Co - Founder and Executive Director Victoria Porter first visited Kenya in December 2017 / January 2018. It was during this time she witnessed first hand the repercussions poverty was having on the health and wellbeing of families and their children in the Kitengela community. The specific issues identified at the time were in relation to lack of education around puberty , sexual health and sexual violence. It was clear that we needed to highlight and emphasize the need to empower the woman and children.
In 2020 Jifunze International was established as an Australian not for profit company and from the outset Victoria has been very clear that no Directors or board members will be paid. She wishes to express her sincere thanks and appreciation to all Directors and board members now and in the future for their dedication and support to this organisation where 100% of donations and fundraising dollars will go directly to the projects.
Working within schools and the local hospital has allowed us to understand the needs of the community. The needs which have been identified exist due to extreme poverty and lack of education around health and well being. Our mission is to ensure that young girls and woman are provided with the knowledge and resources they need to manage their menstrual cycles, ensure their sexual safety and grow with comfort and dignity. Jifunze International has also continued to work alongside members of the Kitengela community to identify the needs of everyone in the community. The initial needs identified were knowledge about first aid, nutrition and best water practice. However during our first year in operation we had the unexpected arrival of COVID 19 and this became the priority as we responded with the provision of personal protective equipment and COVID 19 information leaflets and posters
In March 2021, Jifunze International was officially recognised by the Australian Charities and Non for Profit Commission as a benevolant institute and gained Deductible Gift Receipt Status. This means any donation over $2 is tax deductible.
OUR board of directors
Victoria Porter (PHF)
Founder and Chairperson
Victoria has been entangled in charity events from a young age from following her dad around and helping out with his many events which were run to support disabled children, school fundraisers and notably sending a shipping container of school supplies to Romania. After joining Townsville Central State School following her family's migration to Australia she as awarded the Malcolm Molomby Award for community service within the school.
Since she finished school she has lived and worked overseas. Returning to Australia in 2012 to return to studies. She now holds a Bachelors Degree in Business and Events a Diploma in Youth Work and is currently completing her Masters in International Development at RMIT.
In 2016/7 she spent a substantial time volunteering at the Salvation Army in Melbourne as well as Don Bosco Youth Centre in Brunswick, and often said it was the best part of her week.
At the end of 2017 she took a trip to Africa, stopping for a duration in Kenya. The experience changed her life. She has since returned to Kenya multiple times and built connections with Ujamaa education provider, the teams at Days for Girls as well as local education and health leaders in the community.
She was honoured to receive a Paul Harris Fellow awarded for the work that she has done in Kenya from Mundingburra Rotary Club in District 9550 at their District conference in Alice Springs where she was a guest speaker. And was invited to be a founding member of the Rotarian Action Group for Menstrual Health & Hygiene which is currently being established.
Susan grew up in Canberra with a short sojourn in England sampling its education system at an all-girls school. At the completion of year 12 she went to the Canberra School of Music studying theoretical studies and oboe.
Playing a musical instrument opened many doors from below stage in the pit playing for operas and musicals, to concert halls around the world, to make-shift venues including a shearing shed across regional and remote Australia. In her mid-twenties she jumped from being in front of an audience to being behind the scenes.
This leap gave her wonderful opportunities, All of her experiences culminated when she became the manager and artistic director of a live theatre in Townsville – a life-style she had for fourteen years.
Returning home to Canberra meant yet another twist to her working life. This time away from the spotlight spending five years running a National Sporting Organisation.
Learning has been essential throughout her life leading to extraordinary breaks along the way; Susan believes learning gives a zest to living.
Sylvia met Victoria through her work at Kitengela Sub County Community Hospital, were she currently holds the position of Community Health Services and Promotion Manager.
Before this position Sylvia worked with community members suffering from HIV/ AIDS, their orphans and other vulnerable children. She has been involved in W.A.S.H, Monitoring and Evaluation, and community health programming as well as working for a period as a research assistant.
Her passion teamed with the completed of an Undergraduate degree in public health, a post graduate in community health and a Masters in Public Health and Safety makes Sylvia the perfect addition to the Jifunze Team.
Her extensive knowledge of the community and available network has been invaluable in providing assistance in escalating assistance after programming.
Sylvias team of Community Health Volunteers have played an instrumental part in mobilising women for Jifunze International Programming.
Kenyan business advisor
Sharon Diane Khainga has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Punjab University India and holds an MBA from the University of Nairobi.
She is a seasoned procurement professional with vast experience in various Multinational organizations, and is the owner of a number of small businesses including branches of MPESA (mobile money), Water filtration and home supply, cyber shops, and a number of books and stationery supply stores.
She is passionate about empowering the girl child and environmental sustainability, and believes strongly that we can change the future of Africa through education.
Through her bookshop businesses, she strives to pass on her love of books and learning and has been part of the work that Victoria has done before providing the water for the women in Ujamaa training program at Kitengela Hospital and assisting with a large stationery and book donation to a local school in the area, to create a fully stocked bookshelf for the children.
SUSTAINABILITY AND ETHICS
Sally Maria Lay finished a Master of International Community Development from Victoria University in 2019. Her interests include community-led approaches to social change, environmental sustainability, social finance and impact investment.
She has experience in community development in Timor-Leste, where she worked with youth and rural communities in permaculture and sustainable development programs. Her experience working with migrant women in Australia and youth in Timor-Leste has reinforced her belief that a focus on building the strengths and capacities of women and children is essential to the success and sustainability of development in communities.
Being a refugee migrant, her experience growing up in Australia and navigating the internal/external struggles of identity, place and belonging has informed her passion for equality and social change.
Roberta porter (PHF)
Roberta is a Registered General Nurse, Registered Mental Health Nurse and has a Post Graduate Certificate in Health Service Management. She has worked in Mental Health Services for over 40 years in both Clinical Practice and Acute and Community Service’s Senior Management.
She has been involved with Rotary since 1996 and is currently a member of Rotary eClub One where she holds the position of Administration Chair. She has hosted and supported a significant number of Rotary youth exchange students from Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and more over a 10-year period. Her commitment to children is also evidenced in her support of children through Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children.
Roberta is passionate about educating and supporting young and vulnerable people to achieve better overall health and well-being and finds opportunities to do so in a number of areas of her life.
Her previous experiences are highly valued in Jifunze International’s leadership team.
jan johnson (PHF Saphire)
Jan has been a Secondary School Teacher for 50 years and has taught in a wide range of age groups, she has held middle management positions and in retirement is still enjoying supply teaching.
She joined Rotary 26 years ago and enjoys the friendship of fellow Rotarians. Jan was awarded a PHF for services with Rotary Youth Exchange (YEP) having been a District Committee member and Country co-ordinator for USA, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.
For the last 10 years Jan has been involved with RAWCS (Rotary Aust World Community Service) and has been to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Kenya with the Helping Hands Project ..fitting artificial hands on mainly land mine victims, but also domestic violence and work placed accidents victims.
She is now District Chair for Rotary Friendship Exchange and recently was in the team who completed a return visit to Virginia USA.
It was during a Rotary meeting when Victoria Porter visited Mundingburra R.C. In Townsville QLD D9550 asking for support with her education programs in Kenya that Jan knew which project she was supporting next...and an interesting journey it has been so far! Jan believes diversity is Rotary’s strength that transforms lives.