What "Tei wa Syana" means

The library's name, "Tei wa Syana", was chosen by the group of women who are running the library project. They are members of the Kamba tribe and in their language, Kikamba, tei wa syana means compassion for the cry of the children. This group of mothers understands the challenges their children face and have compassion for them, and are taking action in response.
Who we are
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Registered Charity # 84603 8685 RR0001

Founders: Florence Mutua and Natalie Carter

Florence (left) and Natalie

Natalie Carter and Florence Mutua met in 2010 when Natalie was in Kenya working on a project. Together they decided to help the community by building a community library and construction started in June 2011.

Florence Mutua- Co-founder and Kenyan Agent

Florence is a veterinarian and researcher living in Nairobi. She was born and raised in Kikule. She is proud to be part of the TWS team. She is enjoying working with the community which, in 1997, raised money to enable her to pay for her first semester at the University of Nairobi. This initiative is a way of saying "thank you" to the community for their support.


Natalie Carter- Cofounder and President

Contact: Presentations

Natalie is a PhD student (epidemiology) at University of Guelph. Natalie's first trip to Kenya in 2010 inspired her to find ways to encourage, enable, and support Kenyans to improve their livelihoods. She is honoured to work with the Kikule community and the many Canadians involved with TWS.

Jill Davey - Contact: School Supply & Book Donations

Jill is the owner of RiverSound Retreat in Fergus, Ontario where she teaches Yoga and Meditation. Previously she was a Social Worker, primarily working with assaulted women and children. She is delighted to be a contributor to this group in partnership with the circle of women volunteering in Kikule. Jill especially appreciates the intention set forth in the name Tei wa Syana meaning Compassion for the Children. Compassion is a call to action, born from an open-hearted awareness of our interconnection.

Fran Carter – Contact: High School Sponsorship

Fran is a professor in the pharmacy technician program at Lambton College. Previously she was a pharmacy technician in several different hospitals in Ontario – a career which also led her to Iqaluit, Nunavut for six years. A firm believer in lifelong learning, she recently completed her BA in English and she has raised six children. Fran realized a longtime dream during the summer of 2011 when she visited Kenya. Part of that dream was also to work closely with the people of Kenya – helping facilitate solutions to community issues. So her involvement with the Tei Wa Syana project is a natural fit – her skills and enthusiasm are integral to the group.

Kiera Hoekstra

Kiera Hoekstra is an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph enrolled in the International Development Studies program. While spending this past summer in Kenya for an internship, Kiera became convinced of the need for educational support, and the amazing benefits a small project can have on a community. Therefore she has joined the Tei wa Syana team and is excited to be a part of the committee for the coming year.

Andy Carter (webmaster) is proud to be a part of his sister's great work in Africa. Andy is a self-professed computer geek who enjoys building websites. For his day job, he is a director of market development at RONA.
What we do
We provide students with books and a place to study in order to advance education by improving student performance on mandatory national exams while supporting a culture of reading and studying in the community. The library is just 20 x 25 feet, and made of local bricks and lumber. Solar-powered lights enable students to study at night.

We provide sponsorship for secondary and vocational school students each year. Their resource-poor-subsistence-farming parents can't afford the $150 needed for tuition each year so Canadian sponsors enable them to go to school. There were 25 students sponsored in 2012 and we hope to be able to sponsor an additional 25 students every year.

We will be providing tutoring, and programs such as adult literacy, storytime, and a book club starting January 2013 when we will be hiring a full-time librarian. The librarian will manage the daily operations of the library, and ensure the library services are widely used by the community.

We provide fresh, filtered water to drink at the library. A 4,000 litre tank holds rainwater harvested from the library roof, and two clay pot water filters ensure students have clean, fresh drinking water. Most local water sources dry up during the dry seasons leaving no option but to drink contaminated water from the nearby lake.

What you can do
Make a financial donation

Donations by cheque can be made payable to Tei wa Syana Community Initiative. Please mail to P.O. Box 223, Bright's Grove, ON, N0N 1C0 or you can send an email money transfer to donations@teiwasyana.ca or use your credit card through our PayPal Account by clicking this button:

Please note we are a registered charity. Tax receipts will be provided.

Sponsor a high school student

In Kenya it costs just $150 per year to go to high school and $300 to go to vocational school to learn a trade. To learn more about this visit our sponsorship page or send us an email at info@teiwasyana.ca.

Click here to learn more about sponsoship.

Host a presentation

Our co-founder Natalie would be pleased to tell your group the story of Tei wa Syana. If interested please contact her at info@teiwasyana.ca.

What's New?

Event Dec 10!