Meet Jaclyn Snook : Vice president of Kuamini

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When you first meet Jaclyn you immediately become drawn to her bright, beautiful smile and her welcoming way. What lies beneath that smile however, is one of the most selfless and caring individuals I have ever come across. Jaclyn truly puts the needs of others ahead of her own and has dedicated so much of her young life to helping others.

Recently I sat down and asked Jaclyn some questions about her life’s work and her past experiences. She shared her story and some fabulous photos with me. This is definitely worth the read and it will give you even more of a glimpse at what a dynamic team that is Kuamini.

Q) What makes Kuamini important to you

A) Kuamini means believe and this exactly why this organization means so much to me. I believe that each and every child deserves to have a chance in life to reach their full potential, I believe that each person deserves to live with the basic human rights such as clean drinking water, a safe living situation and education. I believe that there is someone greater who is looking out for those in need and walking step by step through life’s struggles and trials. I believe that as a team we will see change and we will be a part of something great! My personal life is focused around the word believe and so Kuamini is just an extension of that.

Q) What are your past experiences with Africa and with your charity work?

A) I have volunteered in in Uganda on two separate occasions. Once for three months and a second time for 15 months. While I was living there I worked for an organization who had three babies homes throughout the country. I was able to work alongside wonderful men and women who had given their lives to help the most vulnerable children in the country. It changed my life forever. I was able to care for hundreds of children on a daily basis some with great medical needs and some who were orphaned. I experienced the greatest loss that any human could go through while I was there, the death of a child. I saw many children leave this earth despite the efforts of medical professionals. But still my heart believed in change and in a better future for the country. I am currently living in Canada but my heart is daily with my Ugandan family believing alongside them that soon their struggles and trials will subside.

Q) What are your future goals and can you tell us a little but about your personal background?

A) My future goals are to hopefully one day live in Africa and dedicate my life fully to helping those less fortunate that I. But until then I will continue to do the same for the people in my own backyard.

I grew up in a family of four with one older brother. I love music and horses. I love traveling and seeing how others around the world live.

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Meet Jackson – President of Kuamini

Born in a field without any medical assistance, Jackson Ombunga Olumasai joined the world in a small village in Western Kenya called Shianda Butere. At the age of nine Jackson suffered the loss of his loving mother and went to live with his Grandmother. At the age of twelve he then went to live under the care of his father and step mother. Wanting to attend school, Jackson had to raise the equivalent of twenty five cents daily for school fees and food.

Each day presented struggles for this young man who worked so hard to create a future for himself. Living under the primary care of his step-mother Jackson soon came to realize that she lacked compassion and care towards him. He was physically beaten by her and was forced to share food with the family dog. On occasion Jackson was provided with food intended for humans however it was often five days old and riddled with flies and cockroaches. Jackson was regularly sent home from school as he didn’t have the necessary supplies, had holes in his uniform or wasn’t able to pay the fees.

Eventually his step mother relocated herself to the city leaving Jackson alone for the most part. In order to fend for himself he would climb a mango or guava tree so he could nourish himself with the fruit. After school he would return home, wash his uniform and would often have to climb the fruit trees as there was nothing to eat for dinner. During this time Jackson survived by doing casual jobs and caring for his father’s cows. He lived in a small structure that provided no electricity and filled with water when it rained. He owned two sets of clothing, one of which was his school uniform. He got his very first pair of shoes at the age of nineteen.

When Jackson completed his schooling he moved to Nairobi. This presented new opportunities for him and he was able to start his career with Asira Foundation. During that time he also volunteered with various organizations including Nyumbani Children’s Home, Kabiro Trust and the Starfish Charity.

Along with supporting himself and contributing to his community, Jackson met a wonderful and compassionate Canadian woman named Amanda. She would eventually become his wife and five years later they moved to Canada. The couple now have three beautiful sons and play a very active role in Kuamini.  Jackson is our Board President and helps to lead us in the direction that allows us to best give a hand up to people in Kenya. His life experiences and knowledge of the country are the foundation of our mission. We also applaud and acknowledge how Jackson has overcome his struggles and committed a large part of his life to make things better.

About Kuamini and the Team

We are a dynamic group of individuals based out of Southern Ontario and we are working together to form a charity that will aid in the well-being of individuals living in Kenya.

Follow this blog to learn more about our process, the projects we are working on, who we are helping, who we are and how you can be involved.

We welcome your comments, suggestions and of course, your encouragement!

Stay tuned as we add more information to this blog, create our website and expand our social media presence. We have a challenging but beautiful journey ahead of us!