cancer and HPV, and the importance of treatment. She was inspired by the fact that the residents of Kibera were not only excited to learn about cervical cancer and HPV, but that they were also excited to teach what they had learned to their friends and family. She was also happy to see that once women had learned about HPV and cervical cancer and treatment options, they would make plans to go together to get screenings. She advises anyone going to Kibera to always say yes to new experiences, because doing so builds trust and makes it easier to learn from each other. She is currently a third year medical student at the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University.
Molly traveled to Kibera in 2012. She heard about CFK as a graduate student, and was intrigued by how it combined two of her passions, sports and international work. While in Kibera, she worked with the Tabitha Clinic and the Sports Association, along with Rubberbanditz, a business based in Durham, NC that donated their resistance bands to CFK. She helped train people to become personal trainers using Rubberbanditz and also taught first aid to coaches and referees in the Sports Association. Going to Kibera helped her to further realize that talent is universal but opportunity is not, and that where you are born can make a big difference. Molly hopes to have the opportunity to combine her career and passion for international work again in the future. She graduated from UNC in 2013 and is currently an athletic trainer and teacher in Wilson, NC. She advises anyone going to Kibera to be open to new experiences, and to try to get to know as many people as possible.
Brendan O’Boyle heard about CFK during his first year at Carolina. He volunteered in Kibera during the summer of 2010, and helped develop CFK’s multimedia presence by producing and editing videos. Going to Kibera interested him in the way government interacts with civil society, and how the government addresses issues of social justice and development. He also became more interested in journalism and how to shed light on issues of poverty that are often misrepresented in other countries. He graduated from UNC in 2013 with degrees in Political Science and Global Studies, and is currently interning at a small, independent English-language publication based in Buenos Aires called Argentina Independent. The publication strives to amplify the voices of those who tend to be ignored by larger publishing companies.
Kelly volunteered in Kibera during the summer of 2010. She had been involved with CFK prior to her trip as part of the UNC Women’s Soccer Team, and liked that CFK uses sports as a tool for development, especially for girls. While in Kibera, she worked with the Tabitha Medical Clinic, working in the pharmacy and vaccine program. She also helped coach soccer practices. Going to Kibera opened her eyes to how people in other parts of the world live their lives. It was humbling for her to see how happy and positive people in Kibera are despite living in a disadvantageous situation. It also helped her realize her passion for international work within her medical career. She hopes to return to Kibera again early next year. Kelly wishes she had known more Swahili before going, because something as simple as saying hello to someone in their own language can make a huge difference. She advises anyone going to Kibera to let go of the American mindset of rigid schedules and agendas. She is currently a medical student at UNC.
Cassie Ludwig is a medical student in her third year at Stanford. She traveled to Kibera in 2010, after hearing about CFK from a friend. While in Kibera, she created profiles of interns and volunteers while also working to improve CFK’s emergency transportation system. She was inspired by the can-do attitude and philosophy of action through community she saw in Kibera. Her time in Kibera has also inspired her to live life to the fullest and not take for granted so many things that Kiberans go every day without. Looking back, she wishes she had known more Swahili before traveling to Kibera, and urges anyone going to have an open mind and get to know as many people as possible, because everyone has a story.
Taylor Jo Isenberg
Taylor traveled to Kibera during the summer of 2009, only a year and a half after the horrifying post-election violence following the presidential election of 2007. As she progressed in her studies of international development at UNC, she found herself increasingly frustrated with the reality that communities were often not included in the decision-making processes that would determine their future. She admired CFK for going against this trend. While in Kibera, she split her time between helping to design programs for the girls’ league of the Sports Association and spearheading Jamii ya Kibera, a new initiative that sought to ease tensions that escalated in 2008. She believes that her experiences with CFK contributed to her understanding of governing institutions worldwide, and how they either improve or inhibit communities. Her time with CFK also reinforced her belief that building agency is central to sustainable development. After volunteering in Kibera, she graduated from UNC with degrees in International Studies and Peace, War, and Defense, and went on to serve as a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow in Washington, DC. Currently, she is Vice President of Networks at the Roosevelt Institute, a student policy organization dedicated to building the next generation of progressive leaders by promoting their ideas for change today. She advises future visitors to Kibera to remember that knowledge takes many unexpected forms.
