Hatua has three founding trustees - Michael Lenora, Susan Lenora and Damask Smith.
Michael's Hatua Story: “I first got involved in Hatua when we were in Nairobi assisting another charity that also works with school kids. We asked some of the most prominent people in the Kenyan educational system how to design the most effective charity to help the country educate its’ disadvantaged children. The group unanimously recommended a programme with the highest goals in mind – taking the most talented and deserving kids from the most challenging environments into the best secondary schools in the nation. When that light went on, Hatua was born. A very nice story began right then. For me, Hatua means putting the brightest kids into the best opportunities - a real sense of educational justice. Hatua's future? As long as there are disadvantaged, bright kids with dreams of furthering their education, there will always be growth opportunities for Hatua.”
Susan's Hatua Story: “Hatua has been inspired by many volunteers and their work and experiences with charities providing assistance and funding within African educational systems. As a lifelong volunteer, from hospital work to grant development to heritage preservation, I have always enjoyed finding a new responsibility or task, sometimes very different work from my own professional background in marketing. This charity, Hatua, seemed a perfect opportunity to put many volunteers' experiences and development to good use. Hatua blends very specifically the skills of its volunteers to the needs we see in Africa, and it provides the financial support and student assistance for the growth and betterment of the kids and families. I have a particular interest in the fund-raising aspects of charity development, especially in the UK, but I hope to continue knowing the African families individually and watch as the students' futures unfold through their own motivations and Hatua support.”
Damask’s Hatua story: “Shortly after I joined Vanquis Bank as a lawyer in 2008, Michael Lenora arranged for one of his former colleagues to come into the bank to talk about volunteering for a charity in Kenya. A few years earlier, I had volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureau. As a person I felt I had gained more than I had given from the experience. I recognised that the skills and satisfaction achieved from volunteering mean that you grow as a person whilst you contribute to helping others who need your skills and your time. When the opportunity to go to Africa arose, I was excited about the prospect of being able to volunteer again and experience what was happening first-hand.
The first team of Vanquis volunteers went out to Kenya in January 2009 and after discussing the longer term prospects for students with local people and with senior teachers from some of the best schools, it became clear that a future out of the slum could only be guaranteed if students succeeded in gaining university places. We believed that a programme that focused on the brightest students, gaining places in secondary schools that have a guaranteed track record of achievement on to university was the right direction to take and after two successful years and volunteer trips to Kenya, we took the decision to set up our own charity with slightly different aims. Hatua was formed in 2011.
Since then, we have worked to increase the number of students we help into quality secondary schools and extended the programme out to yet more primary schools across Nairobi. We hope this success and the number of children supported by Hatua continues to grow and we are very excited about our decision to expand into Uganda, but more importantly we look forward to seeing those children become the talent and future of Africa and in turn generate the change needed to improve the lives of many more children.”