What I’ve learned from Co-Founder of SF Michelle

The work of Stahili Foundation is aimed to protect children from exploitation and abuse, provide them with all necessary needs and supplies, ensure quality education and mentor them on their path of becoming well-educated and valuable members of the society.

It’s a great honor to meet people that have great idea and passion to change the lives of those in need, and who work tirelessly to bring the idea to life.

Co-Founder of Stahili Organization, Michelle Oliel, is an international human rights lawyer, tireless advocate for the rights of the child, educator and an amazing person! The story of how she and two other wonderful people joined forces to create the Foundation can be found here.

In our brief telephone conversation Michelle has shared in-depth information about the work of the Foundation, where they started and where they are headed, as well as challenges they are facing.

Here is an overview of our conversation:


Stahili Foundation is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization – all of the work that is done outside of Kenya, for the Organization to function and expand, is done by volunteers (mainly, co-founders), who use their free time and skills to spread the cause and create better future for children.

Professional volunteers are needed on site – there is a demand for medical specialists, such as dentists and doctors, and people educated in working with children.

Work outside of Kenya offers a broader platform for volunteers who posess different skills and abilities. The Foundation is always open for new ideas on how to spread the cause and to help bring these ideas to life. A great deal in spreading information about the Foundation play social media, i.e. Facebook.

An example of a solo hero – Julia, a student of The Hague University, that actively updates and spreads information on social networks.


Currently the Foundation supports 37 children. Last year the Foundation was able to collect and spend around 40,000 dollars. It is expected that the amount of money needed to cater for one child’s needs will increase as children will proceed their studies in secondary school and, in long term, in college.

  • $3000 will support a new student in secondary school for one year.

  • $1200 will support a new student in primary school for one year and start a small savings for secondary school. (for more information click here)

Who are the Sponsors?

The Foundation funded entirely by donors, including individual sponsors or “builders”. You never know who will be touched by this cause – there is a group of students that share apartment with each other. Together they’ve decided to support one child, and each donate a certain amount every month.

Why monetary donations are better?

Sometimes it’s more expensive to ship supplies to Kenya than to actually buy them there. Some of the shipped supplies might never reach their final destination, because of high levels of corruption and theft in the country.

What is done to raise funds?

Foundation organizes charity events few times a year in The Hague. (Next one will be on the 30th of September and we’re all invited!)

Raising awareness through social media – mainly Facebook group. There is much work to be done in the wide valleys of Instagram and Twitter.

The Organization is working with children who were exploited previously in their lives, therefore, it is important to mention that Foundation is seeking for ways of raising funds that do not involve children’s participation in the fund-raising process.


Stahili Foundation works closely with WWB Ticino to bring support to exploited children in Kenya.

The Organization also has long-term partnership with International School of the Hague. The Stahili-ISH partnership engages high school students in the Hague and empowers them to make a difference.

The American Women’s Club played large part in Foundation’s success in 2014.

Stahili was invited to participate in the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth into the Global Partnership for Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.



4 thoughts on “What I’ve learned from Co-Founder of SF Michelle

  1. Hey InterHaguer – Nice overview of your NGO. I learned a lot and it looks like you asked some good questions to start digging ‘below’ the surface on the issues.

    What is your next move? Are you going to research and generate ideas? Ask your client more questions? What comes next?

    The only thing I don’t quite understand is the cookie. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE COOKIES, especially ones with chocolate in them! (yum)



  2. Hey Nancy! We made a google document where our whole team can generate ideas for fundraising and getting the word spread. This Sunday we will have an other meeting with our NGO where we can discuss some of our ideas. We will also try to get in contact with the girls in the Hague who are already supporting the foundation. We are still not sure what we will ask them precisely but we are thinking to make a video about their story.


  3. Good and clear overview of your conversation Alisa! And you write with enthusiasm about your client, which will definitely help you in your search for solutions for all the different challenges they have.
    What other networks than the ones that are mentioned can you tap into to find funding? And what do you think of their current FB strategy – is there more to be gained there? What other social media platforms besides instagram and twitter could be interesting for a foundation like Stahili? Also, I am curious if your plans for raising awareness reach beyond these platforms!

    Finally, when you start working on solving these challenges, I wonder if there will be things you wish you would have asked in this conversation – it would be good to reflect on that later on this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marjanne for your insight!
      This blog post was an overview of our first conversation with our NGO. For me it was really difficult not to get over-exited while having this first conversation with our client – my main goal was to get to get more information on the main challenges the Foundation is facing, so that afterwards we could discuss in our group which challenges we could effectively tackle within the given time frame.
      After we did that, we scheduled another meeting with Michelle (this time in person), and we were able to discuss (and even brainstorm) ideas on our focus-challenge.
      More on that will be reviewed in this week’s blog posts =)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s