Helping Our Pioneers

Create a better future

19 percent of children in Nyanza Province of Kenya are orphans.
We support this group of children in their quest for a happy, healthy, productive life.

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We are Lucky to work with
incredible children and volunteers.

Our mission is to provide underprivileged children in Western Kenya with an education and the tools they need to have a great life.

Our core work is an one-to-one sponsorship program for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kisumu, Kenya. We match you, our donor, to a child in need who is hand picked by our team after we verify this child will receive tremendous benefit from being sponsored.

Our over-arching goal is to have the lowest administrative costs of any orphan sponsorship organization in the world, which in turn ensures the maximum amount of your donation makes it directly to the child you sponsor. We believe very strongly in this.

Children performing a science experiment

$325/year is enough to provide tuition, exam fees, books, supplies, clothing, and one meal per day. Money goes a long way in Kenya.


We pair you with each child you sponsor so you can communicate. If you ever visit Kenya, we would love for you to stop by and meet your sponsored child in person.


Watch how your contribution set into motion a world of opportunities for your child. We hope you can follow this progress for years to come.

Simple programs, big results.

What each sponsorship provides.

Money goes a long way in Kenya, as long as we keep administrative costs down. Roughly a dollar a day does far more than just feed a child each day - it also covers all of the following important things:

How to add your support.

Please consider supporting a child.

Our promise to you is that your donation will be efficiently and effectively managed to make a real impact in giving orphans and vulnerable children in Western Kenya better opportunities in their lives.

Sponsor a child

Child sponsorship is a $325/year commitment that has an impact similar to putting your own child through school. The orphans and vulnerable children we select for this sponsorship would not otherwise be able to afford schooling. Please see above for a list of what this annual commitment provides.

Sponsor a child

One-time donation

These donations are used to enhance our offering. This includes supporting additional children, improving our partners' educational facilities, providing access to computers and information, and other similar programs.

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What is Kenya like? We'd like to give you a taste.

Photos from Kisumu.

We hope you can someday visit our operation in Kisumu. Until then, here are some photos of the areas where our sponsored children live.

Why we're so Passionate.

How this started

In 2008, one of the founding members named Mark and a team from the University of Wisconsin started an Engineers Without Borders project in a rural farming village outside of Kisumu. During this trip and following trips, Mark grew fond of a 7th grader named Kennedy who was an orphan living outside Kisumu. Luckily Mark was close with a philanthropist in the area named Joseph who would be able to help take care of Kennedy's needs while Mark was back in the U.S. This first sponsorship grew into more over the years, and now we have a solid, consistent, growing operation.

How we're different

It was eye opening to find out how far $325/year goes. We have all heard the campaigns and ads boasting about feeding a child for just $1/day. But here we were, spending less than that, and providing not only food but also tuition, exam fees, books, supplies, and clothes. It appears we stumbled on to something. After digging into the financials of other orphan sponsorship non-profits, we were shocked to learn that a huge portion and often a vast majority of compensation for U.S. based employees were considered "Project Expenses". So when they boast that 87% of their donations go direclty to their projects, they are including the salaries of their relatively expensive U.S. employees in this 87%. This is why it was simply not possible for them to provide as much for their students as we've been able to.

We think we've found a solution. We've shifted the model so that the normally expensive labor is now carried out primarly by passionate volunteers. Our U.S. team is composed of folks well off enough that we do not need personal income from Our Pioneers, and our on-the-ground team in Kenya is able to implement these services in an extremely cost effective manner.

So instead of your donations flowing into the pockets of the Our Pioneers employees, these donations flow directly to the on-the-ground implementation of our programs.

Who is behind this?

Our Leadership Team.

Please feel free to reach out to any of us directly if you would like more information. We love talking about this cause with anyone.

Mark Liu


Mark's first several trips to Kenya are what shed light on this idea that we could run an Orphan and Vulnerable Children Sponsorship Program more efficiently and effectively than we've seen to date. Those early Engineers Without Borders trips helped to shape the direction of Our Pioneers. His primary focus now is to maximize the impact of donations to Our Pioneers in terms of the real benefit received by individual children.

Dick Otis

Vice President

Dick spent 2 years in the Peace Corps in Kenya in the 70s, and has been involved in over a dozen international development projects since. These varied projects were conducted in many places including Tanzania, Kenya, Ecuador, Guatamala, and some rural parts of the U.S. His experience and leadership keep us on track so we are constantly focused on the high impact activities.

Linda Liu

Treasurer, Communications Director

Linda is a lifelong philanthropist and, unbeknownst to many, is actually an ordained minister as well. She has been a copywrighter and an editor in the past which lends well to her role as head of communications. She also brings her savvy leadership to the table, as she founded what is currently a thriving 75 person company in Naperville, IL. Outside of Our Pioneers, she now spends much of her time volunteering as a Hospice chaplain.

Demi Wang

Sponsorship Director

Demi has a tremendous amount of compassion for these children, and has donated time and money to similar causes for many years. During her first visit to Kisumu, it was clear the children (particularly the high school students) looked up to her as a role model. With Our Pioneers, she keeps everything in check from the U.S., ensuring that funds are spent wisely and our initiatives are moving along smoothly.

Joshua Rindner

Media Director

Joshua traveled to Kenya to the first time on an Our Pioneers Perspective Retreat and immediately committed to making an impact in Kisumu. He is the owner of the largest photography and videography company in San Antonio, Limelight San Antonio, and he brings a tremendous amount of experience and connections to Our Pioneers. Josh is on a mission to show what life is truly like in Kenya and to inspire philanthropic people in the U.S. to support the underprivileged children he met.

Joseph Opiyo

Program Manager

Joseph is perhaps the most energetic and passionate non-profit leader you will ever meet. For the last 12 years he has done everything in his power to uplift the children in Kisumu where he grew up. He has started a primary school, a secondary school, an internet cafe, an agroforestry plot, and supports dozens of children in the area. With Our Pioneers, he oversees that all sponsored children are properly taken care of.

We are easy to reach.


(331) 472-0738


2040 Corporate Lane, Naperville, IL 60563

Thank you for supporting us

We are committed to making a tremendous impact on your behalf.