Anna volunteered in Kibera during the summer of 2009, after learning about CFK through the UNC Women’s Soccer Team. While on the team, she participated in CFK’s annual Kick for Kibera soccer clinic, and was filmed for Chapel Hill local band The Old Ceremony’s music video for their song, “Talk Straight”. While in Kibera, she worked with the Tabitha Clinic, predominately in the pharmacy, and the Youth Sports Programs, helping with trainings, gear and equipment inventory and distribution, coordination of tournaments, and officiating games. In Chapel Hill, she has helped organize the Kick for Kibera clinic for several years. Living and working in Kibera has given her a different lens through which to view the world and has helped shape her career path in medicine and public health. She was empowered by how keenly aware the youth in Kibera are of the problems they face, but are undeterred by the obstacles set before them and are committed to improving the world around them. Anna is currently pursuing her combined MD/MPH degree at UNC, and will be embarking on her Master’s of Public Health this fall. She continues to be involved with the Kick for Kibera clinic, and hopes to return to Kibera at some point during her fourth year of medical school. She advises anyone going to Kibera with preconceived notions of how things will work to throw their agenda out the window and instead focus on how to work within CFK, with the guidance of coworkers and community members.
Liz Hall first heard about CFK through Duke University’s Global Health website. She was drawn to CFK’s approach toward community development and its relationship with conservation and public health. She volunteered in Kibera during the summer of 2009, where she worked with Taka ni Pato (Trash is Cash), CFK’s community-managed solid waste management and recycling program. Liz worked with women’s groups that had created small businesses selling greeting cards made from recyclable paper. She also worked with youth groups to help make and market an alternative fuel source to charcoal made from recycled materials, called briquettes. Her time there helped her get a better understanding of how to collaborate with people in a sustainable and effective way. After CFK, she spent a year in the Republic of Congo researching gorillas and elephants for the Wildlife Conservation Society. This fall, she will start a Ph.D. program in Anthropology at Purdue University, where she will research disease transmission between humans and wildlife in Central/West Africa and how it shapes conservation and development efforts in the area.
Alisa volunteered in Kibera during the summer of 2008. She first heard about CFK through a friend while she was an undergraduate student at UNC and felt drawn to CFK because it encompassed many of her interests, including women’s empowerment programs, access to healthcare, and social impacts on health of girls and young women. While in Kibera, she worked with the Binti Pamoja program (Daughters United). Going to Kibera helped her realize that women all over the world, whether they are in Kibera, North Carolina or somewhere else, encounter many similar social and health issues. After volunteering with CFK, Alisa graduated from UNC with a double major in Women’s Studies and Psychology. She then worked for UNC hospitals as a research coordinator in the OBGYN department, and is currently in her third year of medical school at UNC. Alisa encourages future CFK volunteers to spend time reflecting on their experience throughout their time in Kibera as well as when they return with the recognition that the complex problems they will be faced with there may not be solved by the time they leave. However the impact that the community makes on volunteers and vice versa is nuanced, meaningful and important.
(Photo Credit: Dan Bonne)
Yaniv volunteered in Kibera during the summer of 2008. He was drawn to CFK because he agreed with CFK’s philosophy and mentality that residents of Kibera should direct the development of their own community. While in Kibera, he worked with the Sports Association, officiating soccer games and coordinating visits from U.S. Representatives including David Price, Jim Cooper, and Mel Watts. Going to Kibera broadened his worldview and sparked his interest in working abroad. It also helped him figure out how to approach working with different cultures and realize that outsiders can never fully understand a problem as well as someone living it. Upon his return, he received the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship and the following summer traveled to Thailand to teach English. He also held an internship with the State Department, where he worked with the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and was a staff assistant to Ambassador Marc Grossman. He then attended Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, concentrating in International Economics and Strategic Studies. He traveled to Nairobi again last summer, working with the US Embassy in the Somalia Unit. His Honors thesis analyzing the first 100 days of the war in Afghanistan became a book that is set to be published in the coming months, called 102 Days of War: How Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda & the Taliban Survived 2001. He is currently a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service.